Here is how to make a basic cough syrup from Marshmallow root and Mullein flower although you could just as easily use the leaves of either plant here instead.
This tasty syrup will be best suited for use in helping dry, tight, sore, stuck coughs and it can also be used to ease a sore throat.
Marshmallow root from Althea officinalis is highly mucilaginous, this is due to the high amount of polysaccharides it contains. Mucilaginous herbs are very soothing and calming to the mucous membranes. There are also flavanoids which are anti-inflammatory and thus help the healing process.
Verbascum thapsus or greater Mullein is very well known for it’s action on the respiratory system, here I used the flowers which work just as well for coughs as the more commonly used leaves and I also made some infused oil from the flowers to use for earache and to turn into a chest rub.
Verbascum flowers or leaves can also be used alone in a tea or tincture for ‘chesty’ coughs also dry and wheezy coughs – the key being congestion.
I have used honey to make this syrup, for those of you who do not wish to take sugar in any form, I suggest a tea or tincture instead, you can use the same herbs either as a single ingredient or combined.
Soaking Marshmallow root overnight in cold water is the most effective method of extracting the mucilage, in the morning you will have a very gloopy liquid ready for use in your syrup.
For syrup I use a heaped dessert spoon to 250ml of spring water and allow it to infuse overnight.
This makes 1Litre of Syrup:
500ml Spring water
one dessert spoon chopped marshmallow root
one dessert spoon dried Mullein flowers or leaves
500-750g of runny honey – as good quality as possible.
Add your marshmallow root to 250ml spring water, in a lidded jar and soak overnight.
Next morning bring 250ml water to the boil and add your Mullein flowers- take off the heat, cover and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.
Strain your Marshmallow root and pour into a large saucepan.
Strain your Mullein flowers and add resulting liquid to the Marshmallow in the pan.
You should have 500ml of herb infusion now combined in the pan.
Put the cooker on low and begin to warm the infusion, add your honey.
If you do not like the syrup to be too sweet add equal parts honey to liquid – so 500g.
I add an extra half ratio as it preserves the syrup a little longer so in this case 750g of honey
Remember mould grows in water based preparations, this syrup should be kept in the fridge and used up within a few months, it will last longer if you add the extra honey.
Leave the syrup on a low heat, stirring often. Be careful not to boil the syrup as you may end up with toffee!
After a few hours the syrup will have thickened up nicely, turn off the heat and allow to cool before pouring into amber glass bottles.
Label and date and store in the fridge. Use a teaspoon at a time for coughs, up to 4/5 x daily for an adult. Half dose for children.
You can take it directly off the spoon or add to some warm water.