Syrups & Elixirs & Tonics, part 1

Syrups, elixirs, and tonics are my favorite herbal preparations to make and gift. I also keep a few on hand for myself. This is how I define these three concoctions.

Syrup – Made with herbs, water, and sugar (or honey)

Elderberry Syrup

Elixir – Made with herbs, honey (or maple syrup), and alcohol

A lovely winter elixir for gift-giving

Tonic – Made with herbs, honey, and vinegar.

Fire cider in the making

Making a Syrup

There are endless types of syrups to make depending on need, taste, and ingredient availability. I make all of my syrups the same way.

  • 1 part herb/herbs – fresh or dry
  • 1 part raw honey or maple syrup
  • 2 parts water (for fresh herbs) OR 4 parts water (if using dried herbs)
  • Raw honey and real maple syrup are both expensive. You can also use a simple syrup made from white or brown sugar. Just mix 1 cup sugar into 1 cup heated water and stir until sugar is melted and the syrup thickens.
This is my recipe for Elderberry Syrup
  • 1 cup of dried elderberries,
  • an inch of sliced fresh ginger,
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries,
  • 2 cinnamon sticks,
  • 4 cups of water,
  • 1 cup of homemade maple syrup

Mix all ingredients except the maple syrup into a pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until there are about 2 cups of liquid left. Once the mixture has cooled a bit, strain the liquid into another pot – squeezing the plant matter to get every last drop. The plant matter can be composted, if you’d like. Mix the 1 cup of honey into the (room-temperature) 2 cups of elderberry decoction. Pour into sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator. This should keep for 3-6 months in the fridge if tightly covered.

Elderberry is an anti-viral and interferes with cold and flu virus replication. Take 2 teaspoon – 3 times a day when you first start to have symptoms. This should significantly shorten the length of your illness. Some folks like to take a teaspoon a day of elderberry syrup while feeling healthy.

Stay tuned for part 2 – Elixirs

Aquene, Cher

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