Friday, October 12, 2012

It’s that time of year…

Cold & Flu seasons are back.  Boo! 

Here at Windy Ridge, we do as much as we can to put only stuff God made in our bodies.  That means, we grow veggies without chemicals, we raise animals without medicated food or antibiotics, and use plants to fight germs & viruses.  We do, however, sneak in the occasional candy corn and Halloween candy. 

A few years ago, when our girls were babies, there was a cough medicine scare and the drug companies pulled a lot of it from the shelves because of dosing issues.  It wasn’t safe to give to children under 2.  But, children under 2 got colds and had bad coughs so I did some research and took a class from a dear friend of mine at Stonewater Farm about herbal medicine. 

For colds & coughs, we now make an Herbal Cough Syrup that’s made from all natural ingredients. The girls think it’s yummy and don’t mind when they need to take a dose of it! 

You’ll need:


1 T of each: marshmallow root, Echinacea purpurea, wild cherry bark, horehound, slippery elm bark, rosehips

2-4 sticks of cinnamon (or 2 T chipped cinnamon)

3 c distilled water

1-1/2 c local raw honey

You’ll also need a jar with a cork (or a loose fitting lid and a sauce pan with lid (the herbalists say NOT use copper or aluminum, but we use whatever pots we have).

You can get these herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs, a local natural foods store (like Earth Fare, Fresh Market, Natural Foods Store, Health Barn, etc.) or if you’re local to me, I can hook you up with the Herbal Cough syrup herb blend (just email me). 

To Make Herbal Cough Syrup:

Part 1: Make a decoction (which is a tea that “cooks” and steeps for a longer time than the typical tea because it uses the thicker part of plants like bark, thick leaves, seeds, berries, roots, etc.)

Place the herbs in the saucepan and add cold water. Make sure the herbs are covered by the water so they don't burn. Bring to a boil, tightly covered, and then lower the heat and simmer (still covered) for 45 min to 1 hour or until the liquid has decreased by about 1/3.

Allow mixture to cool; then, strain through a fine mesh strainer (or line your pasta strainer with cheesecloth, a piece of an old sheet or a viva paper towel) into a glass bowl. Squeeze all the moisture you can from the herbs and put them in your compost bin (if you have one).

Part 2: Make a syrup by returning the decoction (liquid) back to saucepan on LOW heat and add honey until your syrup reaches its desired consistency. (I typically use 1 c raw local honey in 2 c of decoction liquid) *Keep in mind that the syrup will thicken a bit once it has cooled.*

Place cooled syrup in a glass bottle and seal with a cork stopper. *The cork stopper allows the mixture to "breathe". A syrup can ferment and will explode if sealed with a screw-cap unless you diligently open the container at LEAST once a week. PLEASE, please, please label the jar and include the date on which you made the syrup.

Cough Syrup

Store in the refrigerator. *We usually give the girls about 1 Tablespoon of the syrup as needed for coughing.

I made a batch of Herbal Cough Syrup on Monday afternoon and my youngest, Miss Picklepants, got up from her rest time and requested a bowl of applesauce (which is a random request from her.)  She thought I was making applesauce on the stove.  I thought she would be disappointed when she found out it was just cough syrup, but her response was, “Yay! I love that stuff.”  So, not only will it work for the colds & coughs in your family, but it will make your house smell super yummy too!

Some of the herbs used in this syrup & their "healing properties":

marshmallow root - reduces inflammation in the mucous membranes, cough suppressant

slippery elm bark - soothes raw and inflamed throats & eases cough

wild cherry - beneficial to respiratory system & mucous membranes

Happy Day :: Christy

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