This elixir of life strengthens the brain and memory, keeps the blood thin, blood pressure balanced, nerves strong and circulation prime. It also encourages the appetite and gratifies the stomach. In older times, this strong tonic would have been made with mead, a fermented honey drink. This recipe could also be turned into a tincture or a tonic wine.
57gm (2oz) Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), fresh or dried
30ml (2 tbsp) Sage (Salvia officinalis), fresh or dried
15ml (1 tbsp) Basil (Ocimum basilicum), fresh or dried
15ml (1 tbsp) Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), fresh or dried
20ml (4 tsp) Fennel Seeds (Foeniculum vulgare), crushed
4 cloves crushed garlic, Allium sativum - optional
10ml (2 tsp) Ground Ginger Powder (Zingiber officinale), powder or 5ml (1 tsp) of Cayenne pepper (Capsicum minimum)
Juice of 2 Lemons (Citrus limonum), and 5cm (2in) peel
20 Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum. syn Eugenia caryophyllata)
6 Cardamom pods (Elettaria cardamomum) - optional
1.75 litres (7.5 cups or 3 US pints) water
450gm (1lb) honey
Method: Make a decoction from all the ingredients except the honey. You are, in effect, making a syrup.
The principle is always the same: Put the herbs and water in pan and bring to a boil. Cover, making sure no steam escapes, and lower the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Let cool a bit and then strain well. Discard the herbs.
Put liquid in another pan, under very low heat, simmer gently. Reduce the liquid to 300ml (1.25 cups or just over 0.5 US pints). The slower the reduction, the better. This reduced liquid is called a decoction.
Add the honey to the pan. Dissolve slowly and simmer until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency.
Let it bubble for just a moment. If you overheat the mixture, you'll get herbal toffee instead.
Dosage: This is a strong tonic.
5 ml (1 tsp) 2 - 4 times a day
Contraindication: Honey should not be taken by the diabetic or the sugar intolerant.
A word or two about honey
Honey supplies all the sustenance for bees -- meaning energy, enzymes, minerals and trace elements. Honey is easily digested and gives fast energy because the sugars in the honey are pre-digested. This is particularly useful to the old, weak or convalescent; their bodies have less work to do to release the energy. Always use single, unblended honey as it takes on some of the qualities of the plant from which the pollen is gathered.
|The recipes above are courtesy of Christopher Hedley, AHG and Non Shaw. The Herbmonger first appeared on the Herb Society website in 1998 and continued until about 2002. It is the creation of Christopher Hedley AHG and Non Shaw and reappears on the Herb Society website with the kind permission of Chris and Non.
Both are practising medical herbalists in London and have co-authored Herbal Remedies: A Practical Beginner's Guide to Making Effective Remedies in the Kitchen. Parragon Press, 1996 ISBN-10: 0752577514