Cough drops are a well-known remedy to ease coughs associated with the flu, colds, or allergies. Though you can buy commercial versions, you can also make your own cough drops at home. Here's how to make herbal cough drops:
Ingredients and supplies:
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 herbal tea bag or loose herbs
Food coloring (optional)
Greased cookie sheet or candy molds
Wax paper or plastic wrap
1. Flavor the water. First, bring the water to boiling. Turn the burner off, and then add an herbal teabag or 2-3 teaspoons of loose herbs. Allow to sit until the water is cool. Because these cough drops contain no artificial flavoring, be sure you choose the right herbs for this process; they will affect the taste of the finished cough drop. Common herbs for this process include thyme, slippery elm, comfrey leaf, hyssop, and Korean licorice mint. Lemon thyme or lemon verbena can also add a delicious lemony taste to the drops. You can also use a premade herbal tea bag, which contains a variety of herbs.
2. Cook the sugar. Add the sugar and corn syrup to the flavored water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Continue to cook without stirring until it begins to crystallize. Be aware that the sugar is very hot at this stage.
3. Finish cooking the cough drops. Reduce heat to low, and wash the crystals from the side of the pan using a damp cloth. After a few minutes, remove the pan from the heat. Add food coloring, if desired, to give the cough drops an appetizing appearance.
4. Form the cough drops. Onto a greased surface or hard candy mold, drop some of the cough drop mixture from the end of a spoon. A metal spoon usually works best for this process.
5. Package the cough drops. Allow the drops to cool completely before you attempt to remove them. Roll the hardened cough drops in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together. Then, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper to store. If you do not store them individually, they can still be used, but you'll need to break them into bite-size pieces first.
Cough drops are a convenient way to stop one of the most common signs of a cold, especially when you are on the go or can't wait for cough syrup or other cold medications to start working. The process for making cough drops is essentially the same as for making hard candy, and it is an excellent way to begin using homemade herbal products in your daily routine.