Cough and cold season is here and we are painfully working through the symptoms. A favourite remedies of ours is a good herbal lozenge that can take care of some microbes, but also soothe the throat.
Herbs to Use in Herbal Lozenge
Focus on using highly antimicrobial herbs in lozenges for upper respiratory infections. Use herbs and ingredients that will soothe a sore throat as well and reduce coughing. As you are infusing and soaking the herbs into a mixture, make sure to use certified organic herbs to avoid a nice cup of pesticides.
Honey is a common cough and cold remedy and recommended by the health care industry and World Health Organization as a first line remedy. Guidelines now state that health care providers should not routinely prescribe antibiotics and instead recommend honey for age 1 and up, geranium as herbal medicine for people age 12 and up.
Honey has antimicrobial behaviour, and manuka honey has particular microbial action. Honey is also a demulcent. These work by interfering with the coughing reflex by producing more saliva and swallowing.
Some other recipes recommend using white sugar, but refined sugar does not help when the body is stressed. While honey does contain fructose and glucose, it also is contains enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Homemade Herbal Lozenge
This herbal lozenge recipe is spicy and warming to the throat. The cacao has a slightly bitter taste at first, but as it melts, it combines with the honey and becomes sweet. It’s actually quite tasty! Consume as needed for sore throat and cough. Do not give to small children hwho may choke on a herbal lozenge.
A note about essential oils: not all essential oils are the same quality. DO NOT use cheap Walmart, Amazon, Winners/Ross, boutique store essential oils to consume. Your essential oils need to be high quality so you don’t risk consuming fake products and having a serious adverse reaction. Essential oils are regularly used in commercial food production and added to foods, candies, and gum available in stores. It’s a common use in the industry.
To protect yourself and your health, make sure to only use products from companies who specialize in essential oils. Do not use essential oils that are not verifiably from plants. These may contain synthetic fragrance molecules, which are not safe for consumption.
Homemade Herbal Lozenge Recipe
- 1 tbsp dried organic thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp dried organic oregano leaves
- 1 tbsp dried organic ground cloves
- 1 tbsp dried organic ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp dried chamomile flowers
- 1/2 to 1 whole lemon rind
- 1-1/2 cup filtered water
- 5 drops Lemon+ essential oil
- 1 cup organic Manuka honey
- Cacao powder for dusting
- Grapeseed oil or olive oil
- Deep saucepan
- Silicone candy mold
- Waxed paper
- Fine mesh strainer
- Candy thermometer
- Add herbs to a medium sized bowl.
- Boil water and pour over the herbs. Let it steep for 20 minutes or until it cools.
- Layer fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and place over a bowl.
- Pour infused herb mixture over cheesecloth into the bowl. The cheesecloth will collect all the herbs.
- Close the cheesecloth around the herbs and squeeze the liquid from the herb mixture. Compost the mixture.
- Strain the liquid multiple times to remove any leftover herbs.
- Add infused water and honey to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Make sure to use a deep saucepan so the mixture doesn’t overflow.
- Simmer the mixture for 25 minutes. Stir constantly. Do not let it burn.
- Once the mixture reaches 300F, remove from heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the mixture by adding a drop to ice water. When it cracks, it’s ready to go. If it’s chewy, cook a few minutes longer. Pour into greased silicone mold. Do not fill all the way. You want the lozenges to be thin.
- Allow to cool and harden for about 1 to 2 hours.
- Dust cooled lozenges with cacao powder. Wrap in waxed paper and store in a cool, moisture-free area.
Wijesundara, Niluni M et al. “Phytochemical-rich medicinal plant extracts suppress bacterial antigens-induced inflammation in human tonsil epithelial cells.” PeerJ vol. 5 e3469. 22 Jun. 2017, doi:10.7717/peerj.3469
Rao, Pasupuleti Visweswara, and Siew Hua Gan. “Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2014 (2014): 642942. doi:10.1155/2014/642942
World Health Organization. “Cough and cold remedies for the treatment of acute respiratory infections in young children.” 2001. WHO/FCH/CAH/01.02
National Institute for Health & Care Excellence. “Cough (acute): antimicrobial prescribing.” 2019. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng120/resources/visual-summary-pdf-6664861405