Sore Throat Pastilles

Sore Throat Remedies: Herbal Pastilles

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.

Let’s explore making herbal pastilles for sore throats. These can be an important part of your herbal remedies for the common cold and flu season. Not only are they effective at relieving sore throats with mild throat pain, 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. They are similar in size and function to a throat lozenge, but they don’t dissolve in the mouth the same way — they instead break down into their powdered form.

Herb Powders

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 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.

What is a Natural Remedy for a Sore Throat?

Before getting started on the recipe for this natural remedy, 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 common symptoms of a cold or flu, they are usually red, hot, scratchy and swollen and downright uncomfortable. To help relieve the discomfort of a mildly painful throat, we can use cooling, demulcent, and astringent herbs.

Cooling herbs bring relief to a hot, red, and scratchy 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 to address throat discomfort.

Now let’s take a closer look at our active ingredients for this sore throat remedy; rose, sage, marshmallow, and honey.


Rose Petals (Rosa spp.)

Cooling and astringent, rose has anti-inflammatory properties and can 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 has antimicrobial properties and is astringent, meaning that it can disable pathogens on contact and also tightens and tones tissues. Its soothing properties contribute to its 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 root alone is one of the best sore throat remedies.



Does honey help with mild sore throat? Yes, honey can be 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.

Want to Learn More About These Herbs?

We’ve just scratched the surface on the gifts of rose, sage, and marshmallow. If you’re ready to take you’re learning to the next level and really understand how these herbs work and what other healing gifts they offer, then check out HerbMentor. HerbMentor is our online herbal education platform that gives you access to in-depth herb classes, Plant Profiles, plant walks, and more. Right now you can try HerbMentor for just $1.

Sore Throat Pastilles

Today’s recipe is a favorite in our house. I first learned of it years ago from herbalist Kiva Rose.

What you’ll need…

  • 1 tablespoon powdered rose petals
  • 1/2 tablespoon powdered sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons powdered marshmallow root
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons 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 also like making an herbal sore throat spray and having this on hand in my apothecary. This common remedy includes the following herbs: elderberry, sage leaf, ginger root, and licorice root. And another sore threat remedy I like to include in my apothecary is herbal throat lozenges.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning  about sore throat symptoms and another way to enjoy herbs. Remember to stock up your herbal remedies for the coming winter months!

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