Herbal steam inhalants are fairly simple to make. You just need a large bowl, a towel, a dried herb and boiling water.
Get your water boiling. Place 1-2 tablespoons of dried herb in your large bowl and gently pour in the boiling water. You will want approximately 2-3 cups of boiling water per tablespoon of dried herb. Lean over the bowl and drape your towel over your head and the bowl. This ensures the steam stays by your face. Inhale for as long as you can bear the heat, or until the mixture cools. Try to avoid going anywhere cold for at least 30 minutes afterwards.
Play around with different herbs finding your favorites. Many like to use Peppermint for this as it helps to clear the breathing passageways. Basil, rosemary and thyme are also popular options. And, of course, eucalyptus! If you don’t have dried herb, you can use oil in your boiling water instead. Typically start with just a few drops per cup of water – play around with it and see what a good ratio of essential oil:water is for the herbs you are using. Some are naturally much stronger than others. Remember, you want it strong enough to break through the mucous and help clear it out and open your breathing passageways. You can also include herbs known to help with coughing and calming the bronchial spasms as well.
Herbal Steam Inhalant: Large bowl, towel, boiling water and 1-2 tbsp. dried herb
Herbal Lozenges: dried mucilaginous herb powder, sugar or honey (or other sweetener), herbs for flavor, mortar and pestle, rolling pin, hard non-stick surface (like marble).
Herbal Lozenges are small, dry plant powders that have been combined with sugar and mucilage. Marshmallow root, slippery elm bark, comfrey root and gum tragacanth are some examples of mucilage. The word mucilage itself means gummy secretions or gelatinous substances from plants.
In a mortar and pestle, blend your herb powder with sugar to form a paste. Spread sugar on a marble slab and roll your paste on it to form a flat cake. Cover the top layer with sugar and cornstarch and cut into small squares with a knife. Place the squares on wax paper and expose to the air for at least 12 hours. Once the lozenges are completely dry you can place them on a sieve to separate the sugar and starch and then enclose them in bottles.
Alternatively, you can use a small amount of herbal tea and/or honey with your powdered mucilaginous herb(s) and use the powdered herb rather than sugar to roll out the paste or dough mixture. Air dry and store in a closed container. This is a great way to recycle metal containers that you may get other goodies in, like mints or gum.
Try to make sure you have smooth edges on your lozenges, as sore throats generally appreciate them more than rough edged lozenges. You can also add herbs for flavor, such as licorice, anise, peppermint, etc…
Do you have a favorite Herbal Steam Inhalant or Herbal Lozenge Recipe? Share it here and try someone else’s favorite too!