You know when you’re a kid (or grownup) and you’re sick and you just don’t feel like eating, much less swallowing some horrid tasting mixture your mom gives you to help you feel better?
Well, this is where herbal jellos come into play.
They’re ideal vehicles to administer therapeutic doses of herbs to less than willing patients such as picky children, elderly folks with low appetite, and kind-of-cranky-when-they’re-sick adults that you may or may not be married to. :)
I first read about Herb Jello in: The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual by James Green. It’s a great book that covers pretty much any way you would ever want to prepare herbal remedies and treatments. His recipe calls for using tinctures and while that would work very well, I want to be a little more controlled with my dosing of those when it comes to my kids.
Herbal teas can be dosed by the cupful and I feel there is a bit more leniency in the amounts one ingests.
I realize that the ingredients in Jello aren’t the healthiest, but I like what James Green, in all of his herbal master wisdom says about that: “…with all that good herb that’s going to be taken, a little sugar isn’t going to hurt anyone.”
Jello also has a new line of “Simply Good” gelatin, made with no artificial dyes or flavors.
However, if you must avoid sugar for health reasons, you can also check out my Healthier Herbal Jello which avoids box mixes and uses fruit juice and gelatin.
To make an herbal jello, first you need to make a tea. You can use:
- a purchased herbal tea (a family favorite is Throat Coat by Traditional Medicinals)
- or dried herbs purchased in bulk from a place such as Mountain Rose Herbs
- or freshly gathered leaves and flowers from your own gardens (my favorite way!)
For store-bought teas, just follow the directions on the package. For dried herbs, use anywhere from 1 to 3 teaspoons in a glass jar. For fine powders such as olive leaf, I use around 1 teaspoon; for bulkier items such as dried elderberries, I use around 3 teaspoons. Freshly gathered herbs should be chopped and stuffed into the glass rather tightly.
Pour heated-just-to-boiling water over your dried or fresh herbs and cover with a saucer. Allow to steep until it’s cooled, then strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
While you can mix up an entire box of jello at once, I like to mix 1/4 to 1/2 of a box at a time. I’m going to give the instructions for using 1/4 of the box; you can double, triple or quadruple as desired.
Ingredients for Herbal Jello
- 1/4 box Jello (22 grams or 1 1/2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 cup prepared herbal tea
- 1/8 cup cold water (or additional herbal tea)
How to Make Herbal Jello
- Bring 1/4 cup of herbal tea to a boil.
- Pour over 1/4 box (22 grams) of Jello powder.
- Stir for 2 to 3 minutes, making sure gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Add the cold herbal tea or water, stir,
- Pour into a small glass dish or mold as desired.
- Refrigerate until firm and cut into slices.
- Dose out to your sick loved ones as needed!
Here are some herbs to consider:
- Elderberry: a fantastic anti-viral and one of the top herbs to consider when you’re facing the flu
- Lemon Balm: helpful for viral infections, cold sores, tummy upsets, and it calms and is conducive to a restful sleep
- Olive Leaf: antibacterial, antiviral, lowers fevers
- Peppermint: indigestion, colic
- Passionflower (leaves & stems): relieves muscle tension, helps sleep; do not use if pregnant (stimulates uterine contractions) and should not be used by children under 6 without medical supervision.
- Catnip: strong antifungal, helps insomnia and colic, not for use by pregnant women
- Chamomile: anti-inflammatory, soothes muscle spasms in stomach, calming, induces sleep; use caution if highly allergic to ragweed
- Valerian: helps insomnia and irritable bowels
- Ginger: antibacterial, antiparasitic, helps colds and upset stomachs, very effective for nausea, indigestion and morning sickness
- Yarrow: lowers fevers, helpful for colds and indigestion, not for use while pregnant, use caution if allergic to ragweed
- Blackberry leaf: helpful for mild diarrhea and sore throat
Remember, home remedies are great, but if you are sick for an extended period of time or have signs of something serious that might require antibiotics (such as strep), then please consult a qualified medical professional. This is simply a retelling of a method I employ in dosing remedies to my family when they have colds and other minor illnesses. No advice is implied for your particular and individual situations. I’m not affiliated with, sponsored or endorsed by Jello or Traditional Medicinals – I just like their products for this recipe! :)
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