Syrup is one of the yummiest herbal preparations. These are easy to make, and delicious for the whole family. Syrup is a concentrated extract of the herbs cooked into a sweet medicine with the addition of sugar, honey and/or fruit juice. Maple syrup, agave syrup, date syrup, glycerin and similar can be substituted for honey and sugar. Because syrups are thick, they coat the airways, delivering the healing properties of herbs direct to the area, so are ideal for sore throats and coughs.
There are a few techniques out there, I will share the one I use. Follow the 6 step recipe below:
Use about 56mg/2oz of dried or fresh herbal mixture of your choice to 0.95L/1qt of water. Over low heat simmer the liquid down to 1 pint/560ml. This will give you a very concentrated tea.
Strain the herbs, and pour the liquid back into the pot.
To a pint of liquid, add 1 cup of honey (or any substitution advised above), which is 2:1 ratio.
Warm gently the honey (or substitution) with liquid, just enough to mix well.
When the syrup is thoroughly mixed, you can add a fruit juice concentrate for flavour, a few drops of brandy which can help to preserve the syrup, and a few drops of essential oils.
Remove from the heat, pour to sterilised bottles, and label. Syrups will last for several months, keep in the fridge.
TIP: For extra preservation and to balance out the sweetness of a syrup, you can stir in 1-2 teaspoons of citric acid at the end of the recipe.
Herbs to use in syrups:
Any herbs can be used to make delicious herbal syrup. Some examples of herbs commonly used in syrups include ginger, astragalus, licorice, echinacea, elderberry, hawthorn, rose hips, sweet spices like cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Other herbs that aren’t so tasty such as horehound, elecampane, dandelion and vervain are often extracted into syrup form.
Feel free to experiment with herb choices when making this wonderful form of herbal preparation. Why not use some lovely nervines and adaptogens such as St. John’s wort, lemon balm, holy basil, and ashwagandha to help support your nervous system? Great herbs to use in syrups for respiratory issues include thyme, elecampane, and licorice.
Have a favourite syrup recipe? Share with us in the comments below!