Herbal Remedies, Kitchen Witchery

Fir Tree Cough Syrup: Two Ways

The most freeing part of botanical medicine, for me, is not having to be afraid of getting creative. When you’re just getting started, you can rely on simple, single ingredient recipes, but when you get more comfortable…oh that’s when the fun really starts.

Here I’m showcasing two recipes for Fir Tree Cough Syrups, but you don’t have to stop there. Mix up the ingredients. Try different conifers. The possibilities are endless.

Before we get started, let’s look at why we’re focusing a cough syrup on Fir.

For a complete rundown on the magickal and medicinal properties of Fir, click HERE.

Some of its medicinal actions are:

  • analgesic
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antibacterial
  • antimicrobial
  • antioxidant
  • antiseptic
  • antispasmodic
  • antitussive
  • astringent
  • decongestant
  • diaphoretic
  • emollient
  • expectorant
  • protectant
  • tonic
  • vitamin c, high concentrations

Noble Fir Cough Syrup

Adapted from Pine Needle Cough Syrup

This fir needle cough syrup is beneficial for soothing for a dry and scratchy throat and helping to tame coughs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh pine needles or other edible conifer needles
  • 1/2 cup raw honey

Instructions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil then pour it over the pine needles in a pint mason jar. For a stronger pine needle flavor you can boil the pine needles in the water for a few minutes before taking off the heat. (Just be aware that this does diminish some of the vitamin C content).
  2. Let the infusion steep until the water has cooled to room temperature, then strain out the pine needles and stir in the honey.
  3. Store the syrup in a covered jar in the refrigerator and it will keep for 2-4 weeks. If you’d like to increase the shelf life of this syrup, freeze it in baggies or ice cube trays and then thaw as needed before use.

Dosage: Take one tablespoon (15ml) every two hours as needed to ease a cough, relieve chest congestion, or to soothe a dry and scratchy throat.

Notes:

  • Most pine and other conifer species are edible and have medicinal uses. Just be certain of your conifer tree identification, as there are a few species that you want to steer clear from. Do not use Yew as it is toxic!
  • This syrup is safe for children ages 2 and older, but be sure to give the little ones a smaller dose. I have a handy dosing guide for children based on their ages in my book Healing Herbal Infusions.
  • Pine Needle syrup should not be given to children under the age of one due to the raw honey.

That was a pretty easy, introductory recipe, right? Now let’s try something a wee bit more involved. You’ll notice that there aren’t any precise measurements in this next recipe. Most folk remedies are given this way…in parts. A part can be anything–cups, spoons, buckets–it doesn’t matter as long as you follow the pattern given. So if you use a five gallon bucket as your “part” you’ll need to use that same bucket to multiply the parts given.

Pro Tip: Don’t use a five gallon bucket.

Noble Fir & Friends Cough Syrup

adapted from Milk & Honey Herbs

Ingredients:

  • Noble Fir Needles (fresh or dried)- 1 part
  • Mullein Leaf (Verbascum thapsus)- 1/2 part
  • Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina)- 1/2 part
  • Anise Seed (Pimpinella anisum)- 1/4 part
  • Rose Hips (Rosa multifora, Rosa spp)- 1/4 part
  • A few other herbs worth considering: Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora), White Pine (Pinus strobus), Other Fir boughs (Abies spp), Eastern Hemlock needles and twigs (Tsuga canadensis)
  • Raw Honey

Directions:

  1. Add your herbs to a pot.
  2. Cover the herbs with about 2 inches of water and simmer on low to make a decoction. Keep a lid on it, but either tilt the lid or use a lid with a small hole in it for some steam to escape.
  3. Simmer for about an hour, until the water reduces to just covering the herbs.
  4. Remove from heat and let the herbs continue to steep until the decoction cools.
  5. Once cool, strain it, and for every cup of the decoction add 1/2 cup raw honey.
    • It’s important not to heat the raw honey to a boil, but it is ok to warm it all gently to get the honey to mix.
    • Putting it in a mason jar and then capping it and shaking vigorously is another great way to mix the honey in.

An adult dose of this could be 1 tbsp every hour until cough improves- in order for herbs to work in acute conditions you often have to use lots!

For kids 1 tsp (mixed in elderberry syrup if they don’t like the flavor) 3x/day will suffice.

This will likely last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator but we never seem to have medicine last long enough to go bad. You could also freeze the decoction and thaw and add the honey as needed!

I have Noble Fir Needles available in the Apothecary. If you need a larger amount than what’s listed, just give me a shout.

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Disclaimer: Please note that I am a not medical professional and everything written here is a product of my own research. Don’t take any advice given here over that of a trained doctor. If you ingest any herbs, always make sure that you’re 100% sure that they’re safe. If you’re pregnant or giving to a child, always consult a doctor before ingesting herbs and plant you aren’t familiar with. Magickal instruction and spells are for personal entertainment purposes only. The desired result/outcome cannot be guaranteed as a result of using any magickal item, and should not be used as a replacement for medical/professional assistance.

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