Saturday, February 7, 2009

Homemade Cough & Sore Throat Relief

Coughs, colds, and sore throats have been going around my home and those of friends and family like nobody's business. I approach everything but emergency medical situations naturally, especially since I am pregnant and have a small child in the house. After toughing it out for a couple days, which I tend to do, the tickle in my throat had just kept me from good sleep for too long. I NEVER use cough suppressants because I feel that if you have a cough there is a reason and that the cough needs to do the work that is needed to make you better. And even medical doctors will not recommend cough syrups for children under 6. I am not against getting some relief and of course when it comes to my loved ones I want them to feel better so I turn to natural products or make my own.

Buckwheat honey, a dark almost molasses type of honey, was first recommended to me by our family naturopathic doctor. I looked into it further, and found this article, in the Ottawa Citizen, a respected daily paper, saying that research has been done and the conclusion is "A spoonful of buckwheat honey quells a child's night-time chest cold coughing better than the most common cough suppressant in nonprescription medicines." This is the result of a study done by Pennsylvania State University. The study was funded by the National Honey Board which doesn't bother me, since it is an Agricultural Department Agency, and since drug companies have been funding drug studies that end up in their favor for decades. It is about time that studies are funded for natural remedies. Feel free to read the article and decide for yourself. Or better yet, try it. My husband has had great results for a non-tickle sort of cough that kept him up at night. And I have given it to my daughter, who is 2 1/2. I have to say, it has not been incredibly effective on my tickly throat.

I decided to make a honey based remedy that is in a book I own called "Green Clean Eco Friendly Cleaning for the Home" by L&K Publishing. It is for Thyme Infused Honey, which like buckwheat honey is supposed to relieve cough and cold, NOT cure it. Nothing can cure a cold by the way.... Thyme has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. The recipe is simple.

Thyme Infused Honey
350g/1 cup honey
60 g/1/2 cup fresh thyme or 30g/1/4 cup dried thyme

In a small saucepan, combine the two ingredients and heat gently over low heat for 15 - 20 minutes, being sure not to let the honey boil or scorch. Remove from heat and allow the honey to cool. Strain out herbs, then bottle the honey and label it. To relieve colds, coughs, and sore throats, take 1 teaspoon of this honey three times a day. You could also add a teaspoon of it to a cup of regular hot tea and sip slowly.

I used honey in a honey bear so I can squeeze it onto a spoon. I used a funnel to get it back into the bear, which was pretty easy, since it was nice and thin even once it had cooled enough to go back into the bottle. Now, that I think about it, next time, I will probably use a glass container, but the plastic bear is food grade quality and was not heated up. I had a bunch of fresh time left over from a recipe but I still didn't have 60 grams so I used about 45 grams fresh and 15 grams dried (which is why in the last photo you see two colors of leaves). At first, I threw the fresh sprigs in whole, but decided it would be better to pull the leaves off the springs... In the end, it tastes great, and today my tickly throat is gone. After 6 nights of it, that makes me so happy!

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