Herbal Remedies for Cough
I literally have Mullein growing like crazy on my Nature Walk side of the property. The mostly wild and uncultivated and rocky area between the barn and the neighbor’s property, full of raspberry tendrils, and tall grasses, and Garlic Mustard. I love that side of the property!
I’m very happy to see it though, it is a very useful herb for many conditions from removing heat in urinary conditions, an expectorant, sedative, to smoking mullein leaves for soothing inflamed lungs, reducing coughing and helping to reduce inflammation. It promotes productive coughing.
Mullein is a fuzzy leafed (Bi-annual) plant that every two years will sprout a giant stalk with golden/yellow flowers – which I haven’t seen yet but I’m waiting!
Dry mullein leaves flat. They can be crumbled for tea – I highly recommend placing this herb in the heat seal tea bags so that the little fuzzies don’t irritate the throat, or strain using a coffee filter. They can also be dried and smoked to ease respiratory conditions (I know it sounds counter-intuitive but it does work). Mullein can be tinctured just be sure to filter it carefully to remove the hairs.
Because it is nervine and can help soothe nerves, I’ve added it to my own blend of pain tea. So I’m very grateful to see nature’s pharmacopeia in my own yard!
Mullein & Honey Cough Medicine (From WolfCollege.com)
Ingredients for Mullein & Honey Cough Syrup:
- Mullein leaves and flowers **Note: because Mullein loves to live in disturbed areas, we have to be careful to check for pollution or other contaminants before harvesting
- Elderflowers from blue Elderberry, de-stemmed and rinsed
- Organic honey
First, make sure that the plant materials are clean and dry. The Elderflowers should be de-stemmed.
Next, we need to make a hot infusion. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and steep the Mullein flowers, Elderberry flowers, and the Mullein leaves for 10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can make a cold infusion: 1 oz of leaves and flowers in 1 quart of water for 4 hours.
When ready, strain the infusion through a strainer bag, and place the infusion back on the stove.
On a low simmer, stir in honey until dissolved. The affected person can also stand over the infusion and breathe in the steam for help with congestion and a croupy cough.
Let cool before consuming. Don’t forget to label with the name, date, and ingredients! Store in the fridge.
Dosage: take like a ‘regular’ cough syrup – 1 teaspoon every 3 or 4 hours
A little while ago I wrote a little ebook. I’m sharing it again here on Herbal Journal. Enjoy!
Why the Hilltop Herb Woman? I think I’m the only herbalist on my hilltop AND I’m enjoying my life as an herbalist so much that I’m embracing the identity. I love being able to offer items that can help people and knowledge about herbs that I never knew I wanted. (This post first appeared on the blog at our parent company The Hilltop Group, LLC)
At long last, I’m putting my recipe up on the blog.
First, I took the basic procedure from Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, I used ingredients that were beneficial for sore throat and/or to help with the flavor.
15 whole rose hips
1 Tablespoon Orange Peel
1 Tablespoon each: Yarrow, Valerian, Chamomile and blueberries and elderberries
2 Teaspoons Fennel Seed
1 3 inch cinnamon stick
Put all the ingredients in 1.5 quarts of water over low heat. Simmer the liquid down to about a pint, it will be a very concentrated tea.
Strain the herbs from the liquid and return the liquid to the pot. Add 1 cup of honey to each pint of liquid (or another sweetener such as maple syrup, Karo syrup, or brown sugar). Warm the honey and liquid together enough to mix well. I used 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract and 3/4 cup light corn syrup because I think a full cup is too much (for me). Remove from heat, bottle, and label. Store in the refrigerator and shake well before use. It will store for months in the refrigerator. For my purposes I used my homemade peach liqueur, it added a pain suppressant quality to the syrup since I was coughing so terribly much when I had the flu.
Rosemary talks in her procedure about how some people cook the honey and tea together for 20 to 30 minutes to have it thicken further but she didn’t agree since it tends to degrade the health benefits of the honey. I opted for her method and was quite pleased with the results. NOTE: when using the light corn syrup I did cook it an additional 20 minutes and it was perfect.
The dosage I used was 1 to 2 teaspoons every hour or when a severe bout of coughing started. I wouldn’t recommend my version for children since it contains the liqueur, but it tasted good. 🙂
Just one more thing for your arsenal to combat symptoms of colds and flu.
Take care and be healthy!
(This post first appeared on the ToBeNamedLater.com blog. January 2013)