Introduction: General Tso's (mostly Natural) Lozenges

Picture of General Tso's (mostly Natural) Lozenges
I don't get sick often but growing up I was getting Strep throat every year; luckily I haven't had it for a few years. Right now I can almost feel it coming on so I was looking into prevention/home remedies because I'm currently on the Curonian Spit, in Lithuania, which is quite isolated...So for a variety of reasons I came up with this recipe to prevent/cure my Strep Throat paranoia, based on some research.

The basic principle of how these lozenges work come from this video, which suggests that it works just like antibiotics:

...but it's basically "get-better tea" in lozenge form and it's really easy to make.

The recipe makes between 50-60 drops; one should be taken every half-full hour hour, that you're awake, until you feel better.

Ingredients (+ why they work):
  • 4tbsp honey (coats the throat, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory)
  • 1/2c sugar (hardens into a solid)
  • 1tsp cayenne powder(brings blood to surfaces which it touches, boosts circulation, high source of Vitamin A + C, has the complete B complexes, AND is very rich in organic calcium and potassium...among other things)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated (stimulates the immune system, reduces pain, antibiotic as well as being anti-fungal/viral/parasitic...etc.)
  • 1tsp ginger , finely chopped or grated (reduces inflammation and antiviral are the uses we'll concentrate on for this recipe)
  • a pinch of salt (flavor and is less irritating to the mucous membranes in the mouth)
  • zest from your favorite citrus (antibacterial, antifungal, aromatic, boosts metabolism)
* if you want/need to substitute any of the active ingredients, look here and find the flavor which is good for what ail's you:
Medicinal uses of common herbs/spices from UCLA's website

  • A small saucepan w/ lid
  • A sharp knife
  • A spoon
  • A citrus zester/micro-plane or cheese grater with a fine grade
  • A non-stick surface

Optional (but useful):
  • A candy thermometer

Step 1: Make a Sweet and Spicy Danger-sauce.

Picture of Make a Sweet and Spicy Danger-sauce.

Mix the honey, sugar and cayenne in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover for 4 minutes.

Step 2: Drop It Like It's Hot.

Picture of Drop It Like It's Hot.

Remove the cover of your boiling honey/sugar/cayenne mixture and once it reaches 295/300 degrees Fahrenheit or 146/148 degrees Celsius remove it from the heat...You can use your candy thermometer for this or, if your like me, you don't have one at the moment and then you can do a drop test: drop a small amount of the candy mixture into cold/icy water, if it becomes a brittle mass/threads then it's at the right temperature and you should remove the saucepan from the heat.

I didn't have a candy thermometer or ice so I went and got some snow and poured water in the middle of it. In the second picture you can see some little hard balls in my snowater.

For more non-thermometer ways of telling what stage your candy is at check this out:

Once it's ready remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Flavor Bomb

Picture of Flavor Bomb

This is when you're going to add, and mix in, most of the flavor and some of the best of the medicine (salt, ginger, garlic, citrus zest) to your cooling honey/cayenne/sugar mixture.

The reason you add it now, and not earlier, is because you don't want to destroy/modify the acting compounds in the ginger, garlic, and citrus zest.

Step 4: Pop Off and Go Loco!

Picture of Pop Off and Go Loco!

Now your part in lozenge making is almost done. With the honey/sugar/cayenne mixture cooled for 5 minutes and the citrus zest/garlic/ginger/salt mixed in you can start pouring the mixture onto your non-stick surface. Drop 1/2 teaspoons of the mixture onto your nonstick surface, making sure to leave some space between the drops (because they spread a bit). I couldn't find a silicone mat, parchment or wax paper so I just used 2 non-stick frying pans.

Allow them to cool for 30 minutes and you should have brittle lozenges which sooth your throat and provide a constant stream of ingredients which kill viruses/bacteria/fungi while increasing blood flow and a host of other awesome properties.

Stay well! 


Pamela Gaffney (author)2013-01-27

I'm in the midst of a pretty nasty winter cold, and remembered seeing this 'ible featured. I checked and saw I had all the ingredients and gave it a shot. WOW! These are fantastic. Easy to make, they taste great and they WORK! I used buckwheat honey and lemon zest in mine. One thing though - you might want to include a warning to be careful when uncovering the sugar/honey/cayenne mixture. I got too close and got a facefull of cayenne-pepper infused steam. Which was not fun, although it did a nice job of blasting through my sinues. :)
Great idea, good 'ible - thanks a bunch!

Flagg707 (author)2013-01-20

Thanks for posting. Just made these.

They do have a good spicy zing to them. I made the mistake of not letting the honey/sugar/cayenne mixture reach the proper temperature, even though I had let it go the four minutes. I pulled the sauce pan too early as the cayenne smell made me think it might be burning. I now have chewy lozenges with a "Bit-O-Honey" consistency. Still very tasty and my sinuses are open and happy.

Also, careful when dropping onto the parchment paper (or other non-stick surface) as it is easy to make big ones. My lozenges are a bit larger than recommended here (I made 40 instead of the 50-60).

Note to you single people out there, don't take these before going out on a date! The garlic makes itself known.

I can see all kinds of alternative ways to use this "platform." I highly recommend it.

merilalla (author)2013-01-15

With flu pandemics left and right of us,I just had to try to make these! They just sounded too tempting. I have to say I was a little skeptical about the taste, but hit the nail on the head with "confusingly delicious"!
I used pure cane sugar and raw honey, and as my once fresh ginger root had shriveled, I used a tsp of organic powdered ginger. I passed the whole thing through a sieve once the flavors had a chance to amalgamate for a few minutes, but I must have screwed up the temp, cause mine, while "delicious" came out more like toffee than hard drops. WIll have to try again with white sugar and the right temp. Still can't stop eating them :-) thanks soo much for this great recipe!

I think cane sugar will work just as well as white, it's just the temperature didn't get quite high enough to become brittle. I'm glad you like them!

merilalla (author)merilalla2013-01-15

oh, and BTW, not wanting to waste anything, I used the sieved leftovers in a delicious , you got it...General Tso sauce for my organic chicken! (and a bit of light tea) yeay!

shutLNdevR (author)2013-01-13

Just made these- first Instructable I've actually gotten up and done AND the first time I've tried to make hard candy. They haven't quite cooled yet but I've been eating them off the whisk and the parchment and MAN are they good! Spicy as heck but definitely tasty. The garlic is pretty different- I love garlic in all its forms but some part of my brain goes GARLIC... CANDY???!!!... until I eat the second one.

No word on their medicinal properties but if I miss the nasty flu that's going around I will ascribe all my success to General Tso's Lozenges. I always did feel like Hot n' Sour Soup was a great cure-all for colds... so this is the portable version.

Definitely something to share with a spicy or aromatics-loving friend. Next stop- sriracha caramels? Mmmm...

duckspeaker (author)2013-01-13

This is the what I love about Instructables... "Do what you can, with what you have". Think you are coming down with something? Don't have any medicine while on a trip to an obscure part of Lithuania? MAKE SOME! Very, very cool! Thank you...Justin-part-time-medicine-man

GayleJ (author)2015-01-30

I'm going to give these a try. I made some herbal tea "cough drops" last night, but they are quite bitter (horehound, marshmallow root, and some others) so my children are refusing them, though the sore throats were quickly soothed with use of them. I am going to make these for hubby & I, then a less spicy variation with cinnamon for my littles.

Just my experience with making hard candy is, adding something to your cooked candy mixture after its hit hard crack stage & been removed from the heat, is going to cause it to separate. So I will try once your way, then if it doesn't work, I'll add the "goodies" in the last few seconds of stirring and cooking after I hit hard crack. Oh, one other thing, not stirring your sugar/honey mixture & just cooking it with a lid on can be dangerous and also cause your candy to burn -- scorched candy is an awful thing to get off a pan. I always, ALWAYS cook my hard candy mixtures on medium heat while stirring. Too many bad experiences of ignoring it; I firmly dislike scraping burned sugar off my pans, so I stir. Also, for anyone else who finds this recipe (and reads through all the comments like me), put hot, preferably boiling, water into your pot after you've got the drops made -- it cuts down on the cleaning process dramatically. I sometimes use cooking spray to coat the inside of my candy-cooking pan too, that little bit of oil keeps your mixture from bubbling too much.

Thank you for posting your recipe, and the YouTube video link -- I passed that one along to a friend who has strep this week.

Emily_Gant (author)2014-10-17

I've got a sinus infection, and boy let me tell you! This is not fun to deal with being a full time student (and its midterm exam week!) and working full time as well! I have a bad stomach so antibiotics and medications don't sit well with me and end up making me feel ten times worse! So Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to remedies! I am so happy I found this because I felt like I was dying with my cough and other symptoms, this is a great help!! I used clove honey and blood orange zest. It's awesome! Thanks for the help!

Dominic Bender (author)2013-10-15

I just made them, they are cooling now, but the first samples have been met with moderate success - as in, "it's really hot, what did you put in there?" I like them, though, and the current cold will make sure that the others will, too. Thanks for this!

TidyKeeper (author)2013-01-24

Just threw a batch of these together for my wife. She says they do not go well with coffee. :)

Used wax paper. Should have used the nonstick pan. Can't get the drops off of the paper.

Good stuff! Thanks for posting!

TN777 (author)TidyKeeper2013-02-08

Maybe if you used parchment paper they would come off, but I'm not sure. I want to try this recipie! I have a TERRIBLE cold(?) and I am MISERABLE. Do they have a rather spicy taste?

TidyKeeper (author)TN7772013-02-08

They are spicy. Once I got them off the wax paper, I rolled them in sugar. No problems with them sticking anymore.

Aira.vj (author)2013-02-02

How long can you store these for? Do you need to worry about the garlic/ginger going "bad" eventually? I made a batch a few weeks ago, but I ended up only using about half of them. I keep meaning to wrap them up and stick them in the freezer but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Should I toss them out, or is it safe to wrap them up now and freeze them for later?

I tried freezing some and they became really mushy. I think they won't go bad if you wrap them individually and then either leave them out or refrigerate them - there are so many anti-microbial agents in them and they're encased in a thick shell it seems unlikely that they will go bad any time soon.

lordgarion514 (author)2013-01-20

While I love homemade remedies and use many, just be very cautious when it comes to strep. In fact go to the DR. whenever you think you have a slight chance of having it. Strep throat does stop hurting whether your cured or not as it moves to other parts of your body, and it can be very nasty. It can sterilize you(no kids) or permanently damage your heart. In fact, my step son got it and never even had throat pain or swelling and it turned into "strep nuts"at age 5(and that was VERY painful and VERY swollen) luckily he was too young for it to affect his ability to have kids later on. As much as I hate taking synthetic chemicals I suspect people will hate having their heart damaged or feeling like they got kicked in the groin by a NFL field goal kicker even more.

But I will be trying these out as a preventative. The science behind them seems quite sound, but there are some diseases that just should not be played around with.

kalimo (author)2013-01-17

Do you think its possible to use creamed honey instead of normal honey? That's all I have around the house at the moment... I think I will try to make this work!

Justin Tyler Tate (author)kalimo2013-01-18

Yes. It's my method to use what you have and experiment to make it work for you.

avenger2109 (author)2013-01-18

Mine didn't!?! ... though I followed the recipe, the honey and sugar quickly turned black and the smoke was terrible! Yours are so pretty; mine are black and sticky! Maybe add 1/4 cup water and bring to boil slowly?

Yea, try it; seems like you burned your sugar I used a medium/low heat to bring mine to temperature but I thought not to mention it in the Instructable since all stove-tops are different and produce different temperatures.

tn. (author)2013-01-15

taste - nummy.

consistency - having a problem. i followed the instructions the first time by using the cold water method (at my sister's, no thermometer, long story) and it seemed right - but the lozenges didn't harden up. they were soft and sticky.

did it again today using a thermometer and even though i used a setting just under med-low, the syrup was well over 300 degr when i took the lid off - juuuuuust getting into the scorched area.

and they're soggy again. it's been about 10min and they're not hardening up at all.

what temperature did you use? could i be adding too much zest? the first time, i didn't use much at all (zest from one lemon and half an orange) - this time, i zested one lemon and two oranges but maybe that was overkill and did something to the syrup?

68trug (author)tn.2013-01-15

I had a simaler problem as your second batch with mine and this is what I think happened but I am not a chemist or food scientist.

For me the garlic/ginger/zest mix got cooked by the hot sugar and so all the water in those things went in to the candy. As a result the I went from a candy with almost no water in it to a candy with too much water. in other words it was a 'soft ball' candy even though it had in the past reached the requisite temperature for hard crack.

When this happens the only thing you can do is heat the candy back up to the hard crack stage (300ish F) and let it cool and spoon it out. The down side to this is high heat messes up the shape of proteins. This is a problem because a lot of the medicinal value of the ingredients in the recipe are due to the proteins in them.

A protein can do what it does because of the compounds it is made of and the way it is shaped, for example an enzyme is a protein that exists only to change the shape of a specific other protein. If an enzyme is heated too much its shape changes and it can no longer interact with the protein it is meant to.

The the 'better' way is to wait longer to add the ginger/garlic/zest mix. if you wait till the candy has cooled to the point you have to really hold on to the spoon because it is getting thick, and your spoon is leaving a v grove as you stir you may get better results as the candy will cook those ingredients less letting them keep their water to themselves and damaging fewer proteins in the process.

sorry for the pedantic, long, answer

tn. (author)68trug2013-01-16

i loooooooooooooooooooove pedantic, long answers!

saves me looking like a doofus by having to ask "why?" 15 times, lol!

what you say makes SO MUCH sense. i'll try it this way with the next batch cause we really really need them now,.

Justin Tyler Tate (author)68trug2013-01-15

I'm pretty sure it said in the Instructable to wait some minutes while the mixture cools before adding the zest/ginger/garlic.

Justin Tyler Tate (author)tn.2013-01-15

I'm not sure, if you got it to 300degrees it should be fine...The sugar to honey ratio was the same as in the Instructable? I used the zest from one clementine for this Instructable; I don't think that a little extra zest would hurt but maybe since there's powerful chemicals in there. But when you used the thermometer, the tip of the thermometer wasn't touching the bottom of the pot... right? - if it was that would screw up the temperature reading, since the bottom of the pot is hotter than the liquid.

tn. (author)Justin Tyler Tate2013-01-15

it just shot sky-high, lol - the colour, too, is much darker than yours (very dark amber) and there's the slightest bitterness (which tells me i *just* just avoided a very embarrassed excuse to my smoke alarm monitor.


one clementine!?? um... yah. i had way more than that, lol. next time, i'll just put in a wee bit and we'll see how that goes.

Justin Tyler Tate (author)tn.2013-01-15

"Wee bit", as in the zest from only one citrus? I'm not sure what the problem could be; I just used plain honey, refined white sugar, zest from one Clem', and the other ingredients as was mentioned. I cooked it on a low/medium heat as you did. Try again, experiment, make it work for you.

tn. (author)Justin Tyler Tate2013-01-15

btw: it tastes *lovely* if you chase it with a gulp of organic wild blueberry tea.

dario.massaro (author)2013-01-15

Hey there. I tried this, but don't think I got it bang on. My end result was dark redish brown and granular/hard to form into shapes like what you've got. I let it get to a boil, then covered it for 4 minutes.. can you give me some idea as to what I could be doing wrong?? (either way, I felt my cold/sore throat go away for the evening when i tried a piece, even if it wasn't visually awesome, so thanks for that.)

68trug (author)dario.massaro2013-01-15

I don't mean to hijack the answering of questions, my wife and mother in law gave me a crash course in candy making and I want to share.

your stove gets too hot, too fast so parts burned, i mean caramelized, while others were insulated and did not fully melt. you can get around it by adding a little water in the beginning (1/4 cup) that will boil off as it heats up.

68trug (author)2013-01-15

Great stuff, I had to add 1/4 cup of water to keep the sugar from scorching on my gas range. I also added 2 tbsp rice vinegar for flavor with good results. Next batch will get 1/4 cup of grapefruit juice instead of the water and vinegar or 1/4 cup vinegar.

Great concept/jumping off point.

sleeping (author)2013-01-15

Strange, I have read this instructable several times now. Maybe something to do with the picture?

FrogsRule (author)2013-01-15

Made these last night for my husband. Interestingly tasty and they stopped his cough. Just be sure you aren't stupid like I was. I forgot just how hot molten sugar and honey is. I touched my wooden spoon for a little taste of the concoction, after tossing the spoon in the sink. Two blistered fingers and a painful night later all I can say is "Ouch" and be careful whenever you heat sugar to the hard crack stage. :-(

Yea, that's why I called it a danger sauce on that step; if you get any on you not only is it super hot but also super sticky. I'm glad they stopped your husbands cough. How did he like the taste?

He liked it, as did I. The cayenne adds great heat and the ginger was interesting, and good. I think next time I make them I'll add even more lemon peel.

He liked it, as did I. The cayenne adds great heat and the ginger was interesting, and good. I think next time I make them I'll add even more lemon peel.

tn. (author)2013-01-15

also: was thinking of using raw honey but considering the temperature range, there's really not much point, is there? pasteurization involves bringing it just to the boil then cooling rapidly - this is sustained cooking at ultra-high temperatures so any benefit from raw honey is rather a moot point, i would think?

fretted (author)2013-01-15

I was curious how you got my girl Angelina to pose lol

stealthop (author)2013-01-14

wow , great cover photo . i really liked this ible thanks

avenger2109 (author)2013-01-14

Thanks, Justin - now that I know what 'zest' is, will make some today!

Tell me how they turn out for you and how you like them!

ilove4wheelers! (author)2013-01-14

What can I replace the ginger with if I am allergic to it?

Tumeric would be a really good substitute but wouldn't add much for flavor. Horseradish has similar benefits, although it's not anti-inflammatory, and is also a similar kind of heat to ginger to contrast the cayenne's heat which would probably be quite then I would also suggest adding really finely chopped cilantro(or dry cilantro since it's already quite fine) which is anti-inflammatory, among other things, and would compliment the spicy flavors ....If you aren't into that combination you could also try thyme, coriander, star anise or cinnamon to substitute in.

Krotas (author)2013-01-14

Wow, I didn't know someone was making almost exactly the same recipe for maintaining health. And I was taught it by my grandmother, so is sure looks like an old, universal and working remedy.
I'm a lithuanian, what a nice coincidence :)
Please take care of yourself and enjoy your stay, despite it being very cold here!

Justin Tyler Tate (author)Krotas2013-01-14

I'm currently living in Estonia so it's been much warmer here than at home....and I actually came here for the cold: to build an ice fishing shanty and also to build a Tiki-Hut on the frozen lagoon.


nice sister (author)2013-01-14

This is fantastic, thanks. One question: Will they taste confusingly delicious to someone who is very wimpy about spicy foods?

I hope so. They're still quite sweet and savory while being spicy. Try.

butterflies974 (author)2013-01-14

Thank you Justin. I will have to try adding the honey before and after the cooking process. Again, thank you for the post.

dulciquilt (author)2013-01-13

Hope there aren't duplicates of this wouldn't let me post earlier, but sugar on its own had antibiotic properties. It is used on the battlefield when help can't arrive quickly and often staves off infection.
We actually used it when our cat had a surgical wound that wasn't healing after a week. The vet suggested sugar as a last resort and by the next day we saw improvement. You can do a search on it for more info.

Yea, it causes the bacterium to loose water, by osmosis, and then the bacteria aren't able to regain their moisture they cant grow and reproduce...It works just like salt but I think that these things aren't effective in the throat (because there is so much moisture). Sugar and salt work in a mechanical way to kill/inhibit bacteria growth, but not in a chemical way.

About This Instructable




Bio: Justin Tyler Tate is an artist, designer, animator, teacher, jeweler and maker/hacker who produces with thoughts of culture, science and interactivity.
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