- 1/2 cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried flowers and/or herbs (do not use powdered herbs)
- 1 cup raw, unprocessed honey (I recommend recited-honey)
- 1 pint glass jar than has a tight fitting lid (canning jars are ideal)
- stainless steel mesh strainer
- funnel (a canning funnel works well for this)
It may be helpful to place your container of honey in a bowl of hot water to thin it before you begin. Do not heat honey on a stove or in the microwave.
STEP 1: Chop fresh herbs. Dried herbs can be rubbed between your fingers. You do not need to chop flowers unless you prefer. Powdered herbs should not be used because you won’t be able to remove them from the honey later.
STEP 2: Pour a small amount of honey into the jar. Add your fresh or dried herbs and top off with the remaining honey. Cap tightly. Roll the jar in your hands to distribute the herbs throughout.
STEP 3: Place the jar in a sunny windowsill or a warm place for 2 weeks. Turn the jar at least once a day. I placed my jars on the windowsill near where I pray so I wouldn’t forget to flip them. That convenient location helped me to remember to complete this important step numerous times each day. The movement of turning is important because it helps draw out the medicinal qualities and flavor of the herbs.
STEP 4: After two weeks you are ready to strain out the herbs. It helps to do this when the honey is warm from the sun, or you can warm the honey as directed above. I like to use a canning funnel placed in the neck of another clean jar with my strainer resting inside the funnel. Pour the honey into the strainer, letting it stand until all the honey has dripped through.
STEP 5: Make sure to label and date your finished product.
Please Note: Honey may crystallize over time, or when stored under cool conditions. This does not mean it has spoiled. You can use it in the crystallized form or dissolve the crystals by placing the container in hot water until the honey has become liquid again. I like to use the sugar crystals in sugar scrubs.
How to use
Here are four basic ways to use your medicinal honey:
- Hot Drink: Combine 1 teaspoon of medicinal honey with 1 cup hot water. Stir until dissolved. Especially enjoyable when combined with fresh citrus juice.
- By the Spoonful: Place one teaspoon of medicinal honey in your mouth. If you are trying to quiet a cough or sore throat it helps to allow the honey to slowly dissolve, letting it coat your throat.
- With Food or Medicines: Drizzle medicinal honey over food. This is particularly delightful way to encourage children to “take their medicine” as well.
- Wound & Burn Dressing: Spread a thin layer of medicinal honey over the affected area (make sure to clean wounds first) and cover with a gauze bandage. Secure in place. Change as daily or more often if necessary.
Here are some ways that medicinal honey may provide therapeutic benefit. Use the methods outlined above for application.
- Calming: chamomile, lavender, sage
- Stress & Anxiety Relief: lemon balm, chamomile, lavender
- Sleep Aid: chamomile, lavender
- Congestion: mint, thyme
- Coughs: sage, thyme
- Sore Throats: sage
- Fever Reduction: sage, thyme
- Sinus Pressure: thyme
- Digestion: mint, ginger
- Burns: lavender
- Wounds: sage, lavender
- Immune Booster: ginger, elderberry
- Other flowers and herbs I love: roses, clover flower, jasmine, honeysuckle, chrysanthemum, cinnamon bark, whole cloves, cardamom pods
Please Note: Other herbs, flowers, substances (that might taste bad or shouldn’t be eaten) can be added to honey for topical application ONLY. Be sure to label topical honey appropriately so that it is not consumed.
- Honey should never be given to children under the age of 12 months due to the risk of infantile botulism. The chances of this occurring are very unlikely, but certainly not worth the risk. If you have children in this age range, you can substitute another shelf-stable syrup for the honey.