During the colder months I sometimes need a natural way to soothe a sore throat.
Tea with honey is my favorite remedy, but when I want a quicker solution grabbing a throat lozenge from my purse or cupboard is hard to beat.
The last time I shopped for throat drops I was disgusted with the ingredients – things like artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. Those things certainly don’t sound helpful for a sore throat, cough, or any other condition.
Making a simple, soothing lozenge
There are many herbs that can be used to make your own throat lozenges. I chose the following for their soothing properties and mild taste. The herbal flavor of these lozenges will not be sugary sweet like store-bought varieties you may be accustomed to. But if we’re being practical, things we take to heal the body really shouldn’t have a candy-like flavor or appearance, right? I always wanted a lozenge that would do its job without unnecessary ingredients. These homemade throat drops will soothe a scratchy, sore throat and help control a dry cough.
Marshmallow root: Useful for its mucilaginous properties and ability to soothe a sore throat. The polysaccharides in this herb will coat irritated surfaces and have a soothing effect on inflamed tissues. It has a very mild flavor. I used the powdered form because I had it on hand. (I actually had capsules that I opened up and emptied.) It may even work better to use dried Marshmallow root, preparing a cold infusion with the herb to use for the liquid part of this recipe. (Learn how to make a cold infusion here.) Marshmallow root or bulk Marshmallow root powder can usually be found at your local health food store or online here.
Slippery Elm Bark: This herb is soothing for an irritated throat and is helpful in reducing inflamed membranes. It is excellent for a dry cough. You will need powdered Slippery Elm Bark for this recipe. (Find Slippery Elm Bark powder here.)
Honey: Honey has been used for centuries for its many healing properties. Not only is honey a natural choice to sweeten these drops, but it also has powerful anti-microbial properties that can help soothe an inflamed throat. Use raw, unfiltered honey…and local honey is always best if available. (Find raw, unfiltered honey here.)
Homemade Herbal Lozenges
(makes approximately 20 drops)
- ¼ cup distilled or filtered water (where to find water purification systems)
- ½ tsp. Marshmallow root powder, or about 2 Tbsp. dried Marshmallow root if preparing a cold infusion (where to find Marshmallow root products)
- 2 Tbsp. raw honey (where to find raw, unfiltered honey)
- ½ cup Slippery Elm Bark powder (where to find Slippery Elm Bark powder)
- Dissolve ½ tsp. Marshmallow root powder in ¼ cup hot water. Stir to combine. (Prepare cold infusion during this step if using dried Marshmallow root.)
- Put 2 Tbsp. honey into a glass measuring cup, and add Marshmallow root solution (or Marshmallow root cold infusion) to measuring cup until you have a total of ¼ cup liquid. Discard remaining Marshmallow root solution.
- Measure ½ cup Slippery Elm Bark powder into a mixing bowl, creating a well in the middle of the powder with your fingers. Pour honey/Marshmallow root solution over the Slippery Elm Bark powder.
- With clean hands, mix ingredients together until you can form a smooth ball of dough. Break small chunks off dough ball and form them into small lozenge-shaped drops. (I prefer oblong drops that are the size of a grape, but yours can be any shape/size.)
- Roll finished lozenges in a bit of Slippery Elm Bark powder so they are not sticky. Place on a plate or parchment paper and allow to dry completely (about 24 hours).
- Wrap each lozenge in a small piece of parchment paper or waxed paper. Store in a cool, dark, dry place. They will keep for a few months.
Allow lozenge to slowly dissolve in your mouth. Repeat as needed.
A few notes
While these throat lozenges are great, I do not recommend using them to treat illness. They might be beneficial for a pesky, dry cough and a sore throat, but I recommend consulting your health care provider if you have a persistent sore throat or cough, or a “chesty” cough that is accompanied by large amounts of phlegm.
If you make your own throat lozenges or cough drops share your experience with the community!