Millions of people may share nostalgic memories of the unforgettable taste of homemade cough syrup that they were made to drink as kids and even as adults when laid up with the flu. Such is the taste and efficacy of this simple home remedy that even today, my husband asks me to make him some whenever he catches a cold. In fact, it was he who insisted that I should post this wonderful, ancient recipe for you; for the sake of sharing this valuable information with the new generation, who rely almost entirely upon the pharmacies for their medicines. As I write about Indian mint cough syrup, suddenly I find myself transported to my childhood at my parents’ place.
In the center of our courtyard grows the sacred Tulsi (holy basil/ Ocimum tenuiflorum) plant, and underneath, a thick bush of Indian mint (Sambraguli panna jhade in Konkani / Pani koorka or Kanji koorka in Malayalam / Indian borage / Country borage / Spanish thyme / Mexican mint / Cuban oregano / Plectranthus amboinicus). Often, one of my brothers could be seen plucking the leaves and rushing them to mother either to make her fry delicious sambraguli panna podi (Indian mint fritters) or to make sweet and fragrant cough syrup for any member of the family who might be suffering from cold. I would run to the backyard to strip off a rib or two from the coconut fronds to skewer the shallots and mother would have the syrup ready in a jiffy. Needless to say, cold or not, all the kids would get a delicious spoonful each in their wide open mouths. Infants who have already started having semi-solid food would be administered just half a teaspoonful four to five times a day. The dosage would increase with age, the adults getting a tablespoonful 5 to 6 times a day. The relief indeed is to be seen to be believed. A steam inhalation with the leaves of Indian mint, tulsi, and of guava (tender leaves are best) thrice a day provides added relief and a quicker recovery. The patient is not given tea or coffee to drink, but hot water preboiled with the same three leaves. When all three are combined, the result indeed is incredible. Here is the cough syrup recipe for you.