Cough Syrups To Make For Your Natural Remedies Arsenal
Written by: Kavata Kithome
Fall is upon us, giving way to longer nights, thin crisp wind and flu season. As summer starts winding down and the natural sunshine starts wearing off, your immune system starts wearing down. If you are anything like me, the change in seasons makes you more susceptible to illness. No fun for anyone!
As the season changes, it is important to maintain a healthy diet by eating nourishing seasonal foods, drinking sufficient amounts of water and getting enough rest, but did you know that you can also make syrups and bitters that can bring you through the winter months with less illness? Think of them as added arsenal in your health and wellness tool kit.
I have shared my grandmother’s remedies with you before and today is no different. My grandmother had a remedy for virtually every ailment. We used her remedies alongside doctor’s treatments and because of her remedies we rarely had to roll up our sleeves for the mercury-laden flu shots or any other pharmaceuticals for that matter.
Because my love for you runs deep, I want to share a few of my tried and tested syrups and bitters to load up on this fall.
What You Will Need:
- A handful of the herbs, fruits and ingredients in your syrup. Source local and organic when possible.
- To make bitters, you will need 100% proof alcohol, or vegetable glycerin (for children).
- Local, raw honey for sweetener.
- A glass jar or tincture bottle per syrup.
1. Pineapple Cough Syrup
Pineapples are powerhouses of enzymes which have loads of digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as loads of vitamin C, which makes them a great fruit to make cough syrup.
- ¼ cup of fresh pineapple juice, or organic pineapple juice (from a glass container)
- 1 tsp warmed, local raw honey
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Optional additions: a tsp of ground or fresh ginger or turmeric, ground cayenne
Instructions: Warm honey on low heat and remove from heat. Add pineapple juice, lemon juice and optional additions, if desired. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.
2. Turmeric & Cinnamon Syrup
You surely know the many anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric. This syrup is not only great for you, but is also great if you have a sweet tooth and will be a hit with your young ones. What better way to get the endless gifts of turmeric into your loved ones than to wrap it up with some sweet honey?
- 1 tbsp raw grated or dried, powdered turmeric
- ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp of raw, local honey
- 1 tbsp of filtered water
Instructions: Warm honey and remove from heat. Add in the turmeric, cinnamon and stir in your filtered water. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.
3. Honey Cough Syrup
- 2 tbsp of local, raw honey
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp of filtered water, if desired
Warm the honey on low heat and add water and honey if desired. It is fine to simply give warm honey as cough syrup! To make a syrup to keep, add the water and cinnamon for taste. Mix thoroughly and place in glass jar. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.
4. Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries are a powerhouse of antioxidants and immune-boosting flavonoids. They are anti-viral and anti-inflammatory and research has shown that they can even prevent cancer. The berries include a great amount of vitamin A, as well as one of the most potent sources of vitamin C.
- 2 tbsp of elderberries (if you have dried, allow them to sit in water at least an hour before preparing)
- ¼ cup of filtered water
- ¼ cup of local, raw honey
Soak the berries in filtered water if you are using dried. If you do so, include the portion of water the berries soaked in into your water calculation. After soaking, place the water, berries and honey in a small saucepan with lid. Turn your stove on to a very low heat. Allow the mixture to heat for 20-45 minutes. Strain the mixture into a jar, leaving out the berries. Your syrup should be a rich, purple color.
You can make your elderberry syrup even more syrupy by adding more honey, or less, by adding more water. I typically make a waterier mixture so that it is easier to consume and more of a syrup to line the throat during illness.
5. Honey Chest Pack
The enzymes and good microbes in honey can help a respiratory cough and sore throat and break up mucus stuck in the lungs and esophagus.
For you moms out there, this is also great for helping children sleep during a cough, because you don’t have to take it orally. Did you know that both the FDA and AAP noted that most cough syrups are not safe for children under the age of six? This chest pack is a great alternative for you little one.
- Raw honey
- A little starch of choice (such as fine flour or arrowroot powder)
Using your local raw honey, combine with your starch of choice, such as a fine flour or arrowroot powder and mix the honey and powder into a thicker paste.
Apply the paste to the chest, on the lungs for coughs. Cover with a warm rag (stick in or on your oven when it’s heating up or down after/before baking) and allow to sit for 20 minutes. This will break up the phlegm and allow you to cough it up. Repeat nightly, as needed.
Now that you have a chest pack and a few cough syrups, no health kit is complete without bitters in your arsenal. I remember as a child, I would try my best to hide my cold from my grandmother, because she always took my colds as an opportunity to share her very bitter bitters. Just thinking about them now makes me cringe; fortunately, these bitters taste much better than my grandmother’s.
Bitters have been used to help digestive issues and maintain gut health for a long time. In fact, some say that they are even more beneficial than probiotics and have been used to help with eczema, allergies and asthma, as well as hormonal conditions and even weight issues.
How do they work? Basically you have bitter taste receptors all along your digestive tract from your tongue, to your intestines, to your stomach and pancreas, which stimulate digestion of toxins and release enzymes to properly digest proteins. Its best to take bitters before meals to improve digestion, or throughout if you are ill.
6. General Bitters Recipe
- 1-2 tsp of your bitters materials, raw or dried
- 4 oz of 100 proof alcohol, or vegetable glycerin
- ¼ tsp of local, raw honey
- 1 tsp of filtered water, if desired
- 4 oz glass mason jars and 1 tincture bottle
Possible bitters: burdock root, dandelion root, coffee beans (for my coffee lovers), yellow dock, rosemary, cloves, anise, lavender, lemongrass, nutmeg, chile, citrus peels, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa beans, vanilla and dried fruits.
As a general rule, use 1 part of dried bitter to 5 parts liquid, or 1 part raw bitter to 2 parts liquid.
Cut your bitters materials and place in 4 oz glass mason jars. Cover with alcohol completely and seal lid tightly. Shake bitters daily. Open the bitters to take a taste every few days – some take one day, others may take two weeks and the longer they sit, the stronger their taste will be.
When complete, take off the lid and strain out the bitters materials, discard. Mix in warmed honey and water, if desired. Place entire bitters mixture into a dropper and enjoy! Bitters do not need to be refrigerated.
7. Bitter Chocolate Recipe
As I promised, here is a bitter recipe that tastes good. Try this bitter chocolate recipe if you don’t stomach bitters well. It’s a great one for children too!
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp raw, local honey
- Juice or zest from 1 slice of lemon
- 5 drops of bitters of your choice
Instructions: Mix all ingredients, warming honey if necessary. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Making your own syrups is fun and can save money (bonus!). Including your children in making these remedies can teach them how to naturally help and prevent illness. As fall hits, make yourself a batch of these remedies and be ready for the cold weather ills.
Try these do-it-yourself syrup concoctions to boost your immune system and overall health before the illnesses come blowing in. What syrups have you made for your fall medicine cabinet? Share with us in the comments below.
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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