If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how very much I LOVE using violets. Not only are the flowers so pretty to look at each spring, the entire plant is edible and is helpful in a variety of ways.
In my last post that referenced violets: Violet Leaf Balm, I mentioned the skin soothing and lymph moving qualities of this amazing plant that makes it helpful for skin irritations and mild cases of fibrocystic breast disease.
Today, I want to show you how to make an easy syrup that is useful for coughs & respiratory afflictions. Interestingly, violets have also been studied for their anti-cancer benefits, and seem to be especially effective against oral lesions. Of course, none of these statements are FDA approved and a home remedy that works for one person will not always work for another, so approach any herbal concoction such as this with an open mind and the caveat that it may or may not work for your situation.
This is a very gentle syrup and ideal for children, however, please remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend honey for children under twelve months old.
One more note: violets have mild laxative properties. This may or may not be a welcome side-effect, depending on the symptoms of your cold.
This recipe comes from Making Plant Medicine which is a wonderful book that I have referenced a zillion times. The author is Richo Cech of Horizon Herbs and this guy knows his stuff! I HIGHLY recommend this book if you want to make your own herbal remedies.
Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup
- fresh or dried Violet Leaves
- honey (raw is preferable, raw & local is ideal)
The basic syrup formula is 1 part violet leaf decoction to 2 (or 3) parts honey.
Gather your violet leaves, or use dried, and place them in a jar. If you don’t have violets growing locally, you can order organic leaves from Mountain Rose Herbs. (African Violets – the houseplant – are NOT true violets and should NOT be used as a substitute.)
I like to make smaller batches of this, so fill the jar no more than 1/3 full. Pour cold water over the leaves and let soak all night. In the morning, simmer this mixture for 15 minutes then strain the liquid from the leaves. You will have a strong green-tinged tea or decoction.
Measure out a small amount of the liquid. (Save the leftover violet leaf tea to pour in your bathwater. Also, there have been reports that violet leaf tea soaked cloths, held on the back of the neck, can help relieve headaches.) I used 50 ml for this batch.
Now, you’ll want to add twice as much honey; other herbalists like to add three times the amount – that is a personal preference that is completely up to you. I added a little over 100 ml of honey, because that was how much I had left in my jar.
Over very low heat, gently stir the honey and decoction together until it is fully incorporated. At no time should this simmer or boil – you want to keep the heat under 110 degrees F so as not to destroy the benefits of raw honey.
Pour into a sterilized jar and cap tightly. Store in the refrigerator. Shelf life is at least a month. Stirring in several tablespoons of vodka or brandy will help preserve the mixture much longer.
Make sure you label your new creation so it won’t get mixed up with your others!
Dosing is 1 to 2 teaspoons for children, 1 tablespoon for adults up to five times per day, as needed. You can further mix this with tinctures upon dosing, if desired. For example, I often use a ginger tincture for my kids if they have a tummy ache. Instead of mixing with a spoonful of plain honey, as I often do, I can mix the tincture with a spoonful of this honey syrup as a kind of double punch in trying to knock the symptoms of illness out.
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