This homemade syrup is delicious and healthy. It is a wonderful herbal remedy that the kids and adults will love. This is also amazingly easy to make. It can keep you from getting sick and it also helps you get over your illness faster.
I made this with Elderberry, elderflower, cinnamon, ginger, orange peel, and honey. I will go over the health benefits of all of the herbs later on in this tutorial.
Caution: Not suitable for children under 1 year of age. Honey should not be given to any child younger then one year old. Also, do not take elderberry or elder flower if you are fighting cancer. This can have a negative affect on you. Try using Astragalus root instead, this has some of the same benefits. If you are curious about the benefits or side effects of the herbs, feel free to look them up. Keep in mind that this is homemade herbal medicine. If you notice any negative effects, stop taking immediately or consult your doctor.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Equipment
Here is the list of equipment and ingrediants you will need. I did not put how much of each ingredients that you will need since it is subject to change as you make this. It varys depending on how much you put in. I will go over that in the next step.
• Stainless Steel Pot with Lid
• 1 sq ft of cloth (old t-shirt or plain unbleached cotton, clean)
• Large bowl
• Liquid measuring cup and tablespoon
• Wooden spoon
• Bottles for storage
• Funnel (to put liquid into bottles)
• Label maker and scissors (optional)
- Elderflower (optional)
- Orange peel
- Ginger root
- Cinnamon bark (pieces) - You can crush up cinnamon sticks for this if you need to.
• Water - Either filtered or distilled
You can find all of these ingredients online or in health/herb store. I have ordered from Mountain Rose online (Elderflower) and have gotten some from local stores (sold in one ounce bags). You should be able to find them all easily.
Step 2: Measuring the Ingredients
We are going to start by making a decoction. A decoction is basically a tea that is simmered for a longer period of time. Decoctions are to be used within 2 weeks if it is kept in the fridge, but we will be turning it into a syrup. This will make it so it is shelf stable and will last for at least 1 year. I tend to go through it faster than that.
To make a decoction, you need one cup of water for every tablespoon of dried herbs. If you use fresh herbs, you would use one cup of water to 3 tablespoons of herb. This will extract the desired components from the herb.
Here what I put into the pot:
-2 tablespoons dried Elderberry
-1 Tablespoon dried Elderflower
-1 Tablespoon Ginger Root
-1 Tablespoon Cinnamon bark (in pieces, don't use powder or whole sticks)
-1 Tablespoon Orange Peel
The first picture is the herbs that I put into the pot. I had 6 tablespoons of dried herbs that means I add 6 cups of water to the pot. That is the second picture.
Step 3: Making the Decoction
Now you need to add the heat. Bring the pot to a boil. Then, turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally . This will extract all of the nutrients out of the herbs. The first picture shows the boiling. The second one shows it simmering away. You can see the nice dark purple color the liquid turned from the elderberries.
Note: You don't want to wear white or clothes that stain easily when you are making this recipe. You will have a hard time getting the stains out.
I am going to now go over the health benefits of each of the ingredients while we are waiting to the pot to finish simmering. Please keep in mind that the herbs do much more then what I am listing. I am just listing the properties that I am interested in for this syrup.
Elderberry: These guys are full of antioxidants. Any dark red or dark blue fruit of any kind is full of antioxidants. Elderberries are also the best thing for fighting off a flu or cold. It is anti-viral and anti-microbial. This means it will take care of all kinds of nasty bugs that try to get you sick. There have been some studies done by scientists lately trying to find what the anti-viral property in elderberries is. Every year they make a new vaccine for the new flu that evolved, but elderberries fight all of the flu viruses. If they can find this compound, that would mean no need for a new flu shot each year. So, it is the best to help fight off almost any disease.
Elderflower: This one is optional. The elderberry takes care of most things, but I give it a boost with the elderflower. Elderflower is similar to elderberry in that it boosts the immune system and is perfect for fighting off a cold and upper respiratory infections. If you cannot find this, you do not have to use it. I made a syrup without it and it was nearly as effective.
Ginger Root: This is a really warming herb, which is great when you are sick. Usually you get sick, you feel cold as your body tries to fight off the illness. This will warm you up. It is stimulating and has been used for centuries as a anti-nausea agent. It also helps with dizziness and vertigo.
Cinnamon Bark: This is also a warming herb. This herb improves circulation and digestion. It also has some affect as a antimicrobial and antifungal agent. Powdered cinnamon and honey is also an amazing aid in curing the common cold, add the other ingredients just boost the benefits.
Orange Peel: Orange Peel is full of vitamin C. There is more vitamin C in the orange peel then in the entire orange. Orange peel is antimicrobial and anti-inflamitory. This means it will keel the problem bacteria and reduce soreness and swelling.
Honey: This is a really soothing ingredient. It soothes sore throats. It is also anti- microbial and anti-viral. It is the preserving part of the syrup that makes this whole thing shelf stable. Honey never goes bad, it just crystallizes. After it is crystallized, it can be warmed to be used again. They found honey in the tombs of Egypt that was still usable after thousands of years. This is why we will be using so much of the honey. It will keep the syrup from going bad. We will get to that later.
Step 4: Straining the Decoction
Now that it has simmered for 30 to 45 minutes, the herbs have given their all. It is time to strain them out and continue with the process. I put a mesh strainer over a large bowl. I then put a cloth on top of the strainer. This keeps the very small pieces of herbs from staying in the liquid and causing the syrup to go bad. I use plain cotton cloth that has been cut into squares and is clean. You can always rewash the cloth to use it again. If you do not have any extra lying around, you could use a old cotton t-shirt (clean) or even several layers of cheese cloth.
Pour the liquid into the strainer. Scoop out all of the herbs into the strainer. Rinse out the pot at this point since we will need it again in a minute. Let the mix sit for a minute so all the liquid goes through the strainer. Let it set for a few minutes to cool, then left up the ends of the cloth and let the liquid drip off. I will twist the cloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as I can get from the herbs. REMEMBER: This is hot and can stain your clothes. If you do this step, your hands will turn colors for a day. I think that the liquid in the herbs is worth this step.
Step 5: Reducing Decoction
After getting the wonderful dark purple liquid, pour it back into the pot. It needs to be reduced down. All the water we put into it was necessary to extract the nutrients from the herbs. However, we do not need a watered down syrup. We want the strongest syrup possible so it works quickly. I measured it again before putting it into the pot. I had 6 cups of liquid still. I like to reduce it down to one third but you could also do it by a half. Since I had 6 cups, that means I want to reduce it down to 2 cups. So put the liquid back in the pot and turn up the heat to bring to to a boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced.
My pot has a line on the side that I can use to see how many cups of liquid I have in the pot. I used this to keep any eye on the level of the liquid. If you do not have a pot like this, you can use the wooden spoon that you used to mix the liquid. Put the handle into the liquid and mark were the liquid went to with a rubber band. Then measure the liquid as you go. After I boiled it down, I put into my liquid measuring cup to see how much I had. (You don't have to be as precise as I was. I am just a stickler like that.)
Step 6: Making Decoction Into Syrup
We now want to add the same amount of honey as we have of reduced decoction. Since we ended with 2 cups of decoction, we will add two cups. The third picture shows the liquid floating on the honey. I make sure to add the honey when the liquid is still warm. Trying to mix in the honey when the liquid is cold is very hard. So mix it until it is completely combined. Next, we will bottle the finished syrup.
Step 7: Bottling Syrup and Dosage
Next is bottling the syrup. I use dark colored bottles, this helps prevent UV light from getting in to it. That helps make it last longer, but I always use it all with in a year, but it is not completely necessary. You can use mason jars and even old applesauce jars. As long as it is glass and has a tight fitting lid. Since plastics contain toxins that can leak into fluids, they could be absorbed into the syrup. This is why I perfer to use glass. I use my lable maker so I can keep track of what is in each bottle. I make lots of different kinds of herbal medication, so I like to know what is in each bottle before I open it. I like to put the syrup into several smaller bottles and one large one. On the large one, I put the date created and the ingredients inside. This way I know what I put into it and remember the recipe. I also like to have a few smaller bottles, so I can take the syrup with me if I need it.
Dosage: For kids, you want to do 1 teaspoon a day for 6 weeks, then stop for a week. (This is to prevent your body from building a resistance to the medicine.) If they do get sick, increase the syrup to taking 1 teaspoon 4-5 times a day, as needed.
For adult, take 1 tablespoon a day for 6 weeks, then stop for a week. If you do get sick, up to taking 1 tablespoon 4-5 times a day as needed.
Also, I have been noticed that when I am sick with a sore throat and I take the syrup, it will burn my throat for a few minutes after taking it. I view this as it is working and killing the things that are causing my throat to hurt. The honey will sooth it, but the cinnamon and ginger do cause a warming/burning sensation and this is amplified when you are sick.
There you go. You now have a wonderful syrup that will help to keep you healthy and happy. Enjoy!!!