Syrups are sweetened infusions or decoctions. They are often made with unrefined sugar, but honey makes an effective preservative, as well as being a healer in its own right. Syrups have the added benefit of having a soothing vehicle for cough mixtures, as well as relieving sore throats. They are also effective in disguising the unpleasant taste of some unpalatable herbs, much preferable when trying to get children to take an herb. A syrup is made with equal proportions of an herbal infusion/decoction and honey.
Syrups made with honey do not keep as long as sugar-based mixtures, but they are healthier.
The infusion/decoction needs to be steeped or simmered for the maximum time in order to optimize its medicinal action. Usually, infusions should take fifteen minutes while decoctions require at least thirty minutes. Press the soaked herb through a strainer or sieve to remove as much liquid as possible. Small amounts of tincture can be added to the cooled syrup to increase its effectiveness.
- 500 ml infusion or decoction
- 500 g honey
Pour the infusion or decoction into a pan and add the honey. Heat gently, stirring constantly until all the sweetener has dissolved and the mixture has a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and cool. Pour into sterilized glass jars and store in a dark place. Seal with cork stoppers as syrups are prone to ferment and may explode if kept in screw-topped bottles. These can be stored for up to six months. The standard dosage is 1-2 tsp. three times a day.
- 500 g honey
- 250 ml water
- Tincture or combination of tinctures
Gently heat the honey and water until all the sweetener has dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly. Allow to cool, then stir one part tincture (or a mixture of tinctures) into three parts of the syrup and bottle in the same way as for the standard syrup.
Super Easy Syrup
- 1 organic lemon
- 1 quart cold water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root (optional)
Put the whole lemon into the water and simmer for about twenty minutes. Remove the lemon with a spoon or tongs, place into a bowl, and cut in half. Spoon out the lemon along with the inner rind. Blend it with the honey. The ginger root will give greater medicinal value.
Fresh Onion Syrup
- 1 large or 2 small onions
- 1 pound of clear honey
Peel and slice the onion. Put several slices in the bottom of a jar and cover with honey. Fill the jar with alternate layers of onion and honey, pressing each layer down firmly before adding the next, ending with the honey. Allow to sit overnight. In the morning, strain off the liquid and discard the onion. Pour into a jar or bottle, date, and label. It will keep for up to a week in a cool place or in the refrigerator. Dosage is two teaspoons three times a day every two hours to help fight off a cold. For a child, 1/2-1 teaspoon three to six times a day.
- 2 heads of garlic
- 1 pound honey
Peel each clove in the head and crush in a garlic press. Put the crushed garlic into a pestle and mortar and pound until they become transparent. In the living plant, the active compounds are stored separately; and crushing the herb releases and mixes them. Add two tablespoons of honey to the garlic and continue pounding until the garlic is totally transparent. Add the remaining honey and mix well. Pour mixture into a bottle and label.
- As a tonic preventative, take 1/2 teaspoon daily.
- As a remedy, take 1/2 teaspoon three times a day.
- For acute conditions, take 1/2 teaspoon six times a day.
- For bites, scrapes, and wounds, apply directly to the skin.
- As a lotion, dilute 1 teaspoon in 1/2 cup water.
- For a douche, dilute 1 teaspoon in 2 1/2 cups distilled water.
- For sick infants, rub on the soles of the feet.
Garlic is an antibiotic, and good quality honey is antiseptic. Together, they make a preventative tonic, a strengthening restorative, or a remedial treatment. It is an old-time basic cure-all, a standby in every household.