We’ve all been there and we are all bound to be there again someday, maybe sooner than you think; sickness is what I’m talking about. Not the really scary kind, but the sore throat, sniffly noise, congested sinuses, and or fever kind.
There are lots of things you can do to try and prevent sicknesses from taking hold, but once it happens there are a few things you can do to make your experience a little easier and perhaps go by a little quicker.
Over the last month I’ve been attending an Apothecary 101: Herbal Medicine Making series through The Wild Garden. A handful of women and I have been learning about how different solvents can pull beneficial vitamins, minerals, and oils from plant material. Week one was water as a solvent and last week we learned about sweet remedies – herbal honey, syrup, and electuaries. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as I was harbouring a virus that would soon take my voice and leave me with an uncontrollable cough. Honey to the rescue!
If like me you’re in need of some throat soothing and don’t want to guzzle back a bottle of store-bought cough syrup, you should check out my blog post on home-made cough drops and also read below for some suped-up honey ideas.
One of the most amazing things about honey is that it has an unbelievably long shelf life. What’s more amazing is that you can add fresh plant matter to it and it still won’t go bad. Honey will coat your throat and help relieve any irritation you may have, while also helping the medicine go down. For example, eating raw garlic isn’t at the top of my list, even though I know it’s good for me, but when mixed with honey it’s not only bearable, it’s quite pleasant.
Garlic has been a powerful medicinal food for centuries; it has strong sulfuric compounds that have many useful properties. They’re antibacterial, antifungal, and antithrombotic, meaning they can prevent blood clotting. Garlic is also rich in minerals and vitamins C and B1.
Honey and garlic may seem like an odd combination but in fact they complement each other.
Using a knife or a garlic press, finely mince garlic and fill a small, clean jar. Top with honey, making sure to stir all the air bubbles out (with a knife or chop stick), until the jar is nearly full. Let it sit for 2-3 days. Enjoy by the spoonful or use as a glaze on meat.
Note that you can leave the garlic in the honey, there is no need to strain.
Salvia officinalis, or common sage, is a well-known herb. Salvia and "sage" are derived from the Latin salvere (to save). Traditionally it was used for respiratory ailments like asthma and alleviating nasal discharge, but more recently it has been linked to improvements in Alzheimer’s patients.
It’s not just for chicken and stuffing! Sage tea is a rather pleasant and easy to make drink, you could even stir in a little sage honey…
Finely chop a bunch of sage leaves and fill a small, clean jar. Top with honey, making sure to stir all the air bubbles out (with a knife or chop stick), until the jar is nearly full. Let it sit for 2-3 days. Enjoy by the spoonful, in tea, or on toast!
Note that you can leave the sage leaves in the honey, or you can strain the leaves out if you don’t like the texture.
Other herbal honey flavours you might like to try: Mint Honey, Rosemary Honey, Lavender Honey, Basil Honey, and Goldenrod Honey – to name a few.