Tea for Coughs 


Mr. Tenderness caught a rough cough this week. Tuesday and Wednesday saw him sad and sick – trying to run around the house like his usual, crazy self – but ending up nestled on thd big bed, looking at “The Happy Man and His Dump Truck ” and “Orange, Pear, Apple, Bear” while sipping homemade cough syrup and warm tea.

The kids rarely get sick. A few sniffles every know and then, maybe, but having an actual illness in the house is such a rarity for me that I take a while to transition. But yesterday I did finally mix up a special tea for Ilya: mullien, yarrow, chamomile, hibiscus, marshmallow, a little ginger, and dried elderberries. After it steeped I stirred in lots of raw honey and let it cool just enough. 

Between the cough syrup and the cough-tea, I could hear his little cough turn more productive and that night he slept the deep, dream-filled sleep of healing. I was thrilled. 

One of my favorite biggest joys in homesteading is tending and preventing family illnesses at home. Having a small apothecary within reach and adjusting it for each person, the intimate and personalized care that only family can give.

I know the cough-cold oxymel, while it works wonders for the early stages – is a bit too vinegary for me to convince a sick 2 year old to drink. But honeyed tea was delightful! So delightful that his sister wanted her own cup: and herbal-tea medicine is generally meant to be shared!

We’ve also made a big pot of garlic-ginger chicken soup! Just to make sure no one else comes down with the cough, and because, doing Whole 30 has me cooking up a storm.

It isn’t super heavy on the ginger, enough to be noticed, but not enough to overwhelm young palates. The kids loved it, which totally non-Whole 30 biscuits to dunk and a little pile of greens on the side they went to bed full of love and healing. 

Cooking, tea-making, and tending sicklings in my little nest reminds of my grandmother and her beef-barley soup with the shimmering fat that made each bowl gleam in the light: matriarchal, wise-woman building in the child’s imagination a picture of living love.

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