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Simple Recipes for Children's Cough, Cold and Flu Syrups

Children's cough syrups are easy to make and much safer and more effective than over-the-counter cough and cold remedies that were just removed from store shelves. Coughs in children are quite common. Sometimes they are caused by colds and flu, other times; allergies and sinus congestion. A cough that lingers for days or weeks, or becomes severe, should be checked by your child's health care provider to rule out other illnesses.

Why use honey in cough syrups?

Honey has been used intuitively for hundreds of years as a wonderful natural antibiotic by many different cultures. Today, research undertaken by Dr. Shona Blair at Sydney University's School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, has now shown the unusual antibacterial activity of honey, leading to a greater understanding of the ability of honey to kill pathogenic bacteria through several different mechanisms. In studies, honey was effective against many different drug resistant bacteria.

In one scientific test, Dr. Shona Blair used honey to treat E. coli. Dr. Shona Blair saw that honey "attacks" bacteria from several different angles; that the bacteria were overwhelmed and unable to develop resistance, and the bacteria died. In today's world where many antibiotics have become ineffective, honey was able to kill not only the E. coli, but many other types of bacteria.

Honey not only possesses significant antibacterial activity, it has also been shown to actively promote healing by directly stimulating human cells that are important in the immune response to help disease and wounds healing.

Note:

*Don't use honey for children under two years of age - there is a microorganism in honey, which is otherwise harmless for children age two and older, that can sometimes make infants ill because of their young digestive system. Alternatives include brown rice syrup, barley, and organic fruit syrups; as substitutions in the recipes use the same amount as honey.

*For longer preservation of cough syrups, you can add 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin to each recipe when not already listed as an ingredient in the recipe. Vegetable glycerin is a thick, clear, sweet substance derived from coconut and palm oils and olive oil. It has long been used as a lubricant and preservative. It is sweet tasting but does not affect blood sugar. American herbalist, Edward E. Shook, N.D., preferred vegetable glycerin instead of alcohol for most of his herbal medicines due to its natural preservative powers.

Honey Lemon Cough Syrup

Lemon helps promote health by quickly alkalinizing the body and honey will kill any bacteria. This is a perfect choice for a quick cough remedy.

Put a pint of honey in a pan on the stove on low heat (Do not boil honey as this changes its medicinal properties) .

Take a whole lemon and boil in some water in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes to both soften the lemon and kill any bacteria that may be on the lemon skin. Let the lemon cool enough to handle then cut it in slices and add it to the pint of honey on the stove. Let mixture cook on warm heat for about an hour. Then strain the lemon from the honey making sure all lemon seeds are removed. Let cool, then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator.

To soothe a cough, take 1Ž2 teaspoon for a 25 lb. child and 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb. child, about 4 times a day or as often as needed. Adults can take 1 tablespoon doses.

Anise Seed Cough Syrup

Anise has been a traditional treatment for coughs, bronchitis and asthma and is now supported by science. The herb contains creosol and alpha-pinene that loosen bronchial secretions and make them easier to cough up. Gently crush 1 tablespoon of anise seed, cover with 1 1Ž2 cups of boiling water. Steep for 30 minutes then strain and simmer remaining liquid down to 1 cup then add 2 cups of honey. Let cool then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator.

To soothe a cough, take 1Ž2 teaspoon for a 25 lb. child and 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb. child, about 4 times a day

Horehound Cough Syrup

Horehound has been used for generations as a cure for children's cough, cold and croup. It has expectorant properties that loosen phlegm from the chest. One of horehound's compounds, marrubiin, stimulates bronchial secretions and helps break up congestion

Make an old-time cough remedy by mixing horehound tea with honey. Make a tea by steeping 1 ounce of dried horehound leaves in a pint of boiling water. Allow it to steep only 10 minutes. Strain off the leaves, then measure the quantity of the liquid remaining. Add twice as much honey as liquid, mix well, cool, bottle and refrigerate. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator.

To soothe a cough, take 1Ž2 teaspoon for a 25 lb. child and 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb. child, about 4 times a day.

Taken from: Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs

Sinus Congestion and Headache Syrup (Also excellent for fevers and cough)

Steep 1 tablespoon of feverfew, 1Ž2 lemon cut up, 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds, 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves in 1 1Ž2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Strain the herbs from the liquid making sure you remove all lemon seeds. Simmer remaining liquid down to 1 cup of water then add 2 cups of honey plus 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin. Let cool then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator.

Give 1 teaspoon every 4 hours for a 50 lbs. child, 2 teaspoons for a 75 lb child and 1 tablespoon for a 100 lb. child or adult.

Combination Cough Syrup

Add 1 teaspoon each of licorice root, horehound, mullein leaves, thyme leaves, rose hips, marshmallow root and lemon balm leaves to 1 1Ž2 cups of water. Bring herbs and water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out herbs. Return liquid to heat and bring to a simmer to reduce liquid to 1 cup. While still warm add 1 cup honey, brown rice syrup or organic fruit syrup and 1Ž4 cup vegetable glycerin. Let cool, then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator.

Give 1 teaspoon every 4 hours for a 50 lbs. child, 2 teaspoons for a 75 lb child and 1 tablespoon for a 100 lb. child or adult.

Combination Dry Cough Syrup

When children have dry coughs, they need to be treated with moistening herbs with antiviral/antibacterial protection.

1 tablespoon each of cherry bark, thyme, mullein, pleurisy root and oregon grape root added to 1 quart of water.

Bring herbs and water to a boil in a saucepan. Turn heat down to warm, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out herbs. Return liquid to heat and bring to a simmer to reduce liquid to 1 pint. While still warm add 2 pints of honey. Once cool - bottle, cap, and refrigerate. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator.

Give 1 teaspoon every 4 hours for a 50 lbs. child, 2 teaspoons for a 75 lb child and 1 tablespoon for a 100 lb. child or adult.

Combination Wet Cough Syrup

This cough syrup will gently encourage coughing to clear the lungs of mucus while providing antiviral/antibacterial properties to fight infection.

1 tablespoon each of astragalus, horehound, mullein, garden sage and oregon grape root added to 1 quart of water.

Bring herbs and water to a boil in a saucepan. Turn heat down to warm, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain out herbs. Return liquid to heat and bring to a simmer to reduce liquid to 1 pint. While still warm add 2 pints of honey. Once cool - bottle, cap, and refrigerate. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator.

Give 1 teaspoon every 4 hours for a 50 lbs. child, 2 teaspoons for a 75 lb child and 1 tablespoon for a 100 lb. child or adult.

Give your child lots of fluids in the form of water or teas to help them expel mucus; also, to prevent dehydration from fever.

Antiviral Syrup

Mild tasting antiviral herbs for children include astragalus, hyssop, lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemongrass and ginger root.

Take 1 tablespoon each of astragalus, hyssop, lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemongrass plus 1 teaspoon of ginger and add to 1 quart of boiling water. Turn down heat to warm and cover with lid. Let steep for 30 minutes then strain herbs from liquid. Simmer remaining liquid down to 1 pint then add 1 pint of honey and 1Ž4 cup of vegetable glycerin. Once cooled - bottle, cap, and refrigerate. This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator

The whole family can use this formula for the prevention of viruses or when down with colds and the flu.

Give 1 teaspoon every 4 hours for a 50 lbs. child, 2 teaspoons for a 75 lb child and 1 tablespoon for a 100 lb. child or adult.

Hyssop Tea

For cough or flu, steep two teaspoons of dried hyssop in one cup of boiling water, covered for ten minutes; strain and drink cool for an expectorant or hot to relieve congestion. Hyssop contains marrubiin, the same compound that makes horehound an excellent expectorant. Hyssop and horehound tea can usually be found in grocery or health food stores.

Lemon Balm Tea

For cough or flu, add two teaspoons of dried lemon balm leaves to one cup of boiling water, cover, and remove from heat. Steep for ten minutes then strain herb. Lemon Balm tea can be taken as often as needed.

Licorice Root Tea

Make a tea by putting 1Ž2 teaspoon of licorice root tea in a cup of hot water and steep for 10 minutes; strain. Drink three cups daily to relieve cough, congestion and asthma symptoms. Licorice has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, and is an expectorant. Licorice root tea can usually be found in grocery or health food stores.

Whooping Cough Tea

1 tablespoon white horehound, 1 tablespoon mullein, 1 tablespoon thyme leaves. Mix all dried ingredients together and store in a jar with a lid. Put 1-2 teaspoons into 1 cup of boiling water. Remove from burner and steep 10 minutes.

Garden thyme has long been considered an effective treatment for whooping cough.

For a 25 lb. child 1Ž2 cup and a 50 lb. child 1 cup, 3 to 4 times a day.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your health- care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Honey resource: Dr. Shona Blair, at Sydney University's School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences

About the author
Leslee Dru Browning is a 6th generation Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist from the ancestral line of Patty Bartlett Sessions; Pioneer Mid-Wife & Herbalist. Leslee practiced Medical Herbalism and Nutritional Healing for over 25 years and specialized in Cancer Wellness along with Chronic Illness. She now devotes her career to teaching people, through her writing, about Natural Healing from An Herbal Perspective.

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