Medicinal Balsamroot Cough Syrup and Tincture

    Field of Arrowleaf Balsamroot

    Field of arrowleaf balsamroot Photo by Lindsay Dawson Mynatt The hillsides are blanketed with arrowleaf balsamroot, signifying the fullness of spring in the Central region of the Pacific Northwest. The indigenous Wenatchi Tribes calendar was based on a seasonal cycle with this native sunflower, Smokakhin, first appearing in March. Balsamroot was a significant source of food and medicine for the Wenatchi. All parts of the plant are edible and useful. The tender shoots and early leaves were collected as early spring greens and seeds were pounded into meal. The large arrow shaped leaves were used as poultices for burns. The long taproot, was used medicinally to support the respiratory system, as an ointment to treat wounds and blisters, and for relief of body aches and pain.

    Curry favour. Hot, spicy foods containing chillies or cayenne pepper trigger endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Endorphins have a powerful, almost narcotic, effect and make you feel good after exercising. But go easy on the lamb, pork and mutton and the high-fat, creamy dishes served in many Indian restaurants.

    How to Harvest

    Balsamroot plants take years to mature and should be harvested selectively and mindfully. Smaller less developed roots from singular stand-alone flowers are preferred over clumps with thicker roots. The expansive root system of these plants help prevent soil erosion so be attentive to harvesting locations, staying away from steep embankments.

    Arrowleaf Balsamroot



    Arrowleaf balsamroot
    Photo by Lindsay Dawson Mynatt

    Some people harvest using a kupenz, or digging stick. I used a pointed shovel and carefully upended the root until I could pull it out. Even with harvesting thinner root systems, expect it to be more effort than anticipated.

    Reduce Skin Creases By Changing Your Pillowcase. Instead of coarser fabrics, choose a pillowcase that is soft and silky to decrease the friction and skin compression that occurs while you sleep and leaves you with extra lines in the morning. If you sleep on your side, try switching sides occasionally or sleeping on your back, so your face doesn’t wrinkle over time from pressure in certain areas. But, don’t stress about this… ultimately, you want to be comfortable because high-quality sleep is essential for natural beauty. Here are some other beauty sleep tips from my friend Kathy Smith.

    Cleaning and Preparing the Taproot

    The taproot will be covered in hardened bark and lots of dirt. The bark can be cleaned and used along with the taproot or removed. I chose to peel off the bark, revealing a resinous long root. With careful attention, the root did not require further cleaning which is good because it is very sticky.

    Taproot before cleaning

    Taproot before cleaning
    Photo by Lindsay Dawson Mynatt

    Taproot after peeling bark

    Taproot after peeling bark
    Photo by Lindsay Dawson Mynatt



    From this step, I cut the root into smaller pieces and peeled the taproot to expose as much surface area as possible to prepare the infused honey and tincture.

    ‘Okay, now do 100 of those’. Instead of flailing away at gym, enlist the help – even temporarily – of a personal trainer. Make sure you learn to breathe properly and to do the exercises the right way. You’ll get more of a workout while spending less time at the gym.

    Infuse with Honey to Make Cough Syrup

    Using a 3:1 ratio of honey to taproot, place both ingredients in a pot. Bring to a simmer (do not boil). Let cool. Repeat process over several days. Honey will change from pale to dark amber. When ready to store, heat the mixture and pour into small glass jelly jars to cool. The end result will be thicker and harder than honey with a lovely clove-like essence—a soothing and delicious cough elixir. Keep the roots to use in flavoring teas.

    Infused Honey

    Infused honey
    Photo by Lindsay Dawson Mynatt

    Do your weights workout first. Experts say weight training should be done first, because it's a higher intensity exercise compared to cardio. Your body is better able to handle weight training early in the workout because you're fresh and you have the energy you need to work it. Conversely, cardiovascular exercise should be the last thing you do at the gym, because it helps your body recover by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and flushing out lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles while you're weight training. It’s the lactic acid that makes your muscles feel stiff and sore.

    Making a Tincture

    Using a one-to-one ratio of 80% alcohol to taproot, place ingredients in a glass jar and set in a cool dark location for 6 weeks or longer. Gin, Rum or Vodka (the most common) are all suitable alcohols for tinctures. Recipe from the Herbal Home Remedy Book by Joyce A. Wardwell. The tincture can be added to warm water or tea to soothe sore throats, loosen phlegm or taken as an overall immunity booster.

    Medicinal Properties

    Michael Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West compares Balsamroot to a marriage of echinacea and osha root. It is an expectorant but has the resins and oils to stimulate respiration. Topically, Balsamroot disinfects, reduces inflammation and enhances healing. Lyndsay Dawson Mynatt is a dedicated forager, outdoor enthusiast, and blogger for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Her published articles include: Build a DIY Cider Press in the 2015 September/October issue of GRIT and 5-Minute, 5-Ingredient Mayonnaise in the 2015 Best of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Follow her adventures at A Faithful Journey, and read all of Lyndsay's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here .

    Good night, sweetheart. Rest heals the body and has been shown to lessen the risk of heart trouble and psychological problems.

    Originally Published: 5/21/2021 10:04:00 AM

    SIMILAR ARTICLES: