This winter I decided to try my hand at making horehound cough drops. I had never made them before, but after reading through many different recipes I realized they weren’t as difficult to make as I would have imagined.
To make an herbal cough drop, you basically need a very strong herbal infusion and either sugar or honey. These 2 ingredients boiled together for a very long time will produce a hard, candy-like cough drop.
I used horehound for my herb of choice simply because of its historical use as a cough suppressant and expectorant. I added a few drops of lemon essential oil to help tame some of the bitter flavor, but horehound’s distinct flavor is something you really have to grow accustomed to.
If horehound is not your cup of tea, feel free to substitute your own herbal favorites. I am personally planning on making some with echinacea and elderberries. These wouldn’t necessarily have the same cough suppressing and expectorant properties, but they would be soothing to the throat and provide anti-viral properties.
Horehound Cough Drops
2 cups (approximately 3 oz.) dried horehound
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups honey
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
optional: lemon essential oil
Add the dried horehound and water to a small sauce pan.
Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes.
Strain decoction (tea).
Measure out 1 cup of the horehound tea.
Add the 1 cup of horehound tea, along with the honey and cream of tartar, to the sauce pan.
Boil on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the temperature of the mixture reaches 300 degrees fahrenheit (hard crack stage). Be careful to not let it boil over.
This process is a lesson in patience.
Once the mixture is at the correct temperature, stir in about 30 drops of lemon essential oil.
Have a greased cookie sheet ready.
Pour mixture onto a greased cookie sheet.
Begin pulling off pieces of the mixture and rolling them into little balls. The mixture should be the consistency of taffy.
The cough drops harden fairly quickly, so it is nice to have several hands to help with the rolling.
Once the cough drops were hard and dry, I wrapped them individually in pieces of waxed paper. We live in a high humidity climate, so the paper is a bit hard to get off of them but it works.
This will definitely be a project I try again in hopes of perfecting! In the meantime, my husband and brother have both been thankful for the coughing relief they received from these horehound cough drops!