So we know that raw honey is medicine, right?
We know that raw honey is:
-Filled with antioxidants (and flavonoids and other polyphenols)
-Wound-healing, both internally and externally.
Because of this and more (read the NCBI studies below), raw honey is a great addition to your winter apothecary. I generally make three kinds of infused honey, but the possibilities are truly endless. If you start today, you'll have medicinal honey infused and ready to go when the first round of sniffles and scratchy throats comes your way.
-Clean pint jars and lids
-Wax paper (to place between jars and lids)
-Non-metal stirring tools (I buy packages of wooden skewers)
-Clean cloth for wiping jar rims
-RAW honey (pasteurized honey has been heated and has therefore lost much of its beneficial properties)
-Lemons (I buy a bag of organic lemons)
-Garlic (I buy four or five heads of organic garlic*)
-Thyme (Fresh for our purposes today. Organic if you can find it.)
For lemon honey: After slicing off both ends, stand the lemon on one end and cut straight down the center. Slice each half into quarter-inch half-moons. Stack both halves (making a full moon) in a clean pint jar until you could add just one more layer (but don't!). Fill jar with honey. Use your skewer to scooch the lemons around so that honey reaches the fruit and not just the rind and so that the juice of the lemon has permission to get nice and friendly with the honey. Cover with wax paper, seal with lid and place on counter for five days, occasionally inverting jar so that no lemon feels left out. After five days, move to refrigerator.
Benefits of lemon honey:
-Both lemon and honey sooth sore and scratchy throats.
-Excellent source of Vitamin C.
-Yummy addition to herbal tea. Simply fish out a half or full moon with a clean spoon and add it to your tea.
-Kids love to suck on lemons (the little weirdos). A lemon honey half moon will keep your littles busy while they ingest the benefits of both the lemon and the honey.
For garlic honey: Peel and smash (but don't obliterate) garlic heads so that you have individual, smashed cloves. Fill your clean jar slightly more than 3/4 full of the cloves. Fill jar with honey. Use a clean skewer to stir and introduce the garlic cloves to the honey. Cover with wax paper, seal with lid and place on counter for five days before moving to fridge. If your garlic is inclined to rise, feel free to invert jar whenever you happen by.
Benefits of garlic honey:
-Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal.
-I use it as an antibiotic at the onset of anything that does not seem like a virus. I do this by fishing out one of the crushed cloves along with a teaspoon of honey and then swallowing the garlic whole. I do this hourly, or even on the half-hour, until it no longer feels like I'm going to die**.
For thyme honey: Rinse thyme sprigs and dry them completely with paper towels. Cut each sprig in half. Fill jar 3/4 full with thyme sprigs. (Note: you can chop up your thyme if you'd like, but I find it impossible to strain honey, and I find it impossible to get my people to take the honey with thyme bits in it.) Fill jar with honey. Use clean skewer to stir. Cover with wax paper, seal with lid and place on counter for five days before moving to fridge. Flip jar as you feel led.
Benefits of thyme honey:
-Thyme is carminative, antiseptic, expectorant, antitussive. This means it dispels gas and gassy tummy aches, it kills germs, it helps an unproductive cough become productive, and it helps calm coughs.
-Thyme honey is a great addition to something like my Cold Day Tea (Tulsi, ginger, black pepper), or even to a simple cup of chamomile tea. Because we have left them intact, it's easy to scoop out a sprig (or two) along with its attendant honey, a stir it into a cup of tea.
You can make your herbal honey as simples (simple = one herb), or you can use combinations of herbs. For example: I really like to add a bit of fresh ginger root to my lemon honey.
A tablespoon of lavender honey before bed is a wonderful way to not only ease into sleep, but also to stay there.
If your raw honey has crystallized, or is otherwise resisting your attempts to pour it, stick it in a sunny window for half an hour or place it in a pan of warm (not hot!) water. DO NOT MICROWAVE. DO NOT BRING WARMING WATER TO A BOIL. DO NOT PLACE HONEY IN A PAN THAT IS ON A HOT BURNER. We don't want to raise the honey to a temp higher than 95 degrees. Heat kills beneficial enzymes. DON'T BE A KILLER.
Have questions? Please ask!
Go forth and make herbal honey! Be sure to tell me about it when you do.
*Confession: I found a bag of Organics brand whole peeled garlic. Guess what I'm using this year?
**I'm not a doctor. I'm not telling you to not see your doctor. I'm simply telling you what I do.