This weekend I’ve been gathering lush fat, juicy elderberries from around The Lizard here in Cornwall, to make Elderberry, Thyme & Liquorice cough linctus. Works wonders for sore throats, too, and as a general winter pick-me-up. Elderberries are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants, and I’ve added tincture of thyme for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and tincture of liquorice as it’s a great expectorant for bringing up phlegm, and also a soothing demulcent for sore throats and chests. It’s utterly delicious, and it works! You can make your own elderberry linctus at home, adding in herbs such as ginger root, cinnamon or liquorice sticks to taste and for added medicinal purposes.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Place 500g elderberries in a saucepan. If you’re adding additional herbs such as chopped ginger root (no need to peel), cinnamon or liquorice sticks, tie these up firmly in a piece of muslin, on a long piece of string, and dunk them in with the berries.
2. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and, when cool, remove the bag of herbs.
4. Squeeze the juice out of the berries through a jelly bag, or a sieve lined with a piece of muslin.
5. Add enough water to make the liquid up to 500ml.
6. Return to the pan, add 500g of granulated sugar and heat gently, stirring continuously, until all the sugar has dissolved.
7. Cover, allow to cool, stir in 2tbs of lemon juice and then pour into sterilised bottles. (You’ll have up to 750ml of linctus depending on how well you squeezed the berries.)
I find this keeps very well in the fridge for 2-3 months, providing you are rigorous with sterilisation.