The dreaded morning wake-up call, “Mom, my throat hurts.”
After an assessment of symptoms and a thorough inspection of the back of the throat. It appears we’ve hit it at the early stages.
Everyone in the house knows to inform me at the very first sign — even hint — of deviation from health…this is when herbal medicine is at its’ finest!
I was able to get to work quickly in the kitchen, on a very simple herbal remedy.
Supported with some of my herbal cough syrup and homemade cold + flu tincture. I’m almost certain we’ve got a handle on it!
Herbs to Treat Sore Throat + Cough
Classic herbs used to treat a sore throat and cough include, yet are not limited to — rose petals, sage, goldenseal, marshmallow root, slippery elm, horehound, ginger, licorice root, elderberry, echinacea, and cayenne pepper.
For this recipe, I used the herbs I had on hand.
- Slippery Elm. The soothing herb. Rachel Weaver, in her book Be Your Own Doctor: An Informative Guide to Herbal Home Health Care, defines slippery elm as, “mainly powdered for therapeutic use. It is a mucilaginous herb with properties similar to comfrey. It is gentle and soothing, yet it works extremely well. ‘Mucilaginous’ means sticky and with an ability to coat. Slippery elm does this very well, coating…and healing whatever it comes in contact with.”
- Echinacea Angustifolia Root. One of the most popular herbs associated with immunity and health. Rosemary Gladstar in her book Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, says of echinacea, “Echinacea is always more effective if taken at the early signs of illness, before the illness has the opportunity to ‘settle in.’ Echinacea is particularly effective against bronchial and respiratory infections, sore throat, and oral infections, and in any situation where the immune system needs fortifying.”
- Goldenseal. An extremely potent and highly effect herb, goldenseal is a must-have in all home wellness pantries. We’ll again look to Rosemary Gladstar who so wonderfully describes goldenseal to be, “a natural antibiotic, and it is often paired with echinacea to help fight off infections, colds, and flus. It is particularly effective in treating infections of the mucous membranes, found in the respiratory, digestive, skin, and reproductive systems.” Please note :: Due to it’s over-harvesting in the wild. Please only purchase goldenseal from reputable companies that buy from small organic cultivators of the herb. Be sure the goldenseal you use has been “organically grown,” “organically cultivated,” or grown yourself in the home garden — not “wildcrafted.” I ONLY recommend purchasing organically cultivated goldenseal here, from Mountain Rose Herbs.
- Ginger Root. Ginger is a powerful antiseptic. A warming herb, functions effectively as a decongestant — used in the treatment of colds and flus, respiratory congestion, and sore throat.
- Cinnamon (sweet). Cinnamon — used in combination with ginger — dispels colds and warms the chill of winter. It kills a wide variety of disease causing bacteria…a well-known treatment of colds, the flu, and fever. Please note :: For medicinal purposes, organic true cinnamon (sweet) is recommended.
+Because they work gently and effectively.
+Because you can grow many yourselves, right outside your front door or even in your kitchen.
+Because it’s our birthright to use the gifts of nature with respect and wisdom.
+Because up until relatively recently, at least in the western world, herbs were an integral part of taking care of ourselves.
Health doesn’t come from plastic bottles. Vitality grows naturally from the way you live your life. Deep down, people already know this.
If you want to learn more about herbs as medicine and as food, and if you’re just too busy to enroll in an in-person program, join the Herbal Academy of New England for a comprehensive and convenient online herbal course you can complete anywhere and anytime!
Learn what your great ancestors knew about the natural world and begin to build your own apothecary.
Start classes anytime! Click this link to learn more and register.
Homemade Herbal Sore Throat + Cough Drops
Yield :: Approx. 40 herbal drops.
*Adjust recipe to meet your needs.
*Choose only organically grown herbs. I have linked directly to the herbs + ingredients I personally use and recommend.
- 1 teaspoon slippery elm powder
- 1 teaspoon echinacea angustifolia root powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger root powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (sweet) powder
- 1/4 teaspoon goldenseal root powder
- 2 teaspoons organic, raw manuka honey
- 1 drop lemon essential oil, optional
- 1 dropOnGuard essential oil blend, optional
Where to buy essential oils for ingestion?
For the highest medicinal value available choose Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils or the organic oils from Plant Therapy…these are the brands I trust to provide the ultimate in health + safety for myself, my family, and my friends.
The method for the creation of these drops, I learned from the great herbalists Kiva Rose + Rosemary Gladstar.
- In a small bowl combine all ingredients.
- With a spoon, work mixture into a “bread dough” like consistency. Add cinnamon to thicken, if needed.
- Pinch off very small bits of dough and roll them in the palm of your hand to form a pea-size ball. Note :: I like to add a small amount of cinnamon to my palm while I roll.
- Dry the balls/pills/drops in a dehydrator OR on a cookie sheet in the oven. Note :: If using an oven, set to lowest possible temperature and leave the door to the oven slightly open.
- Once dried, store these drops in a small glass container. They will keep fresh in a cool, dark space for a year.
Adults and children, take 1-2 drops, 2-4 times a day as needed.
Where Can I Get This Stuff?
–Mountain Rose Herbs…they have everything you’ll need by way of Bulk Herbs and Natural Products for Healthy, Natural Living! It’s your one-stop-shop!
There are no essential oils that should be ingested ! doTerra is a pyramid scheme , to make money , herbal medicine is not about someone making money off of the overpriced products ! Think about it !!
Herbal medicine is about sharing knowledge and the power of plants…and it’s about helping each other. doTERRA’s oils really aren’t that expensive when compared to other similar high quality oils (i.e. Mountain Rose Herbs). As for a money making scheme…Mountain Rose Herbs (and every other company that makes and sells essential oils — and herbs for that matter) seeks to make money off their oils. No one is a purist in this manner (that is unless you 100% grow your own herbs or harvest them in the wild). And concerning the ingestion of oils…I first learned about ingesting essential oils from vintage herbal remedy books/recipes AND from modern herbalists like Rosemary Gladstar in her book Herbal Medicine for Beginners. This is NOT a new idea. With all respect…I have thought deeply about these things. And stand boldly behind the words I wrote above.
Have you ever tried doterra’s oils? Do not criticize them without trying them. I have used them for three years and would not be without them. One drop of Melaleuca(ingested) cured my esophageal thrush (which was caused by a prescription medication). I have also used it to stop the itch of poison ivy and to prevent infectins from cuts. One drop of Breathe allows my sinus cavity to clear so I can breathe. I use honey along with on guard, peppermint, lemon and frankincense to stop a cough I get with weather induced asthma (I get the cough every winter). Ylang ylang has helped me reduce my blood pressure back into the normal range. The reason that people say not to ingest essential oils is because many are chemically extracted, thus adulterated them. Doterra’s oils are steam distilled, therefore they are safe to ingest. Not every oil is to be ingested. And doterra has their bottles labled as to whether it can be used topically, inhaled or ingested. As far as making money—do you take prescription medications? If so, you are putting money into pharmaceutical companies who charge a fortune for a pill they can make for pennies.
Andrea. I am not trying to discredit you in any way . But , for you to ever suggest that your readers ingest Essential Oils just because a Company says their oils are therapeutic grade just because Rosemary Gladstar has said to do so , I really respect her as holistic healer as well except when saying it’s ok to ingest EO’s , is not very responsible , the AIA doesn’t even endorse this use . Please take the few minutes to read this , one of many sources that say it is not a safe practice ;
Aromatherapists don’t suggest internal use unless guided by a professional
Where do you see advice to ingest essential oils? Is it from a licensed practitioner or someone selling oils who obtains their information directly from the oil company?
An individual selling essential oils in a multi-level marketing scheme does better research on the safety of the oils than a licensed aromatherapist not affiliated with an essential oil company. Said no one ever.
The advice discrepancy between those selling the popular brands of essential oils and practitioners should raise a red flag. The Alliance of International Aromatherapists gives this statement on the internal use of essential oils:
AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal). Please refer to the AIA Safety Guidelines for essential oil use. (Read more)
Please seek a practitioner’s guidance if ingesting essential oils
When it comes to conventional medicine and natural remedies alike, first, do no harm. That’s why ingesting essential oils should be at the end of your natural remedies list. Start with options that have no potential for harm! When it comes to issues commonly addressed with ingesting essential oils – allergies, heartburn, immune support, weight loss, and detox – dietary and lifestyle changes should be renovated first. That usually solves the majority of the problems!
After diet and lifestyle are addressed, I suggest moving to food-based supplements and herbal preparations, along with topical application of essential oils. I primarily use Vibrant Blue Oils, which are uniquely formulated to support organ function though topical application.
If you wish to ingest essential oils after making the above changes, please do so under the guidance of a certified aromatherapist, herbalist or other practitioner who has vast experience with essential oils.
Let’s keep spreading the message that essential oils offer immense potential as agents for wellness. But let’s also spread the message that they need to be approached with due caution and respect for their powerful and yet-to-be-adequately-studied properties. If this post resonates with you, I urge you to share it with your family and friends who may be ingesting essential oils without that due caution. In the words of aromatherapist Amy Kreydin in her very wise post, friends don’t let friends drink essential oils.
Thank you for taking the time to read this !!!
Thank you Mary for this wonderful information and countering point of view. I agree…all plants in all forms should be used with intense respect. There is a definitive science to health, yet I also believe firmly in the art and intention of health. Everything with moderation and wisdom.
In the end, we all are free (at least for now) to make independent decisions regarding our lives and our health. If you don’t feel comfortable adding 1 or 2 drops of essential oils to this recipe…leave it out. That is why I list them as optional. I’m simply sharing what I do for myself and my family. In the 13 years I have practiced herbalism, no harm has come (quite the opposite actually).
We could go back and forth forever I’m sure! Just as passionately as you are on your position…I am on mine:) In the end, everyone must diligently seek their own truth and confidently rest in it.
I quite enjoy these conversations, as they serve to open the door to new ideas — yet more often than not, cause the roots of my passionate beliefs to deepen.
Estelle Stone says
Cannot wait to try these. Thanks EVER so much for the wonderful (as usual) recipes! 🙂
You’re so very welcome Estelle:)
Making these tomorrow!
Anne-Marie Bilella says
Thank you Andrea for sharing this recipe!
I’m with Andrea. It’s definitely ok to ingest oils and MANY before us have done so! My mom started with YL 15 years ago or so and now we are both with doTERRA. We have all taken oils internally daily. No health ailments, in fact, many issues we had are now gone. And all physicals and check ups have been great!!
Love this recipe, thanks so much, Andrea! So glad you’re back! We have all missed you terribly!!
Hi Andrea just wanted to say thank you again for such knowledgeable remedies to help us stay away from conventional medicine. I have admired your writings for some time and have wanted to get into herbalism also. I don’t know how to begin? Should I buy a book and if so who should I start with? Should I start by making cold and flu prevention herb mixtures? I have been reading some and have also came across something that is fermented and is suppose to be used for cold and flu. I forget the name now, something like fire sauce or something to that effect? Have you heard of or have you tried that? I am just curious and would like to info on getting myself started in herbalism. Thanks again 🙂
Elaine Pollard says
I am unsuccessfully trying to bite my tongue on the whole “it’s okay to ingest essential oils” debate. I think that it depends on the oil and how it’s ingested. Essential oils are very potent medicines, and it irritates me that companies give misleading information on how to use their products because in the end, it affects all of us. I would suggest that people read as many sources and make their own informed decision. Anything that is “safe” can be misused and can harm you. Even drinking too much water can kill you.
If anyone gets a chance, read Jim McDonald’s response on this concerning the FDA’s recent “hand smacking” of doTerra and Young Living. He addresses this issue in the best way I’ve seen it presented.
I understand there are those who say don’t ingest essestial oils and those who do. I am 48 years old and I have been making sweet pickles from an old, old recipe from my Mom and probably her Mom and two main ingredients are oil of cinnamon and oil of cloves. We LOVE these pickles because it is like eating crunchy candy. I am perfectly healthy and so is my family. I believe that it is OK and is your choice to ingest essential oils in moderation. Remember the experts said butter and eggs were bad for you just a decade ago. Go figure!
Elaine Pollard says
Not going to argue. In small amounts, cinnamon oil or clove oil probably won’t hurt you, but over time they can. That’s why you have to know what the contraindications are.
My daughter has a mental illness and is on antidepressants and antipsychotic medications. I was all set to give her rhodiola and schisandra berry because I’d read how good they are as adaptogens. Everything I read said they were safe, but I still felt a nagging. I did some more research and found out that because of the medicines she is on, rhodiola and shisandra could cause very adverse reactions.
My point is: just because someone says something is safe, doesn’t mean it is safe all the time or for all people. You have to account for the whole person–including any disease, medication or other constitution. Sure, cinnamon is great for diabetics, but it also pulls on the liver and too much can damage your liver.
I am pro-herbal medicine and I am not too fond of allopathic medicines, but I also know that you have to know the constituents of any herb or any oil before you just blindly take them. Some herbs and oils are safe for the general populace–most have contraindications. I do not understand why people just accept what doTerra or Young Living, or any other expert says about a certain herb/oil/supplement without doing their own research. Yes, you may consume pickles with cinnamon and clove oil and not have any adverse effects that you can see for now, but who knows what can happen in the long run? I think it is foolhardy to just skip along and say, ‘Well, I did X for years and nothing happened to me’ because quite honestly, you don’t know what’s taking place in your organs and tissues.
I am done with this conversation. If you all want to ingest essential oils, ingest away.
There is definitely wisdom in your comments… thanks!
Anything you put in your body should be investigated if you are taking pharmaceutical medications because of possible side effects. But to make a blanket statement that all oils are to be avoided is wrong. Did you know that drinking green tea can negate the effects of some medications taken for bipolar disorder? My point is this—every case is different. What works for one person may not be right for another.
What a cool recipe! I an going to try this. I was wondering what is it like when you use the balls? Do you bite into them and it’s a big powdery mess in your mouth? Or does it become hard like a lozenge and you then suck on it?
They’re just like a lozenge:)
You say 1-2 drops for adults & children. What is the minimum age for a child? I too was wondering about the consistency and taste in the mouth.
Alie vermeer says
Thank you sooo much for these wonderful recipies of yours and the study you make for them so we can use them in our home….I love DoTerra oils. They are the most open business as possible my husband found every study about the oils in their website awesome.
Alie from the Netherlands
How long in oven, what setting is the lowest setting? Does that vary in ovens? What temp and how long in the dehydrator? TIA!