After getting knocked out by an H1N1 vaccine, I had plenty of time to consider just what I was looking for in a lozenge. I wanted something herbal and not overly potent, not too sweet, but tasty enough to finish.
You can make these with any flavor or coloring you prefer - a blend of your favorite sickness-busting herbs is a great way to go. I'll suggest a few in the next step. But if you don't have access to such things, or you just want results NOW, consider what you might already have on hand!
Making hard candy requires sugar (or a lot of crazy chemical sugar substitutes), and flavor. That's about it. So why not take some of the yummy herbal blend teas I so love and stock up for times of sickness like these, and lozenge-ify those? A perfect cup of tea in a long-lasting lozenge. Perfect!
Step 1: Ingredients
But if you want to get fancy, you can use a blend of sugar or substitutes, food coloring, additional flavors, and custom blend your own herbs.
Some great herbs (and their uses) for lozenges are:
- Horehound - (be careful - this stuff is strong!) pain reliever, stimulates digestion
- Echinacea - best before full onset of cold, anti-bacterial + blood cleanser
- Peppermint - expectorant, decongestant and mild pain reliever
- Eucalyptus - relieves congestion
- Camphor - relieves congestion
- Ginger - pain relieving, antiseptic and antioxidant
- Goldenseal - antiseptic and immune stimulant
- Licorice - anti-viral, chest and throat soother
- Sage - good for sore throats
- Fennugreek - expectorant
- Juniper - relieves congestion
- Yarrow - reduces fevers and inflammation
Finally, a well-calibrated candy thermometer makes this task almost effortless! To make sure it's accurate, check the temperature of a cup of boiling water to be certain it registers 212oF (100oC). If it doesn't, make note of the difference.