There are a lot of coughs and colds around at the moment. Succumbing to a cold is Nature’s way of telling you slow down and make sure you are keeping a well balanced diet and lifestyle. Having said that, once you have a cold and you have vowed to change your ways, not stay up so late, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, cut down on the caffeine etc etc, then you need some help to soothe that irritating cough and help clear the nasal passages.
This herbal cough elixir is just the thing. Make some each summer and you will have a supply for the winter ahead. I use a combination of dried and fresh herbs but you can vary the recipe according to what you have available in the garden and herb store. There are so many herbs which are expectorant and soothe the upper respiratory tract. Make the most of them!
Remember if you are using fresh herbs you will need a greater quantity than the ones you are using which are dried. Make sure any fresh components are as dry as possible so the keeping properties of the elixir are not affected by excessive moisture.
You will need:
750ml good quality rum for steeping.
Liquorice root dried (Glycyrrhiza glabra) 1.5 tsp
Elecampane root dried (Inula racemosa) three slices of root
Wild cherry bark dried (Prunus serotina) 0.5 tsp
Horehound leaf dried (Marrubium vulgare) 1.5 tsp
Caraway seed dried (Carum carvi) 0.5 tsp
Marshmallow leaf fresh (Althaea officinalis) handful chopped
Hyssop fresh (Hyssopus officinalis) handful chopped
Elderflowers fresh (Sambucus nigra) handful chopped
Thyme fresh (Thymus vulgaris) handful chopped
Sage leaves fresh (Salvia officinalis) handful chopped
Put the herbs into a kilner jar with 750ml good quality rum. Leave to steep for at least 10 days ensuring that all plant material is covered by the rum. If necessary weigh the herbs down in the liquid with a glass jar. Agitate daily and leave in a dark place. Once it has steeped strain, bottle and label.
Take a teaspoon as required. The Horehound, Wild cherry and Elecampane make this quite a bitter elixir so you may like to sweeten it with a little honey when you take it. It is very effective at soothing coughs and clearing the airways so worth acquiring a taste for it.
If you need to avoid alcohol then you can make a herbal vinegar by substituting cider vinegar for the rum.
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