Herbal Syrups are likely the tastiest of all herbal preparations. They are concentrated herbal extracts that have been combined with honey, maple syrup, or other sweetener to give them a thick consistency and sweet taste. Kids love them, and because of that they are one of the best ways to prepare herbal remedies for children. Herbal Syrups also make great sore throat soothers and cough syrups. While somewhat time consuming to prepare (you have to wait for the liquid to reduce over low heat), they are easy and will save you quite a bit of money over store bought preparations.
To make an herbal syrup you will need the following supplies:
- Two ounces of dried herb (weight, not volume)
- 1 quart of water
- A medium-sized saucepan or double boiler
- Small-medium colander or strainer
- Medium sized bowl
- 1 cup sweetener of choice. Options include: honey (raw organic is best and most nutritious), succanut, agave nectar, maple syrup, or vegetable glycerin.
- A sterilized jar with a small neck and a good lid or cork. (You can often find lots of these at places like TJ Maxx and Ross)
- 2 tablespoons Brandy or Vodka (optional, to help preserve)
- Combine the water and herbs in a saucepan, and simmer over low heat until the liquid has reduced to about 1 pint.
- Using a small colander or strainer lined with cheesecloth, strain the herbs from the infusion over a bowl. Once the liquid has all seeped through, bring the ends of the cheesecloth together and squeeze out any remaining fluid from the herb. This ensures that you get all of the valuable properties out of the herbs and into the syrup.
- Pour the liquid back into the saucepan, and add the sweetener. Warm over medium heat until thoroughly mixed. If desired, you can simmer the mixture over medium heat for 20-30 minutes for a thicker consistency. However, this will cause some of the living enzymes found in honey to be killed off.
- Add alcohol, if desired.
- Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
- Pour into your bottle and label.
- Syrups will last for several weeks, often months, if refrigerated.
USING HERBAL SYRUPS
A dose of most herbal syrups is 1-3 teaspoonfuls, taken as needed. Take a spoonful of bitter syrup just before meals for best results. Take cough syrups as often as every hour.
If you don’t have a local herb store, I recommend the following online retailers for your bulk herb needs: