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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What a good idea! I’ve just been woken by distressed son, saying he can’t swallow. Luckily, he loves elderberry cordial (with sugar- I’m with James Green on that one- and cloves), so he’s just drunk a big mug of that with hot water.
I know what I’ll be making this morning now, especially as I was planning on finding some late blackberries anyway!
Hi Hazel, I hope your son feels better! I made these yesterday for my own little guy – he woke up with a sore throat and no appetite for anything but soup and jello. He’s feeling much better this morning & I do think his herbal jello helped. :)
Elderberry does wonders! I’m sure going to try this too :) I’m just happy to get away from all the artificial coloring.
Great idea! I never thought of this before, but it makes perfect sense. Will have to keep this in mind!
Hi Tammy, I thought the same thing when I first read about it too! I really like that every herb I’ve tried so far has been completely undetectable in the finished product; even the strongly flavored olive leaf tea which my kids usually gag and act like they’re going to die just from one spoonful of it! :)
LOVE this idea, grazie
So do you just use flavored jello and then substitute the herbal tea for the water? Just making sure I fully understand.
Yes, that is exactly right! :)
Jan, this is AWESOME! My kids love jello, especially when they are sick. I am sooo doing this! :-)
Great! I’m glad you found the idea useful! :)
I keep forgetting to have my husband pick up some jello! We are all getting sore throats & I want to make this! I made the vinegar/honey stuff, and it is really helping a LOT! You rock, Jan!
I’m glad the vinegar & honey stuff is helping! :)
OK.. So… I made this! I made lemon jello with chamomile and lemon balm tea (I just brewed them together). The kids LOVED it! I have fruit punch jello and I am going to make some more. :-)
Love, love, love this! :-)
Yay! Glad your kids loved it!!! My son keeps asking for more soon too! :D
This is a great idea! For a healthier version of jello, just use geletin (Great Lakes braind is from Grass-Fed animals), and sweeten with honey! Then you could add natural flavoring extracts or add juice as part of the liquid. I’m looking forward to trying this!
Hi Joanna! :) I made a follow-up version using unsweetened juice & gelatin and infused the juice with the herbs before making. I was happy with how it turned out! (especially the elderberry grape – yum!)
Very clever idea! Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad I found this; I’m Very willing to try this out. I’ll get back to you about it, after I try it. Thanks!!! :)
Hi Robin, I hope it works out well for you! :)
If you don’t want to use commercially flavored Jello, you can also opt for using unflavored gelatin & then, sweeten with your preferred type ( honey, demarrara stevia, etc.) & then use herbs of your choice. A bit healthier alternative, I feel.
Hi Beatrice, That’s a great idea – thanks for sharing! I also have a healthier version using juice and plain gelatin here: https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/healthier-herbal-jello/
I love this recipe! I’ve been taking raspberry leaf tea for relief of menstrual cramps and bloating and such. It works like a charm! So much better than Midol or Pamprin, since those contain caffeine and if I take one after noon I can’t sleep all night. But, I am not crazy about the flavour of raspberry leaf tea. It’s not bad, but it’s not great. So I made an herbal jello out of it and now it does taste great!
Hi Christina, That’s great that you like the recipe! It’s definitely a tasty way to take herbal treatments! :)
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