Herbal Lozenges are a great way of introducing the more unpalatable herbs into the body.
They can be a great addition for the young and the old and with the taste of sugar and honey that can be found in them, anybody would be happy eating them.
Lozenges can be made in a number of ways. They can be :
- Sugar based
- Mucilage based
- Gelatin based
- Powdered herb based
They can also be a combination of all of these.
What is unique about them is that they are made in a small pill like shape or a flatten shape to make them sit comfortably in the mouth and dissolve over time.
The herbs that can be used in them
Are selected due to their actions. If soothing herbs are needed to soothe a sore throat then herb such as slippery elm, marshmallow root or plantain can be used. Comfrey was a herb that would have been used in the past, though it is worth noting that Comfrey is restricted for internal consumption in Australia.
Mucilage herbs that can be used to soothe and heal and also to bind the raw materials together include gum Arabic, gum Tragacanth or Agar Agar. Each of these gums have their own techniques and methods for use. Some of them need hot water to dissolve in, some will dissolve in cold water.
Some have stronger water holding capacities than others and some have a greater binding action than others.
When making lozenges, water is the primary liquid that is used to give the necessary moisture.
Herbs used in them can either be steeped in the sugar water mixtures or they can be powdered and added to the mixture and then left in. I give preference to using powdered herbs as the lozenges then contain herbs in their complete powdered form and they are easily absorbed and digested.
When we eat lozenges we place them on our tongue and we allow them to dissolve slowly. Having the powdered herbs allows the herbs to come into contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth, the throat and the upper respiratory tract.
It is deemed that the actions of lozenges are mainly local, ie. They work on the point of contact, though I believe there would be some form of absorption that would occur and this in turn would become absorbed into the body.
The major actions of lozenges are expectorant, demulcent, sedative and antiseptic. Therefore the herbs selected will be ones used to achieve these actions.
Thyme, mullein, echinacea, elecampane, wild cherry bark, and garlic could be considered. Dried Thyme
Slippery elm, psyllium husks, marshmallow leaf and root, plantain and ribwort could be used. Slippery Elm
These herbs include chamomile, valerian, passion flower, corydalis and St John’s wort. Dried Chamomile
These types of herbs include peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, thyme, garlic and echinacea. Dried Echinacea
When making the lozenges each type of lozenge has its own method.
Sugar based lozenges are made like making toffee. See the lemon, Lime and Bitters recipe given below.
Mucilage lozenges are made by adding powdered herbs with mucilage herbs and mixing until the lozenges become sticky but not brittle. Slowly adding water to the slippery elm will give you the consistency you want. These are then dried out to be used as needed.
Gelatin based lozenges are made using gelatin with dissolved herbal decoctions in them. These have a distinct gelatin taste, though they do not contain sugar.
Powdered herbs can be added to any of the tree methods above.
When making lozenges essential oils can be added at the end. They are not recommended to be added when hot as they will simply evaporate.
– Lemon, Lime and Bitters Lozenge
1 cup Sugar
2 tbls Lemon and/or Lime Rind (grated)
20mls Lemon juice (fresh)
10mls Wormwood tincture (1:5)
20mls Apple Cider Vinegar
20 g Butter
Step 1: Combine ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until sugar is dissolved.
Step 2: Boil with the lid off, without stirring, until ‘hard crack’ stage reached (when drops form brittle threads in some water).
Step 3: Remove from heat and pour into greased mould. Leave to set.
Note: 1) May be stronger if the rind is added towards the end of the boil, when the colour starts turning darker.
2) Decant to mould as soon as step 2 is complete or the toffee will burn
Making lozenges is really a process of trial and error. I still have not quite mastered the toffee technique, though it is like baking a cake, once you have mastered it then it is easy to repeat.
I would recommend that you write down your trails and tribulations, this way when you find a recipe that works I would stay with it.
There is no reason why more herbs can not be added and even substances like minerals such as zinc and things like bee pollen and populist could not be used. Feel free to experiment and enjoy!
Check out my online herb site Dried Herbs Online