A family favourite that we harvest and make during late summer and find very useful during the winter is Grindelia honey. It’s expectorant and sedative properties are warmly welcomed to soothe chest colds or asthmatic symptoms.
We infuse the fresh young Gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia) buds in honey on very low heat, stirring regularly for about 2 hours. We then strain the honey and refrigerate it to use at a later time if and when colds take ahold of our bodies in colder months.
Harvest season is meant for present enjoyment in addition to preservation for the future~ you can infuse the remaining Grindelia buds that are still saturated with honey into hot water, strain, and serve cool for warm summer days.
Generally a 1 fresh herb to 2 parts in weight honey is a good rule of thumb, although it is not always necessary to abide by exact measurements in the home kitchen!
When I’m creating medicine for my family I love to take an intuitive approach. The more experience you have with herbal preparations the more you may feel inclined to practice in this way, although it may be a matter of the chicken or the egg, where waiting to become the expert yields prolonging your wisdom from connecting in this moment. Trust yourself and have fun!
Extracting herbal chemistry with honey is most notably rooted in Arabic Folk medicine. Honey is a preferred choice to preserve plants as it does not go bad, in fact, honey can last for thousands of years! It extracts herbal constituents similar to water, and it can also draw out some properties that alcohol extracts. Essentially it is comparable to a 20-40% alcohol extraction.
Any fresh herb can be prepared this way, most notably those that are high in Anthocyanidins, such as Elderberry or Oregon Grape.
I hope this inspires in you the occasion to prepare an herbal honey for your healthy enjoyment!