How to Make Herbal-Infused Honey
Making Herbal Honey
Honey has a long medicinal history dating as far back as ancient Egypt. It is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as being a natural cough syrup. Adding herbs to honey can increase its natural healing qualities by infusing them with the healing qualities of the herbs that you choose. Please note that it is recommended that you never feed honey to infants under the age of one for fear of botulism.
Herbal honey is really quite easy to make, and depending on the herbs that you use, quite fast to finish. You can make a herbal honey with nearly any herb you like for whatever reason you need it for. They are a good way to receive the healing properties of herbs, but they do not replace doctors, if you have a serious problem please see a trained medical professional.
How to Make Herbal Honey
- Take the herb of your choice. Coarsely chop it up and place inside a clean sterilized jar.
- Using a stick or spoon, pour honey over the herb, letting it slide down the side of the jar and release any trapped air bubbles in the honey. Continue to fill the jar with honey until it is full, leaving a 1-inch head space at the top.
- Depending on the herbs you use, let the jar sit in a cool dark cupboard for up to 6 weeks.
- Check the jar daily to make sure that the herbs are under the level of the honey. If they rise above the honey, they can mold and the whole batch will then be ruined. If they rise above the honey, simply use your spoon to push them back down into the honey.
- After several weeks, you can then strain the herbs out of the honey with a piece of cheese cloth.
Never heat the honey on direct heat on your stove. The honey will get too hot and burn. It can also become a dangerous situation, and it will end up cooking your herbs instead of infusing them, making the whole batch unusable.
- In a double boiler, measure out the amount of herb that you plan to use. For a pint jar measure out a little more the 1 cup of herb. For a quart jar, measure out a little more than 2 cups.
- Place into the double boiler.
- Measure out the honey you plan to use: for a pint jar, use 2 cups; for a quart jar, use 4 cups.
- Pour the honey over the herb in the double boiler. I always add a little extra honey because after you strain it, you lose some of your honey measurement in the herbs.
- On medium-low heat, begin warming your honey. Keep the heat low, as you are only trying to warm the honey, not cook with it.
- Let your warm honey stay on the stove for a couple of hours (see note). The longer you let the honey and herbs infuse, the stronger it will become. Keep a close eye on it because your herbs can quickly start to cook if left alone in the honey too long. Remember to gently stir often to keep the herbs from cooking.
- Remove from heat very carefully and allow the honey to cool. You want it to be just warm enough so that you can still strain the herbs through a cheese cloth easily.
Note: Some herbs, like garlic, onion, or ginger will only take a few hours to a day or so to be ready. You never need to use the warm method for these herbs as the herbs natural oils are strong enough that it naturally ‘heats’ the honey up and infuses quickly. You will know when the honey is done by how the honey has changed consistency. It will appear more like a syrup.
Clove- and Cinnamon-infused Honey
A Few Herbs to Start With
- Garlic: Garlic is a wonderful herb to use when making herbal honey. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and expectorant; it also helps digestion and lowers blood pressure. It is an effective home remedy for treating colds and flus, and when used with honey, will also act like a cough syrup. I make quite a bit of garlic honey every year and use it whenever I feel a head cold coming on. Take one teaspoon at a time, two or three times a day, until you are feeling better. Normally, garlic honey is ready to be used after infusing for 6-12 hours.
- Ginger: Always use fresh ginger and not the powder when making ginger honey. Ginger honey is a good way to help treat coughs and sore throat during a cold or flu. Ginger is also use to help settle upset stomachs. Take a small amount directly, or add about ½ teaspoon to a cup of tea or warm water. Ginger can be very strong with a strong spicy element to it, so start with small amounts. Normally ginger honey will be ready to use after infusing for 12-48 hours.
- Clove: Clove honey is great when you have sore throat or a toothache. Cloves are antiseptic, antiemetic, and anodyne. Clove is a good numbing agent, and if applied directly to a toothache, will numb the pain. A small amount of clove honey added to a tea will help with nausea. Start with a small amount ¼ to ½ teaspoon, as cloves have a strong spice flavor to them and can be considered over powering by some. Clove honey can normally be used after infusing for about 6-12 hours, but you can let it sit longer for stronger flavor.
- Cinnamon: Always use cinnamon sticks, never the powder for making cinnamon honey. Cinnamon honey is full of anti-oxidants and possesses anti-fungal properties. It can help break up congestion and clear the sinuses. It can be eaten right off the spoon or added to tea. It is also really good to spread on toast. When adding to a tea, start with the smallest dose of ½ teaspoon a couple times a day. Cinnamon honey will be done in a couple of days, but I like to let the sticks sit in the honey for at least 6 weeks.
- Mint: Mint honey is an excellent way to make an herbal remedy. Mint is used to help treat all sorts of common cold and flu issues. It helps treat insomnia, coughs, heartburn, headaches, and nausea. Mint honey will require 4-6 weeks in a dark cupboard, but when it is done, it is delicious. It can be added to a warm cup of water for instant mint tea or added to other teas, like chamomile, to help treat the symptoms of colds faster. It can also be spread on toast. It can also be taken by the teaspoon to help treat a cough and sore throat.
There are many other herbs you can use to make herbal honeys. A good herbal book will tell you what you need to know about any herbs and the possible side effects. Remember that some herbs react with medications, always check with your doctor before adding herbs to your life, especially if you are taking any medications or have any health issues. Always do your research on herbs before using them.
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© 2016 Twyla DiGangi
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Garlic has a long history of being an effective medicinal plant, as well as a staple kitchen herb. It was also used to protect from all the things that go bump in the night.
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