Syrups & Gargles by 1stChineseHerbs


Herbal syrups (sometimes called bitters or elixirs) are convenient, effective, and easy to use! Syrups are a type of herbal extract that can be very potent but also very easy to take. 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! 

Because some herbs may have interactions with percription medications, be sure you check with your naturopathic doctor, physician, or herbalist before starting a new herbal regimen.

How to Make Your Own Syrups

Making your own syrup is easy and can save you money. 

1. Make a decoction of your choice. To do this, take one ounce of the herbs of your choice per 16 ounces of water. Warm over low heat and let it simmer until the water is at about half of its original volume. Strain the herbs and return the decoction to the pan.

2. Add in about 8 ounces of honey. 

3. Turn the heat setting to low and keep stirring. You don't want your mixture to overheat. 

4. (Optional) If you want a longer shelf life, add in 1 part brandy or tincture to 3 parts syrup.

5. Pour contents into bottles and label them with date and contents. Syrups usually last about six months in the fridge. 


A 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 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 Syrups & Gargles

The following chart has some common syrups and gargles, along with their ingredients. Always check with your doctors before starting any new herbal supplement.

Syrups & Gargles Ingredients
Echinacea Gargle Echinacea, water.
Elderberry Syrup Elderberries, honey.
Ginger Gargle Ginger, lemon, honey, water.
Ginger Syrup Ginger, honey.
Goldenseal Gargle Goldenseal, water.
Horehound Syrup Horehound, honey.
Lemon Gargle Lemon juice, water.
Saltwater Gargle Salt, baking soda, honey, warm water.
Thyme Cough Syrup Thyme, water, lemon juice, honey.
Tonic Syrup Lemon balm, chamomile, oatstraw, slippery elm, nettles, honey.
Turmeric Gargle Turmeric, salt, hot water.


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