General Tso's (mostly Natural) Lozenges




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

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: 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.

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

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!

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! 

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    107 Discussions

    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!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    2 replies

    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!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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...


    6 years ago on Step 4

    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


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    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!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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


    6 years ago on Step 4

    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?

    1 reply

    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.

    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.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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?

    1 reply

    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.