I have never been keen on standard cough mixtures from a pharmacy as to me they taste unpleasant and I think they is full of weird stuff… Since we were tiny, when ill and suffering from cough or sore throat, we were given plantain cough syrup which always seemed to do the trick. And if you make your own it’s almost free and super easy too… So start stocking up your cupboard with natural remedies in preparation for winter ailments today! The plantain is a common broadleaf “weed” that we should eat, not kill. This perennial vegetable is free for the picking and packs an amazing amount of nutrition. Full of calcium and vitamin A, plantains also provide vitamins C & K. The plantain also has many amazing healing properties. It can heal your gut, is used as a gentle expectorant for coughs, soothes an insect bite or a rash, heals cuts and it draws toxins from the body with its astringent nature. Source: Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants There are about 200 species of plantain found all over the world, growing in many different habitats but most commonly in wet areas like seepages or bogs. They can also be found in alpine and semi-alpine or coastal areas. In Shetland I think I’ve seen two or three different species and they all have the same medicinal properties. For making the syrup I use ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata) which frequently grows at the side of roads. It’s not a good idea picking herbs at sides of busy roads but in Shetland I think there are plenty quiet roads where the plants should be ok and not affected by pollution. To make the syrup you need about three large handfuls of plantain, two cups of granulated sugar and a large jar. Wash the leaves and chop them finely. Put approximately 1cm of the leaves in the bottom of the jar and add the same depth of sugar and repeat. Compress the mix, seal the jar and leave it on a sunny wondowsill until it’s turned into a liquid, then strain through a muslin cloth or tea towel and store in jars or small bottles. The syrup will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool dark place or in the fridge. When suffering from a cold or respiratory ailment take a tea spoon three times a day or you can add the syrup into your tea.