The cold and flu season is looming upon us and the more prepared we can be the better. It’s also a time to be prepared with sore throat remedies.
In today’s HerbMentor newsletter we’ll explore making herbal pastilles for sore throats. These can be an important part of your herbal remedies for the cold and flu season. Not only are they effective at relieving sore throats, they are also quite tasty.
Pastilles can be made simply by combining powdered herbs with a liquid to form a type of dough. They can be made in advance or made when needed.
I really like using herb powders as part of my herbal creations – in this way we are consuming the whole herb and not just extracting certain parts of the herb with water, alcohol or even vinegar.
Powdered herbs will lose their potency faster than herbs stored in their whole form. Because of this I like to powder my herbs as needed or if I am ordering powdered herbs I order in small amounts so that I can use them quickly.
Leaves and petals in their whole form can easily be powdered. One way to do this is to put them through a food processor. For small amounts of herbs a coffee grinder, reserved only for herbs, is a convenient way to do this.
I like to use a suribachi (available at here) to powder my herbs by hand. I really prefer this style of suribachi to marble mortar and pestles because the grooves aid the powdering process.
Roots can be significantly harder to powder and so I typically buy these already powdered.
Before getting started on the recipe let’s take a look at sore throats and why we are using these particular herbs for sore throat remedies.
When throats are sore due to symptoms of a cold or flu they are usually red, hot, scratchy and swollen and downright uncomfortable. To help relieve the discomfort we can use cooling, demulcent and astringent herbs.
Cooling herbs bring relief to a hot and red throat. Demulcent herbs can soothe a dry irritated throat and astringent herbs can tighten and tone swollen tissues in the throat.
By understanding the state of the tissues involved and by understanding how to match those with herbs we can be more effective at matching herbs and people. For more information about these approaches see the Herbal Energetics Course with herbalist Kiva Rose featured at the top of this page.
Before getting started let’s take a closer look at our ingredients for this sore throat remedy; rose, sage, marshmallow and honey.
Rose Petals (Rosa spp.)
Cooling and astringent, rose can reduce inflammation and relieve pain. All parts of the rose are astringent and can be used in a variety of ways. Using the petals in medicine adds a sense of luxuriousness.
Sage leaves (Salvia officinalis)
Most of us use culinary sage once or twice a year when making stuffing to accompany the turkey, but sage offers us many healing attributes. It is antimicrobial and astringent, meaning that it can disable pathogens on contact and also tightens and tones tissues. It has a long history of use for mouth ulcerations and sore throats.
Marshmallow (Althea officinalis)
This demulcent herb can boost our immune system, relieve a dry cough and soothe and coat a sore irritated throat. Common mallow (Malva neglecta) can be used similarly and it probably grows somewhere near you. Marshmallow alone is one of the best sore throat remedies.
Honey is wonderfully soothing for sore throats and it is also antimicrobial. I like to use raw local honey. Bee keepers are springing up all over the US making this a fairly easy product to find.
Today’s recipe is a favorite in our house. I first learned of it years ago from herbalist Kiva Rose.
Sore throat pastilles
For this recipe you’ll need…
- 1 tablespoon powdered rose petals
- 1/2 tablespoon powdered sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons of marshmallow root
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of warmed honey
- optional: additional cinnamon and rose powders
Mix the powdered herbs together.
Warm some honey over really low heat. We want this honey to be warm enough to have a syrup consistency, but never hot.
Add the honey slowly to the powdered herbs. I like to add a little honey, stir and then reevaluate for the consistency. The end result should be a soft doughy mixture that is not too sticky. You can adjust the honey and powder as necessary.
Once you have mixed the herbs and honey together you can roll them into balls.
I like to finish the pastilles by rolling them in some additional rose petal and cinnamon powder.
These can be used immediately or stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Besides being great as sore throat remedies, these pastilles can be used for a variety of other situations as well. Remember they are cooling and soothing, making them great for hot digestive problems like ulcers and heartburn.
I’ve used similar formulas for people experiencing hot flashes and night sweats.
Once you understand the basic concept of making herbal pastilles you’ll see there are many variations. The herbs you use can vary as well as the liquid that holds them together.
I generally like to use a demulcent herb like marshmallow or slippery elm as a base when making pastilles as this creates a nice texture.
You can substitute maple syrup for the honey or even use a tea as the liquid. When using water as the liquid to hold them together you either need to consume them quickly or dry them out completely before storing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning another way to enjoy herbs. Remember to stock up your herbal remedies for the coming winter months!