I recently had a cold. The last time I had one, I hadn’t discovered my intolerance yet and so it was a bit of a shock to realize that the medicines that I used to rely on to help with symptoms had oils or oil derivatives in them.
Cough drops. I actually ate a cough drop before I thought to read the label. I was too sick to notice if my oil symptoms kicked in afterwords. But right there on the label was listed Vegetable stearine, and having just written a blog about being sure to research ingredients before assuming that they are safe I decided to look it up.
Wickipidia says stearine “is a triglyceride derived from three units of stearic acid.” Stearic acid occurs in many animal and vegetable fats and oils. Which probably means most vegetable stearine comes from vegetable fats.
After that happened I decided to check my store brand of cough syrup. After reading and researching the ingredients I decided that it was probably not safe either. The questionable ingredients were the food colorings. Specifically blue 1 “derived from coal tar, although most manufacturers now make it from an oil base”. I have found that I do get sick when I have used petroleum jelly on my lips. It also contained polyethyline glycol in it, which is a derivative of ethylene oxide, not going to upset my allergy but it is known to be a very hazardous to human health so I’d rather not consume that either.
After a long think about it I decided I would go without cough drops and make my own cough syrup with herbs I know are okay for me.
After some research I found that the most commonly recommended herbs for a sore throat are slippery elm and clove. Most cough medicine has a lot of sugar in it. Apparently sugar interferes with healing so I left it out. I added ginger because my tummy was upset from all the snot. Here is what I came up with:
Homemade Cough Syrup
It looks like applesauce and is a little bland but it works like a charm. All in all it takes ten to fifteen minutes to make and can be used immediately. I liked the flavor better warm than cold but it could be kept in the fridge. I wouldn’t keep it for more than a few days. Four tops.
One half cup filtered water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon shredded fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered slipper elm
Heat a small heavy bottomed pot with water, shredded ginger, and cloves until simmering. When fragrant sieve the liquid out into a small wide mouth jar and stir in the slippery elm powder. You can simmer it for longer to create a more potent brew. I recommend not simmering for more than ten minutes however because your water will disappear.