In a couple of weeks I will be traveling home to see my family after over a year of separation, yay! In preparation for traveling I am stocking up on all the necessary herbal remedies both for myself and for my partner who will be home alone for 6 weeks while I am in California.
Our herbal home apothacary is usually full of teas, tinctures and salves but definatley needed to be reorganized. And in reorganizing I noticed that remedies for coughs, colds & other cold-weather ailments were lacking. Later on in this post I will share my recipe for throat & lung issues but first I wanted to talk about one of our favorite herbal allies, Mullein.
Mullein grows abundantly in sunny fields in many dry climates all over the world. Here we have it growing in the garden and wild alongside the fruit trees (here in Argentina). The picture above was taken a few years ago on a farm in a temparate part of Ecuador and bellow is a photo of young mullein planta growing near my parent’s home in California.
Primarily mullein is used internaly as lung medicine either in teas, tinctures or simple syrup. Overall mullein is an extremely safe herb apt for sensitive people, children, and the elderly. There is one very important thing to remember when preparing a remedy with mullein though : always strain the liquid before ingesting. Mullein leaves have tiny little hairs that can irritate the throat when consumed. They are definatley not dangerous but it is best to filter the tea or tincture though a cloth before serving.
This added step makes mullein tea a little bit laborious. For that reason I tend to consume mullein in tinctures or simple syrups which only needs to be prepared and stained once, then can be stored in a dark cupboard and used as needed.
Homemade lung & throat syrup::
For this recipe I used the herbs I have on hand which are mullein & loquat leaves from our garden and ginger root which I bought at the store. There are so many combinations one could use it susbstitute including elderberry, lemon, cinnamon and more!
I chopped up all the ingredients and added one liter of spring water (filtered water or well water would work also). Then boil the water & herbs with the lid off for about 30 minutes so that some of the water evaporates – this is known as a decoction.
After having boiled for a half hour, turn off the heat and the and let the decoction cool a bit before filtering the liquid through a cloth. Then, return the filtered tea to the pot and compost the plant material.
Now you have your filtered herbal decoction, go ahead and bring it back to a boil. Now the recipe will diverge here depending on what sweetener you use. If you are going to use brown sugar (or some other kind of sugar) you can add the sugar to the boiling tea and let it all boil for another 15 minutes. If you are going to use honey, turn the burner off and add the honey to the mixture when it is still hot but not boiling. Mix well then let the mixture cool before bottling.
And yay, your simple throat & lung syrup is done! Store the bottle in a dark and cool place, or the fridge, and drink a tablespoon (or add to tea) whenever your throat is feeling dry or your lungs feeling irritated or week. In preparation for trave I will be taken this remedy daily for the next couple of weeks.
In the coming weeks I am going to be sharing more herbal home remedies – the herbs and recipes I use for myself and my family on a daily & weekly basis. After experiencing adverse reactions to modern “medicine” in 2015 I began exploring the world of natural medicine my life and health have changed drastically for the better. In these times of so much fear mongering & uncertainty, we need confident and calm voices to speak up about the plant medicine our planet provides. Much love and many blessings to you, no matter what you decide for your health & wellness.