As fall makes its yearly presence, colder weather is on the horizon, bringing increased chances of finding yourself needing the sweet relief of a cough drop. A frequent companion of the cold season is the dreaded sore throat. The reasons for a sore throat are varied: it could be the dry indoor heat, an early sign of a cold or flu, overstraining of vocal cords, or even allergens present in the atmosphere. While it’s essential to understand the root cause and address it, soothing the pain and discomfort becomes equally vital.
With the pharmacy checkout counters full of a variety of sugared-up throat lozenges with dubious colourants. When I have a sore throat, all I want is a simple, homemade and nutritious option to remedy my pain. So, a while back, I decided to skip the commercial brands and went directly to Google to learn more. There, I quickly found all kinds of great homemade cough drop recipes. Many use lots of refined sugar and corn syrup, but when I stumbled upon a delicious ginger honey version from the recipe blog Tasty Ever After, I was inspired to make my own Sea Buckthorn lozenges. Combining the great benefits of turmeric, ginger, and honey with sea buckthorn juice, this homemade cough drop recipe might become your Go-To sore throat remedy.
Turmeric, ginger, and honey have long histories of use in traditional medicine for their therapeutic properties, and they have been used as remedies for various ailments, including sore throats.
Here’s why these ingredients are considered beneficial remedies for a sore throat:
Turmeric (Curcuma longa):
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Curcumin, the primary active compound in turmeric, has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is a critical component of a sore throat; by reducing inflammation, turmeric can help alleviate the pain and discomfort.
- Antimicrobial properties: Turmeric also has natural antimicrobial properties, which can help fight off bacterial and viral infections that might be causing or aggravating the sore throat.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale):
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Ginger contains compounds like gingerol with anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. These can help reduce the inflammation and pain associated with a sore throat.
- Antimicrobial properties: Ginger can also act against certain bacteria and viruses, potentially helping to treat or prevent infections that cause sore throats.
- Warming effect: Traditional medicine systems believe ginger’s warming effect can help clear mucus and soothe a sore throat.
- Soothing effect: Honey’s thick consistency can coat the throat, causing mild irritation and reducing cough.
- Antibacterial properties: Honey has natural antibacterial properties. Certain types of honey, like Manuka honey, are effective against bacteria that can cause sore throats.
- Antioxidant properties: Honey is rich in antioxidants, which can help repair tissue damage and reduce inflammation.
- Hydration: A sore throat can sometimes be caused or exacerbated by dryness. Honey can help retain moisture in the throat and prevent dryness.
Sea Buckthorn Juice: Sea buckthorn is rich in vitamins C and E and other beneficial nutrients which can help soothe a sore throat and boost your immune system. Sea buckthorn has gained attention in modern times for its potential health benefits, especially as an ingredient in throat lozenges. Here’s why sea buckthorn juice is considered a beneficial ingredient for remedying a sore throat:
Rich in Vitamins and Antioxidants: Sea buckthorn berries contain vitamins, especially Vitamin C, and other antioxidants. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in immune function and can help the body fight off infections that might lead to a sore throat.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties: Sea buckthorn oil, another derivative of the plant, has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory effects. While the juice may not be as potent as the oil, it can still help reduce inflammation in the throat, alleviating soreness.
- Moisturizing Qualities: The mucilage in sea buckthorn juice can coat and soothe the throat, reducing dryness and irritation. This makes it a particularly helpful ingredient for those experiencing a dry, scratchy throat.
- Natural Antimicrobial Properties: Preliminary studies have indicated that sea buckthorn has antimicrobial properties that can help fight certain bacteria and viruses. While it’s not a substitute for medicine, it can offer some protection against throat infections.
- Supports Mucous Membranes: Sea buckthorn oil is known to be beneficial for mucous membranes, and the juice can offer some of these benefits, helping to maintain the health of the throat lining.
- Boosts Immune Function: The combination of vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds in sea buckthorn can support overall immune function, potentially reducing the severity and duration of cold or flu symptoms.
A recipe for a comforting sore throat remedy.
Homemade cough drops are made from nature’s very own therapeutic ingredients -they provide relief and act as a preventive measure by straightening your body’s resistance. So, as you wrap yourself in warm scarves and sip on pumpkin-spiced lattes, arm yourself with these homemade lozenges and ensure that your throat remains as clear and melodious as autumn’s rustling leaves.
Here’s a simple recipe for sea buckthorn, ginger & turmeric cough drops.
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons sea buckthorn juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (remove the fibrous parts and keep the finer pulp and juice)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
A mixture of cornstarch & cinnamon for dusting
1. Combine sea buckthorn juice, honey, ginger, and turmeric in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine.
2. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture reaches 300°F (149°C) on a candy thermometer. All the moisture should be cooked out. This is known as the hard-crack stage in candy making, which ensures that your cough drops will solidify and not remain sticky. It is essential not to overcook your mixture. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test by dropping a small amount into a glass of cold water. If it hardens instantly, it’s ready.
4. While your mixture is cooking, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and dusting it with the cinnamon and cornstarch mixture. This will prevent your cough drops from sticking.
5. Once your mixture has reached the hard-crack stage, remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool for a moment until it stops bubbling.
6. Then, carefully drop small rounds of the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet using a teaspoon or dropper. They should be about the size of a store-bought cough drop. You can also use a candy mould for this step.
7. Allow the drops to cool completely. This will take 2-3 hours but could be sped up in the refrigerator.
8. Once cooled, dust them with more cinnamon and cornstarch to prevent them from sticking together.
9. Store your sea buckthorn cough drops in an opaque, airtight container.
They should be kept for about a month, but if you notice any changes in colour, smell, or texture, discard them.
Please remember these cough drops can soothe a sore throat but are not a cure for a more severe condition. If your symptoms persist, please consult with a healthcare provider.