the family medicine chest is an ongoing series on the fourth thursday of each month.
a few months ago, i discussed making herbal cough drops. another step up on the ladder of herbal medicine making is making herbal lozenges and pills.
both are made roughly the same way but pills are smaller and meant to be swallowed while lozenges will be sucked on.
sometimes, using herbal pills and lozenges can be a lifesaver getting kids to take their medicine. the pills can be chewed or swallowed whole and the sweetness of the honey and slippery elm make them appealing to kids when teas and tinctures fail.
to make lozenges and pills, start with the powdered herb of choice. here is a list of herbs great for treating sore throats:
-wild cherry bark
-echinacea, roots, leaves, flowers and/or seeds (any combination of)
-pine needles or inner bark
-horehound (use sparingly as it is very bitter)
-dandelion flowers or roots
-yellow dock root
-plantain leaves or roots
-peach twig or leaves
slippery elm is a great herb for treating sore throats as well as makes a great binding agent and also a sweet coating agent.
start with the sore throat herbs of choice. i hesitate in adding a recipe to this as i don’t want to limit your ideas on what can and should be used. please use this recipe as an example only and use the herbs that speak to you most.
herbal lozenge mix
3 tbsp powdered slippery elm bark
3 tbsp powdered licorice root
1 tbsp powdered echinacea root and leaf
1 tsp powdered wild cherry bark
mix the powders together and then add enough honey to make a thick, gooey mass. it takes less honey than you’d think so start out slowly with the honey. next add essential oils such as thyme, orange or rosemary, about 5-10 drops. when using essential oils always make sure they are safe for internal consumption as some can be quite strong.
roll the mass in more powdered slippery elm to coat and then roll out until about 1/4″ thick. cut the dough into quarter sized pieces, roll them into a ball and place on a cookie sheet, flattening them. as you are doing this, dip them in more slippery elm if needed.
set out to dry for about 12 hours. store in an airtight jar.
pills are made the same way but can be made for a myriad of uses. one example would be to make pills for headaches using herbs such as skullcap, valerian, wood betony, chamomile and lemon balm. a mixture of these herbs works well. again, add enough honey to make a gooey mass, roll the ball of dough in slippery elm and start pinching off pea sized pieces. roll them into balls, flatten if desired and place on a cookie sheet. air dry and store in a glass bottle.
another example would be to make immune inhancer pills using echinacea roots, leaves, flowers and seeds, astragalus and spilanthes. mix equal parts of the powdered herb, add the honey and pinch into pea sized pills. take 3-4 every hour when you start feeling under the weather.
both can be dried in a warm oven or a dehydrator as well. during the summer, it can be hard to get them to air dry because of the humidity.