Saturday, October 10, 2015

An elixir for winter coughs and colds

This morning I started thinking about making a tincture with the white horehound in the back garden.  It's such a great herb for the coughing, wheezing, and chest congestion, and is a pretty decent expectorant - but the taste is very bitter.  We usually see it in candy lozenges and syrups, with lots of sugar used to tone down that aspect, which usually means it has been heated to pretty high temps.  That led me to consider a tincture.  Which eventually turned into an elixir.
Ingredients gathered
But as I headed out to the garden, I started thinking about adding some sage.  Sage is so helpful for sore throats.  And just a few feet away there is the huge patch of thyme, another great expectorant that can also help to relieve spasmodic coughing.  Lastly, I remembered the bag of meadowsweet I have, and thought it would make a nice addition for its pain relieving qualities.
Filling the jars
 Instead of a tincture, some honeys - both raw and natural from neighborhood beekeepers - would help to make this smoother, tastier (though I'm not certain anything will make it "delicious") and even more beneficial.  That addition make it an elixir.
At first, I was going to make one jar, but quickly realized that two would be better.
The jar on the left "burped" just before I took the picture, and needed additional alcohol to even up.
Recipe for one quart jar:
1/4 cup dried meadowsweet flowers
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
1 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
1 cup chopped fresh horehound
zest of 1/2 orange
1 cup honey
Fill with vodka.  I used 150 proof.  100 would be fine.

You'll note that the jars aren't full.  I didn't bring in enough to finish, but will do so tomorrow morning, and then add whatever vodka is needed.
Room left to add more botanicals and alcohol/honey in the morning.
Some other additions I considered would be licorice root and cinnamon.  I'll see how this is in a couple of weeks, and then decide if those would improve it or if it's fine as is.

Horehound should be avoided during pregnancy.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I don't have any horehound....would you list some substitutions that might work? I'm thinking I may use Elecampane...not an exact match of course, but it could work well. Thanks.

Mochino said...

I have no meadowsweet . . . . .is this necessary? what else could be used?

Tina Sams said...

No it's not necessary. You can use whatever you like.

Unknown said...

If you don't have fresh, would dry work. I can get the thyme and other spices fresh at 5he grocery store, but don't have a fresh source for the horehound. Really need to make this as I get hit with this stuff every year. Thanks Tina!

Tina Sams said...

Oh sure, dry is fine. The general calculation is use 1/3 as much dried as you would fresh. I'm not very precise, but feel like I should mention that :-)
If you need to order the horehound, go ahead and start the rest of the elixir. Either add the horehound directly to the elixir, or make a tincture when you get it and add some of that to the elixir - whichever makes more sense to you.

Anonymous said...

I always LOVE white horehound, and I actively like that bitter taste, LOL. This sounds like a great remedy! ❤️