Friday, 29 June 2012

Homemade Cough Lozenges

It's Winter in the southern hemisphere and everyone seems to be sniffling and coughing.  Cold and flu season is definitely upon us and our family has had it's fair share despite swallowing large amounts of vitamin C and natural therapies which usually work, but not this time it seems.

I'm a firm believer that if you take 'Ease-a-cold' or other natural therapies that include, Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea or similar, it will either prevent the cold from forming or at the very least shorten the duration.  This is because these ingredients boost your immune system so that your body can fight the virus. The catch is you must start taking them at the first sign of a cold, so at the stage where you think your throat is feeling a little scratchy or you are suddenly sneezing. Just ask my kids and they will tell you that I am onto them if they dare sneeze or cough anywhere near me, but they are now convinced that it works because they have experienced it for themselves.

Usually if others in the house have a cold I will start to take them to prevent getting one and over the past 10 years I have probably only been sick 2 or 3 times.  This time being one of them but even so I was feeling okay to be back at work after only one day off but the cough lingered on.

Once I had run out of my regular 'Butter Menthol' cough lozenges it suddenly hit me that many years ago Mum and I used to make our own.  I went though my recipe cards and racked my memory until I found what I was looking for.  Here is our recipe for home made lozenges.

Honey & Eucalyptus Cough Drops
1/2 cup sugar (I use 1/4c sugar and 1/4c Xylitol see here for more info)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp eucalyptus oil (optional)
1/2 tbs butter
1 tbs lemon juice or vinegar

Grease an oven tray and pop it into the freezer to cool.

Place all ingredients into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar (xylitol) has dissolved.
Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil uncovered until it turns golden brown (about 8 to 10 minutes)  It will burn quickly so watch it carefully.  Remove from heat while you test the mix. Drop a small amount into ice cold water and see how it hardens.  You want a nice firm toffee, not a thick runny one.
Bubbles at a rolling boil for 8 to 10 minutes
Once you are happy with the consistency of the cold test stir until the bubbles all subside and the mixture has turned thick enough to almost hold a shape. (I keep 1/2 tsp of eucalyptus oil out of the cooking process and add this at the cooling stage for a stronger taste.)

Spoon small amounts onto the greased tray allowing some room for spreading.  You need to work fairly quickly before the toffee hardens to much to allow you to manipulate it.
Checking the set in cold water
An alternative method is to pour the entire mixture onto the tray and when hard break into small pieces.  However these are not suitable for smaller children as the pieces can be very sharp.

Allow drops to cool on the tray and then remove carefully.  Dust with icing sugar or cornflour and store in an airtight container.

Note: These drops tend to stick together so the dusting of flour is essential.

Note:  This particular batch of my cough drops melted back together in the container after just a few days as I didn't let them cook quite long enough.  To avoid this make sure your toffee is very hard, not squishy when you test it in the cold water bath.  There is a fine line between soft toffee, crunchy toffee and burnt.



  1. Just came back from the dentist who said that cough drops with xylitol taken at night (I have reflux cough), also stop bacteria and cavities from forming - :)

  2. Hi. Want to try this recipe, what brand of Eucalyptus oil do you use? ( live in Australia) Cant find any that specify if can be used in food.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi Michelle, I believe you have to be careful about ingesting Eucalyptus oils however the Doterra oils use Eucalyptus in their On Guard blend which is ingested. In very small quantities as in these cough lozenges I would feel safe taking the Doterra brand however I am not an expert and am not trained in the use of essential oils. I would advise asking at a health food shop or some pharmacies now have free consultation by naturopaths.


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