Making Herb-Infused Honey
Herbal honeys are profoundly medicinal and they taste great. When herbs are infused into honey, the honey absorbs all the water soluble components of the herb and all the volatiles (essential oils), as well. This yields an excellent extraction of the herb’s complex chemistry and preserves it very well.
Administration and Dosage Guidelines
For internal use, herb-infused honeys can be taken as they are. More often, though, they’re used as ingredients in composite remedies, such as elixirs, oxymels, or syrups. Herbal honeys are also applied topically for skin blemishes, wounds, burns, etc.
If taken straight up, teaspoon and tablespoon doses of herb-infused honey will deliver an effective dose of herbal constituents.
Shelf Life and Storage Guidelines
Finished herbal honeys should be stored in sealed glass jars, away from light and heat. They will retain their potency for many years.
Necessary Tools, Equipment, or Ingredients
- Fresh herbs
- Wide-mouth jars
- Wire mesh strainer
Preparing Remedies – Step by Step
Coarsely chop your fresh herbs and allow them to wilt for a few hours before infusing.
Put your herbs into a wide-mouth jar and fill half to three-fourths full.
If the honey you’re working with is a liquid consistency, simply pour it into the jar up to the shoulder. If it’s solid or semi-solid, gently warm it to get it runny. This is easily done by setting the honey jar in a pot of hot (but not boiling) water for 10 to 20 minutes. The honey will soften and become easier to pour.
Using a chopstick or spoon, stir and work the herbs around in the honey. Close securely and label the jar with the date and the herbs used.
Place in a warm area (like on top of the refrigerator) and leave to macerate (infuse into the honey) for 4 weeks.
Gently warm the closed jar in a pot of hot water until the honey has a liquid consistency, then strain into a new jar. Press the herbal residue (marc) against the strainer to express as much honey as you can.
Be sure the finished jar of infused honey is labeled with the herbal ingredients and the finish date. Store in a cool dark place.
- Honey’s innate benefits.
Even before infusing with herbs, honey is an excellent wound healer and antimicrobial agent with a long history of use.
- Long shelf life.
Honey is an incredible preservative. You can expect your infused honey to last for years and retain its effects.
Getting someone to take a honey medicine never seems to require much bargaining, even with kids and those who have picky palates.
- Sweet means sugar.
Herbal honeys taken alone are not ideal for those with insulin resistance, diabetes, or other blood sugar regulation problems. (When mixed into an oxymel or elixir, though, this concern is minimal).
- Potential fermentation.
Because we’re infusing fresh herbs into honey, there’s the possibility that the water content of the herbs will thin out the honey, making it sufficiently liquid to allow it to ferment spontaneously.
- Preparation time.
Infused honeys take 1 month or more to prepare.
Choose local honey whenever possible. Aside from supporting local beekeepers (and local bees), honey made in your area will help you acclimate to pollen and reduce seasonal allergies.
Raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized honey has the most medicinal efficacy, but don’t worry too much if you can’t find this in your area. Most studies on honey as a wound dressing have been done with processed and irradiated honey, and it’s still very effective.
Do be aware that some “honeys'” sold in stores have been found to contain high fructose corn syrup or other adulterants. Make sure your honey is actually honey!
Source: Herbal Medicine for Beginners