You can either use shop-bought or homegrown and dried herbs – just make sure they are ground reasonably finely. For the best health benefits, use local honey. This means the bees have foraged on local flora, which can help with respiratory issues.
Oh, honey honey
Honey has so many properties that keep us healthy – from antibacterial to anti-inflammatory. When the season turns cold, the dreaded coughs and colds begin. A sore throat can mean sleepless nights and one of the simplest solutions is honey. It acts in a similar way to cough syrup by coating the throat and soothing it. Add herbs to it and you have your very own natural cough syrup. Use it in your teas as a herbal sweetener or take a tablespoon before bed or when necessary.
Medicinal Honey Recipe (Cough Syrup)
Use a combination or any of the following to ease a cough or sore throat:
- hawthorn berries
- angelica root
- turmeric and black peppercorns (just a few)
- lemon balm and lemon verbena (a mix of the two)
- rose petals
- kakadu plum (gubinge)
You can use bought or homegrown and dried herbs, roots, ﬂowers and spices. Just make sure they are ground reasonably ﬁnely in your pestle and mortar or food processor. Mix equal proportions of honey with herbs (I suggest you use 200g honey to 200g herbs for this recipe).
Put all of the ingredients into a double boiler and keep over low heat for 6 hours, making sure that the honey doesn’t exceed 43–46°C.
If you don’t have a double boiler you can easily improvise by placing a smaller pan inside a larger one, using metal jar lid rings or a small round wire cooling rack to keep the inner pan off the bottom of the larger pan. Fill the larger pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Heat gently; you may need to add more water to the pan due to evaporation.
Make sure your honey completely covers the herbs, adding more if necessary. Stir the mix every now and then so it infuses evenly.
After 6 hours, strain the honey while it is still warm, using a muslin cloth, or a tighter-weave cheesecloth. Press the mix through the material, wringing it until it comes through.
Pour into a sterilised jar and keep for up to a year.
This is an Edited extract from The Art of the Natural Home by Rebecca Sullivan. Published by Kyle Books.