Wild Cherry Cough Syrup
This traditional herbal cough syrup includes ingredients with expectorant properties that help to relieve congestion and cough, most notably black cherry bark (Prunus serotina), also known as wild cherry. Stored in the refrigerator, this syrup will keep for 2-3 months. However, you can preserve it without the need for refrigeration by adding a little brandy or vodka to the finished product.
2 tablespoons organic black cherry bark
2 tablespoons organic slippery elm powder
1 tablespoon organic pleurisy root
1 tablespoon licorice root
1 tablespoon elecampane root
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
4 cups filtered water
1 cup raw honey *
Combine all of the ingredients but the honey in a medium saucepan. Bring just to the boil, then reduce to the lowest heat possible. Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain, reserving the liquid. (Compost the herbs, if you wish.) Return the reserved liquid to the pan and add the honey. Gently heat under the lowest setting possible for a minute or two -- don't let it boil or the beneficial enzymes in the honey will be destroyed. Let cool, bottle and label.
A word of caution: Trees that produce "stone" fruits, meaning those with pits like cherries, apricots, etc., contain traces of hydrogen cyanide in the fruit pits and bark. In large doses, this substance is highly toxic and can produce cardiac arrest. Therefore, as with all medicines, please keep this syrup out of the reach of children, especially since its flavor might be a temptation. Similarly, do not exceed the dosage recommendations. Not for use during pregnancy or while nursing, or if there is a history of liver or kidney disease.
* For children under 1 year of age, substitute fruit syrup, rice syrup or fruit juice concentrate for the honey.
Before bringing the famous Sarsaparilla "blood purifying" formula of the same name to market in 1858, Ayer's introduced its first patent medicine, Ayer's Cherry Pectoral, in 1843.