How to Make a Herbal Cough Elixir

Ingredients for the herbal cough elixir

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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About myrobalanclinic

I am a registered medical herbalist who uses a unique approach combining Tibetan Medicine with Western Herbal Medicine. I love my job - it is so rewarding seeing people taking control of their health and feeling healthier and more positive. I like to think that I help people get more out of life.
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3 Responses to How to Make a Herbal Cough Elixir

  1. Thank you for sharing the recipe:) I like that is done with run:) If someone has an intolerance to liquorice root, is there a specific herb you would suggest as a substitute?

    • Yes it is rather good made with rum! If liquorice root is not appropriate then just leave it out and increase the quantity of the Althaea and the Inula to compensate. The beauty of this mixture is that all the herbs are helpful so variations in the proportions are not critical.

      • Thanks for your thoughts! I do not understand it, but I have an awful aversion to liquorice root! Sets my teeth on edge, I get goosebumps and shivers, just nauseates me! Quite disappointing as I know it is so good for so many things. Strange also as I love what is considered its taste in other things like fennel, tarragon, star anise, these I all consume with relish!

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