When my kids were little, I used to get those cute little packages of slippery elm lozenges that you used to see at the checkout area when grocery shopping.
For those of you who have never tried anything like this, herbal lozenges are small discs of lightly sweetened and pulverized herbs that you hold in your mouth until they dissolve. Unlike cough drops, herbal lozenges are more powdery; less like a hard candy and more like a pink candy heart.
Using herbs at home for minor complaints like a cold or flu is empowering, and if you’re a DIY kind of person, making herbal remedies is fun. Unfortunately, the flavor of many healing herbs takes some getting used to. Herbs only work if you take them, but if you can make them taste good, you can get fussy kids and adults on board with herbal remedies.
The process is similar to making cookies (albeit very tiny ones) and if you have kids, they can help you make them. Lozenges are made by blending a medicinal herb with slippery elm powder, and made into a dough using either a sweetened herbal tea or a prepared herbal syrup.
Slippery elm is one of my favorite herbs to use to make lozenges, because the people of all ages enjoy (or at least tolerate) the mild flavor, and that is can magically soothe a sore throat or upset tummy. It also helps to bind the lozenge ingredients together and provide a smooth texture.
This particular lozenge recipe is for a sore throat that accompanies a cold or flu. If everyone at your job is getting sick, make a giant batch and give some to everyone in the office.
Tip: as long as you keep the recipe proportions the same, you can adapt the recipe to help with just about anything: coughing, energy, sleep, stomach ache, arthritis, and immune support. I will provide some ideas at the end of the article.
The basic recipe proportions are simple, and can be tweaked as needed: 1/2 cup of sweetened tea or herbal syrup, 1/4 cup slippery elm powder, and 1/4 cup of medicinal herb(s). If the dough is too moist, add more powder. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add more liquid.
So, let’s get started.
For this particular recipe, you will need:
1/4 cup of slippery elm powder
1/4 cup powdered sage leaf (this is the culinary sage that you cook with, not the kind you burn)
1 tiny drop of peppermint essential oil (optional)
In a mixing bowl, place the herbal powders and combine them well. Slowly stir in the elderberry syrup (or licorice root tea) to the powders, and mix until a dough-like consistency is achieved. If you wish to add the peppermint essential oil, whisk it into the syrup or tea before adding it to the powders.
Dust a flat surface and a rolling pin with slippery elm powder, and roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick. To shape the individual lozenges, you can use a tiny cookie cutter or a small bottle cap to make uniform discs. Use your fingers to smooth the edges. You can roll the dough into pea-sized balls if you prefer that method and like the shape.
Place the discs or balls on a waxed cookie sheet. Cover the sheet with paper towels to protect them from dust. Let the lozenges dry on the cookie sheet in a dry place where they won’t be disturbed. Depending on the time of year and the weather, air-drying can as quickly as 2 days or as long as a week. Once the lozenges are completely dehydrated, store them in a glass mason jar.
You can make lozenges to suit just about any need. Just remember the basic proportions: 1/2 cup of liquid, 1/4 cup slippery elm powder, and 1/4 cup of other herb(s)
For a cold with cough:
1/4 cup slippery elm powder
2 tablespoons yerba santa powder
1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
1/2 tablespoon hyssop powder
For an upset stomach:
1/2 cup slippery elm powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
Try it and let us know what you think!