Herbal syrups (sometimes called bitters or elixirs) are convenient, effective, and easy to use! Usually they are a decoction made with honey and at times alcohol. The alcohol works as a preservative for the syrup. The honey, or sugar make the herbal syrups more palatable for people with digestive issues or children. Botanical Syrups are a type of herbal extract that can be very potent but also very easy to take. Herbal Syrups can be taken by the spoonful, in drinks, and on foods. You can even make your own herb-infused syrups to put on your pancakes and waffles! Also try Herb Syrups with yogurt, applesauce, or your favorite multigrain cereal.
Because some herbs may have interactions with prescription medications, be sure you check with your naturopathic doctor, physician, or herbalist before starting a new herbal regimen.
How to Make Your Own Natural Herbal Syrups
Making your own botanical syrup is easy and can save you money.
1. Make a herbal decoction of your choice. To do this, take one ounce of the natural herbs of your choice per 16 ounces of water. Warm over low heat and let the herbal ingredients simmer until the water is at about half of its original volume. Strain the herbs and return the herb decoction to the pan.
2. Add in about 8 ounces of honey.
(It is best to use local honey from this year crop. The unfiltered is the best)
(So if you notice this is a 2:1 ratio, easy to remember)
3. Turn the heat setting to low and keep stirring. You don't want your herbal mixture to overheat.
(If you overheat, usually there is a bitter after taste, so keep stirring)
4. (Optional) If you want a longer shelf life, add in 1 part brandy or tincture to 3 parts botanical syrup.
5. Pour contents into bottles and label them with date and contents. Herb Syrups usually last about six months in the fridge.
A herbal gargle is a liquid that a person uses to wash out his or her mouth. Usually this is done to simply rinse out the mouth or clear away particles. Gargles also have medicinal uses as well when combined with salts or herbs. They can help relieve pain, inflammation, and kill unwanted bacteria.
In order to gargle correctly, you should combine your chosen herbal ingredient in a cup and then toss your head back with the liquid to gargle for 15-20 seconds. This should be done about three times daily for maximum benefit.
Common Herb Syrups & Gargles
The following list has some common syrups and gargles, along with their herbal ingredients. Always check with your doctors before starting any new herbal supplement.
Echinacea Gargle - Made with Echinacea, water.
Elderberry Syrup - Made with Elderberries, honey.
Ginger Gargle - Made with Ginger, lemon, honey, water.
Ginger Syrup - Made with Ginger, honey.
Goldenseal Gargle - Made with Goldenseal, water.
Horehound Syrup - Made with Horehound, honey.
Lemon Gargle - Made with Lemon juice, water.
Saltwater Gargle - Made with Salt, baking soda, honey, warm water.
Thyme Cough Syrup - Made with Thyme, water, lemon juice, honey.
Turmeric Gargle - Made with Turmeric, salt, hot water.
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