Late winter is the time of year in which heavy, wet conditions can start to really settle in our lungs. Luckily, nature’s apothecary has many beneficial plant allies for coughs and colds that can support you in the form of an herbal homemade cough syrupwhen you most need it!
This herbal cough syrup isn’t designed to be suppress coughing. But it’s calming and therefore the coughing is not as violent and irritating. Anyone who has ever been kept awake all night by a bad cough knows how disruptive and even painful a bad cough can be. The soothing properties in this Homemade Cough Syrup for a Wet cough work together with expectorant effects—getting the gunk out of your body smoothly!Learn how to easily prepare your own homemade cough syrup, including some well-known respiratory supporting herbs for the colder months!
First, let’s cover some herbs that are wonderful for soothing a wet cough. Remember to always thoroughly research each herb you choose so that you are aware of any personal safety concerns or contraindications.
Although its original herbal uses have been largely forgotten in favor of its role in the kitchen, thyme once held an important place in home herbalism, especially in winter.
The most noted constituent of thyme, thymol, isexpectorant, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antitussive, and bronchodilating. Thyme can be beneficial to soothe acute or chronic respiratory issues including coughs and bronchitis (Bone & Mills, 2013; Tierra, 2003). In addition, thiswarmingspice is incorporated into winter dishes & beverages to help the body adapt to the cold.
This somewhatbitter mint family herbis famous for soothing wet coughs and moving along the thick, damp mucus associated with allergies.Horehound was such an important herb for the lungs and bronchial system, that it used to be called “Lungenkraut” (meaning “lung-herb”) in Central Europe. (Holmes, 1997).
Horehound leaves aid withthinning mucus and clearing it from the airwayswhile quelling spasms (Groves, 2016).Once old mucus has been expectorated, new more active immune cell containing mucus can form. This is one example of how horehound works by shifting the environment of the body so that the body can restore vitality and balance (Wood, 2008).
Furthermore, therelaxing diaphoretic natureof horehound makes it a useful herbal ally for respiratory infections that include fever, painful swollen throat, hoarseness, and sinus mucus drainage. It also carries ananalgesic action, that is it has been found to ease pain, particularly pain associated with coughs and sore throats (de Souza et al., 1998).
This beautiful sunflower relative produces pungent, balsamy roots, which were traditionally used to soothe bronchial spasms, infections, and to move and clear congestion.Just like horehound and thyme, this herb hasexpectorant propertiesthat thin and move mucus, making the mucus easier to eliminate. Therefore, elecampane is helpful for making coughs more productive and hence reducing congestion.In addition to being an excellent expectorant, it alsosoothes the tissue irritation and inflammationthat results from coughing (Hoffmann, 2003).
Thanks toaromatic properties, elecampane root encourages movement in the respiratory tract, stimulating a better overall function and vitality. (Chevalier, 1996).
This pungent and sweet rhizome is great for adding warmth and a familiar flavor to this homemade cough syrup.
Ginger is quite the superstar when it comes to cough, cold, and flu support. Its antimicrobial properties, combined with the ability to thin mucus and support expectoration, along with its warming energetics make ginger an effective ally in working with colds and flu. Ginger’s volatile oils stimulate the immune system to fight bacterial and viral infections (McIntyre, 1996) and are so effective that it can abort the onset of upper respiratory infections (Holmes, 1997).
An herbal syrup is prepared by combining a concentrateddecoctionand/orinfusionwith honey. The honey works well for any kind of cough and increases the shelf life of the decoction. In addition, it can help increase the palatability of some herbs—
Children especially find syrups to be delicious!
2 tablespoons elecampane (Inula helenium)root, dried or fresh1 tablespoon ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome, dried or fresh2 tablespoons horehound (Marrubium vulgare)leaf, dried or fresh2 tablespoons thyme (Thymus vulgaris) leaf, dried or fresh1 quart of water1 cup raw, local honey