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An Herbaceous, 5-Ingredient DIY Tonic to Soothe & Revive

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For the past week, my roommate has been coughing and wheezing and falling asleep at random times of the day. She can’t smell and shuffles around with a dazed look in her eyes. Basically, I’m living with a zombie, and you can bet I’m doing everything in my power to avoid her cold.

While my medicine cabinet is filled with long-expired syrups and pills, I can also turn to my pantry for a fresher DIY boost. Tanita de Ruijt, owner of popular London tonic company Jamu Kitchen, shares a simple, 20-minute recipe for homemade relief in her newest book, Tonic.

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Throat tickles, begone!
Throat tickles, begone! Photo by Ren Fuller

This tonic recipe builds off of classic throat soothers, honey and lemon, while also adding spices and herbs to open up the airways. To make your own, simply infuse olive oil with lemon slices, herbs (like sage, rosemary, or thyme), and ginger in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and after five minutes, remove and cool the mixture, then thoroughly mix in with honey.

The tonic will keep on the counter for a month-and-a-half, and in the fridge for up to three months. Which is great because while I haven’t caught my roommate’s cold (yet), I’ll be ready with a jar the moment my throat starts to tickle.

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DIY Cough Syrup

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Makes 360 ml (12 fl oz)
  • 180 milliliters (6 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 lemons, sliced
  • fresh sprigs of sage, rosemary and thyme
  • 180 (6 fl oz) honey
  • 2 1/2 cm (1 in) piece of fresh turmeric or ginger root, grated (optional)
Go to Recipe

What do you do when you feel a cold coming on? Tea? Soup? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Tags: cough syrup, tonic, colds, sick