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DIY: Cough Syrup

I have been writing this throughout the day, and it has been a wild and windy wintry one.  The lights have flickered on and off and our internet access has been out most of the day.  While out in the yurt, the wind was so fierce in the Poplar trees that I can think of no other way to describe than it was a loud roar.  The rain in the greenhouse is deafening and the near inch of rainfall is trying to find its way to the creek, but for now, hanging out in giant mud puddles.  The ground is gurgling as I walk around.  Thank goodness for my new muck boots!

With all the holiday travel and people to greet and the stress and sugar that this time of year brings, you might find yourself coming down with something.  I like to have plenty of this cough syrup on hand to help out if needed.  It contains lots of Ginger-one of my favorite herbs, warming and good for getting things moving-especially the immune system, as well as our dear friend Elderberry-a highly respected anti-viral and plenty of raw honey for it’s anti-microbial and respiratory system support.  It is fairly simple to make and enough for your whole family, good for kids too!

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup dried black elderberries (sambucus nigra)
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 lb ginger root-about one big root cluster
  • 1.5 oz brandy, vodka or tincture of your choice - echinacea or elderberry are great, or raw apple cider vinegar.


Pour boiling water over dried elderberries in a small bowl and cover-set aside for at least one hour.

Measure honey in a pyrex measuring cup or glass jar and place jar into a bowl full of boiling water to warm it.  Set aside until warm.  You can also do this in a double boiler over very low heat.  Heat just until warm & pourable-it is important to not overheat or you will destroy the enzymes that make honey so magical.

Grate or juice ginger root over another bowl.  If grating, grate onto a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze out all the juice you can from the root into the bowl.  If juicing, let it settle and pour off the top juice without the sediment.  You should have about an ounce of juice.

Strain off the liquid from the elderberries into the bowl with the ginger juice. You can use the cheesecloth you used for the ginger root or a fine sieve.  You can add the elderberries to your morning oatmeal or pancakes, or feed them to your chickens.

Add warm honey and stir until all is mixed well.  Add alcohol or vinegar and mix again.

Store in a dark glass bottle in the fridge.  Will keep for up to 2 or 3 months.  Take 1 tsp every 2 hours as needed, children 1/2 a tsp.

Speaking of colds and flus and staying warm, I think I will go enjoy our sauna-truly a gift to our health and a great way to balance the damp, cold winters of the pacific Northwest.  It is good to warm those bones and breathe that cedar aroma into the lungs!

Until then, love and glimpses of sunshine to you!