Finally, I get to tell you all about the natural, homemade throat lozenges I made. I set out to make these 3 weeks ago, and I finally got around to the actual making part last week. Now, before I continue on and explain why these are 4-H Lozenges, I want to take a few lines of text to explain a little theory I have. Humor me, please.
We homeschool. We have been homeschooling in one form or another for almost 7 years. Keeping our kiddo away from the germ-riddled classrooms is not on our list of reasons as to why we homeschool. Although, if I am being totally honest, the fact that we don’t stress about head lice in the classroom, is definitely a perk of staying out of the traditional brick and mortar based education. (I get the itch’eees just thinking about it.) So, even though the immune system can get stronger the more it is exposed to various human carried viruses, we have chosen to limit that exposure to environments that are extracurricular in nature.
You see, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that parents have to work, and in turn they need a place to drop their sick kids off while they work. And, as long as the fever hasn’t really spiked too high, and the kid isn’t delirious and drooling, school just happens to be the place where sick kids spend the day. Now, I am not saying all parents do this, I am not even saying that very many parents do this, (but, I am pretty sure you all know at least one parent in your community that does this) I’m just being honest and saying that it happens too often.
The difference I have noticed (over the past 30+ years of parenting) is that parents do not go out of their way, after work, to drag a sick kid out to swim team practice, a 4-H meeting, or a music lesson. Nope, they seem to do the right thing after working all day; they choose to stay put, at home…with their sick kid. So these extracurricular activities are by in large attended by healthy (or at least, not visibly sick) children.
In the past several years we have noticed a decrease in illnesses in our house. Not just the kiddo, but us adults too, have caught fewer colds and have pretty much avoided anything resembling influenza. (I think it has a lot to do with our increased intake of lacto-fermented foods and bone broth, but my extracurricular theory could also be a reason)
So back to why we call these throat soothing, immune boosting wafer-like lozenges “4-H Lozenges”.
Well, this is where my extracurricular activity theory may not be as solid as I was hoping. You see, I forgot to factor location into the equation. Up until this year, our extracurricular activities had taken place year-round, around an outdoor swimming pool, and pool chemicals and lots of open space and fresh air (yes sometimes at freezing temps, but it was still freshly frozen air.) This year though, we have joined 4-H, and meetings are inside the local Grange Hall and for some reason kiddo seems to come down with something a day or two after each meeting. Now, I am pretty sure it isn’t the kids that are the problem seeing as they all appear healthy during the meetings. (yes, I know that some kids are contagious prior to “looking or feeling sick”) I thought it could be the animals that are present during the meetings, but so far there have only been rabbits and chickens, and she doesn’t seem to have a problem with our chickens at all, so I sort of ruled them out. (Yes, it could still be an allergy to the rabbits, but even when the rabbits are not there, she has still come down with something) There is something in or around that building that kiddo is reacting to, and it just may take more time to figure it out.
So, in the mean time, until we find out who or what makes her sick, we created 4-H Lozenges. She can pop one in her mouth and suck on it during the 4-H meeting and hopefully it will keep the crud at bay. And, if she does come down with a bug, they are super soothing and help her kick whatever it is real quick.
Seriously, these lozenges are amazing. They are all organic, made with powerful ingredients, no added food coloring, preservatives or chemicals.
Like always, I check the “distilled on” or “purchased on” date on all my oils to make sure are still good before I make a batch. And for this recipe, it is extremely important to check your Lemon Oil for oxidation.
Oxidation requires oxygen, so it’s important to store your essential oils in a cool, dark place (away from light sources) with a tightly closed lid. Oxidation occurs much faster at higher temperatures and upon exposure to light. Shelf life varies for different essential oils, with citrus essential oils being more prone to oxidation (nine to 12 months of shelf life), so I recommend keeping those oils in the fridge.
In general, it is not recommended to keep essential oils for more than three years. There are a few exceptions to this rule such as patchouli P. cablin, sandalwood S. album, and vetiver C. zizanioides, which actually improve with age. Because oxidation can lead to the formation of potent allergens, using spoiled or oxidized essential oils can cause adverse reactions.” ~ Oleg Maksimov, ACHS Health and Wellness Blog
Here is a list of the necessary supplies and ingredients used to make our 4-H Lozenges – along with the relevant health benefits of the ingredients:
- 1 cup Organic Honey – Do not use your organic raw honey…it is too expensive and you are boiling the snot out of it, so all the amazing benefits of Raw Honey are wasted on this recipe.
- In a study that involved 139 children, honey beat out dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) and diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) in easing nighttime cough in children and improving their sleep.
- Another study involving 105 children found that buckwheat honey trumped dextromethorphan in suppressing nighttime coughs. (Source)
- 1 teaspoon Organic Ghee – Trust me…use ghee! Ok fine, take a look at all the amazing benefits:
- One benefit associated with ghee is its assistance in nutrient absorption. Pure ghee easily bonds with lipid-soluble nutrients that then may be absorbed by the body’s cell walls. For this reason, ghee may help to enhance the power of certain herbs by allowing the beneficial components to become absorbed into the cells where they most benefit the body.
- The healing benefits of ghee are so high that Ayurveda deems it to be a pre-eminent healing food that helps in overall health and well-being. (Source)
- 1/2 teaspoon Organic Ground Cinnamon – Using powdered cinnamon instead of cinnamon essential oil, reduces the irritation risk (which is very low) to mucous membranes in your mouth and throat.
- The anti-bacterial and warming property of cinnamon and its tendency to increase blood flow improves blood oxygen levels that fight illness and infections.
- Chinese traditional medicine too, recommends the spice for phlegm coughs. (Source)
- 18 drops Clove Bud essential oil – Antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral properties
- “Today, clove bud oil is known for its benefits to oral health. This essential oil, which has been approved as a dental anesthetic and, as mouthwash and gargle, can help relieve toothaches, as well as fight mouth and throat infections. It is also added to pharmaceutical and dental products.” (source)
- 17 drops Lemon essential oil – Stimulating, calming, carminative, anti-infection, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant, antifungal properties.
- 7 drops Eucalyptus citriodora essential oil -Antiseptic, decongestant, expectorant, anti-inflammatory properties.
- “Some of the best health benefits of eucalyptus includes its ability to boost respiratory health, strengthen the immune system, protect skin health, ease tension and anxiety, lower blood sugar, eliminate inflammation, and fight against bacterial infection.” (source)
- 7 drops Rosemary essential oil – Analgesic and antiseptic properties
- Candy Thermometer – Will need to measure temperatures up to 300 degrees
- Silicone Mold – Silicone ice cube molds work well, but may produce larger flatter wafer-shaped lozenges. Silicone candy molds come in various sizes and you can make smaller lozenges.
- Organic Honey Crystals (optional) – You can grind up organic honey crystals to make your own powdered honey – this can then be used to coat each lozenge. In addition to providing a nice healthy coating, it also helps to prevent sticking. We like to coat the lozenges and then wrap them in wax paper squares.
The process to make the lozenges is really simple, as long as you do not leave the boiling honey unattended. If it goes past the point of no return you will be able to tell from the stench and smoke.
4-H LOZENGES 1% – DIRECTIONS
- Over medium heat, bring the Honey, Ghee and ground cinnamon to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (use the candy thermometer to check) This can take around 20-30 minutes and you can stir as it approaches 200 degrees. Then leave it be as it continues to heat to 300 degrees.
- Once at 300 degrees, remove from heat and allow honey/ghee to begin cooling (you do not want to add oils yet…they will vaporize and be wasted) You may stir gently and slowly to help cool it down.
- As the honey/ghee cools, it will begin to thicken. This is when you can add your oils. (if the first drop vaporizes, stop and wait a few more minutes before adding the rest)
- After the oils have been added, stir well and then you can pour into silicone molds and let them cool and harden. Depending on the size and thickness of your drops/wafers it can take 10 – 30 minutes to harden.
- Pop them out of the molds, and let them cool on the counter for a little longer (I find that if they are still warm at all, they will stick to each other in a jar or tin.)
- You can freeze some for later and store some in a tin or jar on the counter. (I like to place parchment paper strips between the layers of drops to prevent sticking…you can also coat them with a light dusting of powdered honey crystals to prevent sticking)
This makes approximately 80 lozenges. (your actual count may vary depending on the size of your mold)
You can adjust the amount of each of the oils to taste. You can also make a 2% version by simply doubling the amount of oil, and leaving the honey, ghee and cinnamon the same at the 1% version.
Please note: If you have skin sensitivity to any of the oils, you may want to omit that one from the recipe.
As always, please make sure to read the Safety Data & Contraindications sheet here.