Matching the healthful benefits of honey with medicinal herbs by infusing various combinations of herbs in raw honey will result in useful and delicious concoctions you can use every day for what ails you.
I am going to share the many health benefits of honey along with herb combinations that I will use to create remedies to help with sleeping as well as colds, coughs, and flu and to boost insulin function and aid digestion.
The Benefits of Raw Honey
Honey acts as an antioxidant, providing protection for your cells from damage by free radicals, due to compounds in honey called polyphenols. Studies show it is protective against diabetes and this may be because it has a much lower glycemic index (GI) of 50 when compared to regular sugar (GI) of 100 to 110. Honey is nutritious, full of vitamins and minerals. It is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial, good for the inside and out, and is still used in wound cleansing and treatment. It has been shown to be more effective than over-the-counter medicines in relieving coughs and honey also soothes digestion.
1. Healing Herbal Honey for Sleep
The American Psychology Association states that sleeping 60 to 90 minutes more per night can make you happier and healthier. Try this sleeping remedy for a longer, sounder sleep.
Lemon Balm, Lavender, and Chamomile Infused Honey
- Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), known for its anti-stress, calming effects.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), known for contributing to better quality and quantity of sleep.
- Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), known for sedative properties in sleep quality.
- 1 cup of raw, unpasteurized, local honey
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon balm leaves
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh lavender flowers
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh chamomile flowers
In a sterilized jar, place clean herbs and raw honey, alternating between the herbs and honey to ensure they are mixed well. Allow resting for 1 to 4 weeks. The longer the infusion rests, the stronger the concoction will be
You may choose to filter the herbs out. I will be keeping the herbs in, filtering as needed as I use it. This way, I avoid wasting any of the concoction while trying to filter it.
Take 1 to 2 teaspoons at bedtime by itself or, preferably, melted in a noncaffeinated herbal tea of your choice or a warm cup of milk. The herbs in this recipe are edible but sieve out unwanted herbs to your taste.
2. Healing Herbal Honey for Cold, Cough, and Flu
Colds, flu, coughs, or just generally feeling unwell is no fun, and getting to feeling better as fast as possible is often priority number one. This comforting, germ-fighting infusion will kick your cold, cough, and flu right out the door. As discussed above, to keep the moisture content low, we are going to dry the lemon and ginger before adding it to our honey infusion to increase the shelf life and stability of our creation. Of course, you can skip this step, knowing you’ll have to keep your concoction in the fridge and use within 1 month.
I use the residual heat from the oven as a dehydrator. It takes a little longer than a commercial dehydrator, but I like the fact that this method doesn’t use any additional power. Or not very much at least. At the lowest temperature, I place thinly sliced herbs and fruit on perforated metal sheets in the oven and turn the oven off.
Over the next day or so, I may turn the oven on for just 5 minutes or so, on the lowest temperature setting, just to keep it hot and dry. I also place a note outside the oven, in case I forget the herbs are in there so that I don’t accidentally pre-heat the oven and cook the herbs. A lesson I have learned the hard way.
Lemon, Ginger, Oregano, And Thyme Infused Honey
- Lemon is used for the prevention and treatment of colds, coughs, and flu.
- Ginger is known for its antibacterial, antioxidant, analgesic, and sedative qualities, each helpful in fighting cold and flu.
- Oregano is a powerful antibacterial agent used widely to help diminish the severity and duration of colds and flu.
- Thyme also has powerful antibacterial properties in addition to being an excellent decongestant.
- 1 cup of raw, local honey
- 5 slices dried lemon
- 5 slices dried ginger
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- In a sterilized jar, place clean, dry herbs in a jar in alternating layers with honey
Allow resting for 1 to 4 weeks, checking your creation periodically. The longer the infusion rests, the stronger the concoction will be.
Take 1 to 2 teaspoons 3 to 4 times a day, preferably, melted in a noncaffeinated herbal tea of your choice. I left the herbs quite large in this recipe, so they are easy to avoid when taking a spoonful of honey. When the jar is almost empty, I will pour warm tea right in the jar to get the remaining infused honey.
3. Healing Herbal Honey for Digestion
- 1 cup of raw, local honey
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh dill
This is a flavor combination I use regularly as a dressing on steamed carrots and could be used on its own as a palette cleanser during or after a meal.
4. Healing Herbal Honey for Boosting Insulin Function
- 1 cup of raw, local honey
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dry or 1 tablespoon fresh clove
Cinnamon and clove boost insulin function, the immune system, the metabolism and help you feel satiated. I use this infused honey to flavor my tea and coffee in the morning.
Storing Infused Honey
The following honey infusions are only room temperature shelf-stable if you opt for using dry ingredients. There are options to use fresh ingredients in each recipe but keep in mind that the higher the water content, in the end, the resulting infusion, the less shelf stable it will be. The potential for spoilage is increased when using fresh ingredients so you will need to keep these products in the fridge and consume within one month. If you want your products to be shelf-stable at room temperature using only dry ingredients and of course, use your best judgment looking for any sign of mold, fermentation, or musty odor.
Keep in mind, some herbs may take longer to take effect, so it may be worth using the product over a long period of time, such as over several days or weeks. While monitoring the effects, you may want to increase the dose. As the dose is infused in honey, you may want to make a stronger batch next time, rather than taking in more honey. It is recommended to keep your honey intake to a maximum of 6 teaspoons daily due to the sugar content.
There is a lot of room to experiment with when making healing herbal honey. Pairing the many healthful herbal options with the outstanding healthful benefits of honey is a tasteful way to increase your health and the health of those you love.
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