This simple herbal syrup recipe combines calming herbs with raw honey, creating a tasty and effective dose of natural stress relief.
- Lemon Balm – which acts as a mild sedative, helps calm nerves & improves mood (two interesting studies HERE and HERE)
- St. John’s Wort* – a proven antidepressant and mood lifter, also helps with chronic pain & nerve damage (multiple studies to explore HERE)
- Ashwagandha – an adaptogen, when taken over time can help calm nervousness and anxiety, while building back overall energy (great article on it HERE)
* St. John’s Wort is contraindicated for some people. Please read this Mayo Clinic article before taking. As a milder substitute, you may want to investigate using chamomile instead.
There are two different ways you can make this recipe.
I prefer using the herbs as tinctures and then combining with honey because these types of combinations have an incredibly long shelf life. You can make up a big batch at once and have enough for at least a year’s supply.
If you’re aiming for an alcohol-free version instead, you can use the tea/honey version detailed below.
You can buy tinctures that are ready made (I like Herb Pharm brand) or you can make your own.
To Make a Tincture
My all-time favorite herbal reference book, Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech, has several formulas for making tinctures if you’d like to make a standardized tincture that is similar from batch to batch.
I like to use the folk method in most cases though.
For that, I just stuff a jar about half-way full with the fresh flower or leaf I want to use (or about 1/4 full for dried herbs & flowers) and then cover with a high proof alcohol like vodka.
Label, cap and store in a dark area for about 3 or 4 weeks. Strain and it’s ready to use. Shelf life of tinctures made in this manner are at least one year, though they more often stay active for several years.
To Make the Syrup
Tincture method – The basic formula is 1 part lemon balm tincture + 1 part St John’s wort tincture + 1 part ashwagandha tincture + 3 to 4 parts honey.
Example: 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon balm tincture + 2 tbsp (30 ml) St John’s wort tincture + 2 tbsp (30 ml) ashwagandha tincture + 6 to 8 tbsp (90 to 120 ml) honey.
Combine the tinctures and honey in a small glass canning jar. (Herbal remedies store best in glass, not plastics.) Stir together well, label, cap and store in your pantry or medicine cabinet. Shelf life is at least 1 year, if not longer.
When someone is having a stressful few days or can’t sleep well, I pull this out and dose 1 or 2 teaspoons at a time.
We don’t have tons of stress in our life, so one or two doses in the evening/before bed usually does the trick. Adjust amounts as needed for your situation, consulting a professional health care provider if you have personalized questions.
Tea method – If you’d like to make a version of this syrup without including tinctures, Mountain Rose Herbs has a good writeup on making herbal syrups HERE.
To Make the Printable Labels
You can find the file for the printable labels HERE, sized to fit a standard sized canning lid.
(Also included on the sheet are labels for Stress Relief Lotion – that recipe can be found HERE!)
For best results, make sure that your print settings are set to “actual size”.
Print out on repositional sticker paper (I use THIS KIND), cut into round label shapes and affix to the lid of your syrup. (Don’t forget to add the date!)
If you don’t have sticker paper handy, you could also print on regular printer paper and use a glue stick to carefully attach each label to canning lids.