Over this last week, several of our children have had bouts of a respiratory bug and I have been seeking out remedies that are natural and nutritional that will boost their immune systems and comfort them at the same time. The children are mostly on the mends now, but in a large family one never knows who is next! Anyway, here is one thing I came up with that the children really like and ask for, and it does seem to help their coughs. Here is the recipe which you can adjust as you see fit for your family and needs:
The freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
1/3 cup honey (preferably raw)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup herbal tea (see note below)
1/2 cup grape juice (no added sugar)
1/2 cup cranberry juice (no added sugar)
Combine the lemon juice, honey and turmeric in a small pan on the stove over low heat. Stir well to dissolve the honey and turmeric into the lemon juice. Note that the turmeric does not fully dissolve, and will even settle a bit in the popsicles, but that doesn’t seem to bother anyone! Then add the tea and the remaining juices to the pan and stir well. Taste the mixture and add more honey if it is still a bit tart. Next, pour the mixture into two ice cube trays as evenly as possible. Cover the trays with plastic wrap and have someone pull the wrap tightly over the trays while you insert toothpicks into each cube. The toothpicks will wobble a bit, but will freeze just fine in the liquid. Put the trays in the freezer and freeze over night or until completely frozen. Remove the plastic wrap gently and twist tray as you do to get ice out. Then when you need a pop. just gently coax the cube out and stick a napkin on the underside of the toothpick and you have a mess-less treat for your children, or anyone who wants one!
NOTE: I used in this recipe, for the herbal tea, an infusion of tea I made with a variety of loose herbs, but you can actually use any of Traditional Medicinals teas or any other herbal teas suitable for children that is good for colds or coughs or malaise. Last night I made a tea out of Alfalfa, Oatstraw, Stinging Nettles, Red Raspberry Leaf, Red Clover, Cleavers and Fennel (seed). All of these are abundant in vitamins and minerals that nourish the body in a highly absorbable way. Crushed fennel seed (though I did not crush mine this time) is very good at removing toxins from the body, but also has a very pleasant taste and is calming to the stomach. I like to let my infusions sit for a few hours, covered, to get the most strength out of the herbs. Of course you can drink it hot with honey or without sweetener, and then you can also refrigerate it and drink it without honey and it is very refreshing. But for this recipe, you can use whatever medicinal tea you have or want to try, as I said, as long as it does not contain anything objectionable to your child (or anything you know he or she might be allergic to). Also, it is recommended that children under 1 year of age not consume raw honey, so this recipe is for children over the age of 1. Honey is very medicinal for a variety of ailments, and the combination of honey and lemon is very effective at soothing coughs. Turmeric is a terrific anti-inflammatory spice that also acts as an antihistamine. Though the taste of this spice can be strong, it is pleasant and surprisingly tastes quite good when mixed with fruit juice. Cranberry juice is helpful at keeping bacteria from sticking to mucus membranes in the body (especially good at treating mastitis, I know from experience). Grape juice has antioxidants as well and mixes well with the cranberry.
All of my small children love these little popsicles and some ask for one right after the other. These small popsicles make nice throat lozenges for the little ones you don’t want to suck on the hard cough or throat lozenges. Of course, keep an eye on them while they eat these, so you can get the toothpicks away from them when they are finished! I guess you could make larger frozen pops with this recipe if you have the molds, but the small ones are very easy for little ones to handle. On another note, these would be good also for elderly people who are ill, or you could make these up as ice cubes to put in water or tea to get extra nutrition and flavor down your convalescing patient! Of course, you don’t have to be sick to enjoy the medicinal benefits of this recipe. It could be another way to get nutrients down picky eaters!