Spring has sprung around my house! Two of my favorite plants to work with – dandelions and violets – are everywhere. By infusing them in pure honey we can enjoy the health benefits that each one offers.
Today, I want to show you how I use these lovely weeds to make a Spring Tonic Honey that’s helpful for allergies, sore throats & more!
We’re going to need three ingredients:
- raw honey (local if at all possible)
- fresh dandelion flowers
- fresh violet flowers
Raw honey is a healing food, all on its own. It’s soothing to the throat and GI tract, inhibits the growth of H. pylori (that nasty organism associated with ulcers), it can be used on the skin for acne or burns, and daily use of raw, local honey may help seasonal allergies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that honey should not be given to children under one year of age.
The entire common dandelion plant is edible and is a classic liver tonic. It’s traditionally used for joint pain, eczema and as a blood toner and mild diuretic. Dandelion root extract is even being researched for it’s cancer fighting abilities! The flowers are high in vitamin C, beta carotene and other nutrients. Dandelion is safe for most people but is not recommended if you have active gallstones or are on a prescription diuretic.
Violets are not only lovely to look at, but are cooling and healing. The stems, leaves and flowers are all edible and are traditionally used in fighting chronic diseases such as oral cancer and fibrocystic breast disease. They are especially useful for soothing skin irritations and eczema. Violets are generally recognized as safe, just be aware that they can act as a laxative in large enough doses.
Combine these three ingredients together and we have a super-charged honey to use in a myriad of way!
Spring Tonic Honey
- fresh dandelions and violets (make sure they are from unsprayed areas)
- raw, local honey (try your local farmer’s market for some)
Remove the green from the dandelions so that you have just the yellow petals. (Some bits of green might remain, that’s okay.) Remove the stems from the violets, but you don’t have to individually remove the petals.
Now, stuff these flowers into a small jar and slowly pour your raw honey over them. Stir with a knife to remove air bubbles. Let this sit in a cupboard for several days (some sources say several weeks) to allow the flowers to infuse into the honey.
Once sufficient time has passed, you can strain the flowers from the honey by slightly heating the mixture (don’t go above 110 degrees F since high temperatures negate the benefits of honey) then straining through cheesecloth. Alternatively, you can do what I do and just leave the flowers in and spoon around them. You can actually eat the honeyed flowers by the spoonful too. I find them quite yummy!
The shelf life of this honey (strained) is at least a year, but if you don’t strain the flowers be sure to check for freshness each time before consuming.
Here are some ways to use your Spring Tonic Honey:
- Seasonal Allergies: The general recommendation is to take one tablespoon of unprocessed honey per day to help alleviate seasonal allergies. You can stir this into hot tea, but make sure not to heat the honey over 110 degrees so that you don’t destroy the benefits of it being raw. Remember, honey is only recommended for those over the age of one year old.
- Detoxing: Take one to two tablespoons of unstrained Spring Tonic Honey per day. Eat the flower petals as well! For a stronger effect, you can make a tea from dandelion leaves and drink daily. (Finely mince leaves and place in a jar. Pour boiling water over and cap with a saucer. Let sit until cool enough to drink.) Note: high levels of dandelion are contraindicated for those with active gallstones or on prescription diuretics.
- Face Wash: This is not only great for acne but for dry, flaky skin as well. Honey seems to balance your skin no matter what type it is. Gently rub Spring Tonic Honey over your face. Rinse clean with fresh warm water. Towel dry softly. Straight dandelion sap, dabbed directly on blemishes, may help acne as well. Be careful not to get the sap in your eyes and do a small test patch first to make sure you’re not allergic.
- Wounds and Burns: This supercharged honey is amazing for using on wounds that won’t easily heal, or for mild burns. Be sure to strain it first before using in this way.
- Sore Throat: Take by the spoonful for sore throats caused by allergies or spring time colds. The extra nutrients and demulcents in the flowers help boost the soothing factor. If sinus drainage is making you feel a little queasy, try adding a dash of powdered ginger to the honey as well.
Remember, If you’re ever unsure about taking or using herbs, or if you’re pregnant, nursing or on any medication, be sure to consult your medical professional. Those with allergic reactions to dandelions, honey or violets should avoid this home remedy.
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