No one likes feeling under the weather. While it’s fun at first to be able to take the day off work, snuggle under a blanket and let others take care of you, it quickly grows tiresome when you realize that you can’t really enjoy your free time seeing as you’ll lack the energy and good mood to actually want to do anything. It’s hard to sleep, you’re in pain and in general, it’s just not a fun time.
And then there’s the cough. The cough which will very often continue long after your actual cold has gone away, leaving you waking in the night spluttering and irritating everyone around you.
So, what do you do? One option is to take an over-the-counter cough remedy. But did you know that at least one recent study has shown that homemade honey cough drops are more effective at stopping children from coughing during the night?
In this study, children given a dose of honey before bed would actually sleep better than those given honey-flavored dextromethorphan. Not only that, but of course DIY cough drops are more readily available (because you can use things from around your home) and they are much cheaper.
So why spend money on expensive cough treatments when you can just use things that you already have to hand? Read on to find out how you can make your own DIY cough drops using honey.
Some Tips and Preparation
The honey that was used in the aforementioned study was buckwheat honey. Chances are that any kind of honey will work, but if you want to be scientific and stick with what has been proven effective, then you might do best to go for buckwheat.
Before we get started though, you might want to consider investing in a candy thermometer. This is useful because it’s very easy to scorch buckwheat honey and by using this, you can ensure that you aren’t going to make it too hot. Another thing that can help is to use some kind of mold. A hexagon mold will be nice and ‘on theme’, or maybe you could make some star shaped honey cough drops. This will help to encourage kids to take them – though the sweet taste will help with that too!
Our mixture is also going to contain some additional bonuses. Ginger cough drops are good for example because they reduce inflammation. This is ideal for helping to soothe an angry and enflamed throat.
Likewise, adding lemon is great because it is antibacterial and can help to kill of the germs that are causing the cold. The vitamin C that you get from lemon is also a great advantage, as is the fact that lemon can be very refreshing to help put a spring back in your step when you’re feeling low and under the weather. Feel free to add other ingredients if you have ideas of your own!
- Half a cup of raw buckwheat honey
- 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 Teaspoon of grated ginger root
- ¼ cup powdered cane sugar for dusting (helps if you’re making it for children)
To get started on making homemade cough drops, first you need to measure out the honey, the lemon juice and the grated ginger into a sauce pan. Now you’re going to need to stay on hand in order to keep on stirring the mixture while bringing it up carefully to 300 degrees. You’ll be able to tell when it starts to boil as the mixture will become foamy and start climbing up the pot. When this happens, remove the pan from the heat and keep on stirring it until the foam dissipates. Remember, it’s very easy to scorch your honey during this process so do be careful to heat it up slowly and not to apply too much heat, too quickly.
You’ll need to use your intuition a little but you should be able to tell when it’s ready to come off the heat.
Once you’ve reduced the foam, you can now drop some of it into a glass of ice water. Doing this will cause the honey to form into a hard ball like a candy. The reason that you’re doing this is so that you can test the consistency and the flavor. If it’s still too chewy, then place the pan back on the heat and continue to gently heat it up while stirring it.
Of course, it’s up to you if you would rather your honey cough drops were chewy! But hard will last for longer and be easier to suck and this is more conventional for a cough drop.
When the cough drop mixture is ready and you’re happy with the consistency of your tester, let it gradually cool off and then drizzle the mixture into the mold. It should go in nice and smooth.
Now just place the mold somewhere cool – but not the freezer. Ideally a cupboard or somewhere else shady will do the trick, don’t be impatient!
Once the natural cough drops are completely cool, you should be able to pop them out of the mold relatively easily. They’ll be a little sticky which isn’t that nice, so a good idea is to apply a little powdered sugar. This will give them a more professional dusted finish, it will add to the flavor and it will make them more pleasant to hold.
You can also give the DIY cough drops a little added immunity boost by mixing in some powdered vitamin C. Another great way to trick your kids into doing things that are healthy for them!
These natural cough drops taste great, they’re really good for you and they’re fun to make. If you are making them for kids, then let them join in with the creation process and they’ll no doubt get even more enjoyment out of the whole process and hopefully be excited to try them out! Everyone will love these homemade cough drops.
Note: Babies one year and younger should not eat honey as it can cause infant botulism. The hard candies are also not suitable for very young infants.