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Herbalism

Herbal Honeys & Syrups

When creating herbal medicines, we don’t want to neglect the sweet and delicious formulations of herbal infused honeys and syrups.

**do not give honey based medicines to children under 1 year old.**
While you may be drawn to the fast acting potency of herbal tinctures, or the ritual of creating a medicinal tea, herbal infused honeys and syrups are a wonderful complement to our home medicine cabinet.

I love to infuse herbs in honey that either have an interesting flavor profile (think schisandra) or one that is associated with soothing the upper respiratory system. And sometimes, we just want something super yummy to add to a cup of tea ;)

In addition to the yummy factor, if you are working with raw, local honey, it is medicine in itself. It provides allergy support, has anti bacterial, anti viral, and anti fungal properties, and can be quite soothing to a raw and sore throat.

There are a few ways to infuse herbs into honey:

  • add your dried herbs (I prefer to use dried here, as fresh herbs can have the tendency to ferment the honey) to a clean and dry jar. Cover the herbs with honey. I like to use a chopstick to stir the honey into the herbs-this helps remove air bubbles and allows the honey to gently seep into all the crevices. Cap your jar and label with: honey, herb, date. Strain after 4 weeks or so.
  • Add powdered herbs to your honey and stir it in. You can use this honey immediately. No need to remove the herbs.
  • Use or create a double boiler. Add equal parts dried herbs and honey. Create a very low heat and slowly infuse the honey over the course of approximately 6 hours. Strain and label as above.
Infusing rose petals
Infusing ground cinnamon

Since we are using dried herbs, this honey will be shelf stable indefinitely. I love to add a spoonful to tea, use on toast or a biscuit, or however you like to typically work with honey.

Herbal Syrups

I make herbal syrups for two reasons: 1-it can help children or those who don’t like to consume things that taste bad work with herbs and 2-if we work with honey in our syrups, it has the added medicinal benefit of the honey. There are two methods that I prefer to use to make herbal syrups.

Method 1

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup dried herbs
  • filtered or spring water
  • 2 cups of honey (either plan or a complementary herbal honey)
  1. Add dried herbs and 1 quart of water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Here we are going to make a decoction. Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced to 2 cups.
  2. Remove from heat and strain your herbs-be sure to squeeze all the liquid out of the herbs and compost the remaining (or use them in other ways-I like to use elderberries to ferment in kombucha).
  3. Allow to cool to 100 degrees F. Add 2 cups of your honey and stir well.
  4. Once room temperature, refrigerate. This will keep for about 6-8 weeks. I have kept up to three months, but if you notice signs of fermenting or mold, discard.

A typical dosage here is 1 teaspoon for children and 1 tablespoon for adults-but you can adjust as you see fit.

Method 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of dried herbs
  • 2 2/3 cup of filtered or spring water
  • 1 1/3 cup of complementary herbal infused honey
  • 1 1/3 cup of complementary herbal tincture
  1. Add dried herbs and filtered water to pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer until liquid is 1 1/3 cup of decocted herbs.
  2. Remove from heat and strain your herbs-be sure to squeeze all the liquid out of the herbs and compost the remaining (or use them in other ways-I like to use elderberries to ferment in kombucha).
  3. Allow to cool to 100 degrees F. Add honey and herbal tincture (or plain alcohol that is 40% or higher-brandy or vodka). This will preserve your syrup indefinitely as well as make it more potent.

A typical dosage here is 1/2 teaspoon for children and 1 teaspoon for adults-but you can adjust as you see fit.

Some amazing herbs to infuse in honey:

  • rose
  • hawthorn
  • elderberry
  • hibiscus
  • elecampane
  • lavender
  • tulsi
  • cinnamon

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