It's been about a week of sneezing and coughing, so I got pretty fed up with the whole thing today. Time to pull out the big guns. Oddly, elderberry just didn't do the trick this time. I shudder to think how nasty this could have gotten without it, though.
Today I made a syrup specifically for this thing that seems to fluctuate between my head and my chest. I got out some Osha, Licorice root, Elecampane, Wild Cherry bark, Ginger, and Lemon to start a decoction. A decoction is different than an infusion, because roots and barks need to simmer for a period of time, while infusions involve leaves and flowers that are steeped in boiled water for a few minutes. There is another, newer definition of infusions, but for our purposes, this will do.
I filled a small pan with water, and put all ingredients except the lemon in to simmer for 45 minutes. I added the juice of a lemon for the last 5 minutes.After it was done, I strained it out. You can see here that my favorite method of straining things is with a steel mesh strainer lined with fabric from an old tshirt. As shirts wear out, they are washed and cut into squares for this purpose. They work beautifully.
There was 2/3 of a cup of decoction, so I measured out 2/3 cup of sugar, and added a good dollop of honey. At that point, I also added 1/2 ounce of goldenrod tincture.
It all went back into the pan, and was brought to a boil for a few minutes before being poured into bottles.The decoction alone could be drunk without being made into syrup, and I will make some more for after dinner tonight. It's nice to have it ready to go, though.
Interested in making medicines for yourself and family? Look here:
http://woodwifesjournal.blogspot.com/p/herbal-medicine-chest.html for a gathering of recipes and methods.