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Herb-Infused Honeys

Combine local herbs with raw honey to create a sweet treat that’s equal parts tasty and medicinal.

| Mary / June 2018

  • Honey isn't just for sweetening food; it's also a powerful medicinal that is just as healthy as it is tasty.
    Photo by Getty Images/kobeza
  • Whether dried or fresh, herbs make a suitable tasty and medicinal companion to honey.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Natasha Breen
  • Without bees, honey as well as a huge collection of other foods would not be able to exist.
    Photo by Getty Images/Antagain
  • Anise hyssop is one of many choices of herbs to add to your honey.
    Photo by Getty Images/scisettialfio
  • Adding rose hips to honey helps preserve the vitamin C found in this plant.
    Photo by Getty Images/martinatobolova
  • Several species of pine can work in herbal honeys.
    Photo by Getty Images/vetas

One of my favorite sounds of summer is the busy buzz of bees as they gather nectar from flowering trees and plants. What a wondrous partnership! Each worker bee drinks the sweet gift of nectar while simultaneously aiding the flower in reproduction through pollination.

The honeybee then transforms the foraged nectar into the sticky, sweet, enticingly delicious mixture we relish. And here, another partnership can bloom: A beekeeper who tends to the well-being of their hives receives the gift of honey in exchange.

In addition to being a sweet treat, honey has many medicinal virtues. According to a review in Pharmacognosy Research, it was historically used for a wide range of diseases, including eye diseases, bronchial asthma, throat infections, tuberculosis, thirst, hiccups, fatigue, dizziness, hepatitis, constipation, worm infestation, piles, eczema, ulcers, and wounds. Today, studies have validated many of these uses, especially in regards to respiratory illnesses (including sore throats and coughs), eye disease, and wounds and burns.

While honey alone offers potent medicine, infusing honey with medicinal herbs results in a simple yet powerful combination. Herbal honey is one of my favorite remedies, not only because of its safety and effectiveness, but also because this medicine can be made entirely from local ingredients, thus creating a beautiful and reciprocal relationship between plants, insects, and humans. We can grow the flowering plants that bees love; delight in their busy buzzing as they drink up the nectar; tend to their hives (or support local beekeepers); and then marry the resulting honey with herbal medicines for ourselves, friends, and family.

Herbal honey is incredibly easy to make, has a variety of uses and a long shelf life, and is a beautiful way to capture the taste of summer. There are several different ways to make this sweet medicine, each with its own benefits.

When you’re ready to create your own herbal honeys, look for nearby beekeepers or head to your local grocery and natural health food stores to purchase honey that was made in your area.

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