I have to say that when your throat is on fire, a good cough drop can save the moment!
Here’s an easy recipe for honoring what White Pine can offer us when we have fiery throats, lots of mucus, and coughing from ailing lungs. Honey does not have the chemistry for this to work. I tried with poor results and hate cooking honey most of the time. I do have an old canning book that uses honey exclusively for making jams and they are delicious! Yes, you loose some of the benefits of raw honey but you never sacrifice flavor or health benefits.
So let's visit White Pine for a moment. Many forget to tun to this tree when we have colds and flus. White pine is usually right outside or near, depending on where you live, and you can simply pinch the tips with much gratitude for her greenery in the winter! This tree has a strong mothering kind of energy when we are sick and needing help. Making tea for drinking or pouring into the bath are ancient practices available to us for addressing infections and flus deep in our respiratory system and for keeping mucus fluid and flowing outward. This is the body's way of healing itself. Decongestants dry us out and will only compound the problem of making mucus too thick to move and then the bacteria have a perfect world to thrive in and secondary infections begin, such as bronchitis, sinus, or ear infections. Think rest and fluid, rest and fluid.
I added Thyme to this for I had so much from the summer abundance! Thyme is a fantastic immune supportive herb, is a potent bronchodilator, meaning opens airway passages for better air movement, and has much to offer for antimicrobial strength too. Why do you think it made it into our food so long ago? It was for these very reasons when we were without refrigeration and still learning about germs, right?
These are a hit in my house and they're pretty easy to make and delicious too. Bringing the outside in and remembering that winter does end, so enjoy the now, is good medicine this time of year. White Pine in the belly works for me!
Mama White Pine, Lemon & Thyme Cough Drops
- 2 cups White Pine & Thyme infusion or decoction – make it strong! I picked fresh White Pine tips and had dried Thyme from the summer.
- 2 cups evaporated cane sugar, organic sugar, or Maple syrup crystals.
- 2 teaspoon Organic Lemon Extract - The kind for baking found in health food stores. Peppermint extract is great too. High quality essential oils may be used, such as Eucalyptus but put only 5-7 drops per batch due to the potency of these oils.
- Small silcone candy molds - see other other ideas below where you won't need these.
- Simmer with a tight lid the pine tips (2 big handfuls) and 3 cups of water for 15-20 minutes at barely a simmer. Keeping the lid on is so important or you lose all the essential oils, though your home will smell absolutely hypnotic! Alternately, pack 2 pint sized mason jars with the tips, fill with boiled water, cover, and leave overnight. I re-warm in the morning and strain
- Measure 2 cups infusion/decoction (Drink the rest or make a sacred bath for your bones to soak in!)
- Cook the infusion and the sugar you choose to the crack stage for making confections (300 degrees if you have a candy thermometer). The test without a thermometer is to drizzle some in cold water until it hardens quick. That’s the “crack stage”. Stir occasionally and watch closely. It took about 40 minutes and once you reach 250 degrees, it foams and shoots fast to 300 degrees. Stay close, stir, and turn off immediately once 300 degrees is reached. Use a pan with higher sides to be safe as the foam rises a bit.
- Stir in the Lemon extract. Pour into tiny silicone candy molds. Once cooled you can release them and store in a jar for sore throats and breathe freshening.
- Another way is to pour the finished candy into an 8x8 pan glass dish. Once cooled, tap out and break up to small, mouth sized pieces and store them in a glass jar.
- Or – test during the cooling in the pan, pinch off pieces when workable and roll into drops. Some people, skilled with candy chemistry, pour into drops once you reach the cooled stage that allows this. I always miss it so I roll them quickly using the hot water bath to keep them workable.