Until recently I had never made or tried using a herbal syrup. The main method of herbal administration I was taught in school was the tincture. While this is still my preferred medium of choice, syrups have some wonderful applications and benefits; both medicinal and none. Similar to maple syrup, herbal syrups can be used in tea or coffee as a sweetener and in foods such as oatmeal, yogurt and of course pancakes. Medicinally herbal syrups are delicious and easy to take, making them fantastic for children (depending on the herbs you use to make your syrup).
In general a herbal syrup is a sweetened and condensed herbal infusion or decoction. After doing quite a bit of reading and recipe searching I quickly realised that each herbalist has their own unique way of creating syrups. Taking what I learned I created my own recipe for Cinnamon Ginger syrup; a spicy, sweet and warming blend. The recipe can be found below.
In theory almost any herb can be used to make a syrup. Here are some suggestions of herbs that would make fantastic syrups. Feel free to experiment, but be cautious. Never make any medicine from a herb you are unfamiliar with.
- Elder Berry
- Lemon balm
- Pine needles
- Rose hips
- Wild Bergamot (Bee Balm)
Cinnamon Ginger Syrup Recipe
The first step is to create your herbal decoction. Please keep in mind that I made a rather large quantity of this syrup (it was for holiday gifts). Feel free to divide the ingredient measurements in half or quarters for smaller quantities.
What You’ll Need
- 1.5 ounces (42.5 grams) grated ginger root
- 7 cinnamon sticks
- 6 cups of filtered water
- 5 cups of sugar (any variety will do, but I used organic cane sugar)
- Local honey is also a great option
- Large saucepan with lid
- Large measuring cup or other large glass container (6+ cups)
- Metal knife
- Sterile jars (I used 250 ml mason jars)
Instructions – Decoction
- Place the grated ginger, cinnamon sticks and filtered water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- Once your mixture is boiling, reduce to a simmer. Place lid on saucepan.
- Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Place your metal knife in the large measuring cup (or other glass container).
- The knife will help absorb the heat so your glass doesn’t crack.
- Carefully (it’s hot) pour your decoction through a strainer.
- Rinse out your saucepan.
Instructions – Syrup
- Pour your herbal decoction back into your rinsed saucepan. You should have approximately 5 cups of liquid left.
- Add 5 cups of your sugar/sweetener of choice. Stir well.
- If you are using honey reduce the measurement to 3-3/4 cups.
- If you have less than 5 cups of liquid, match the sugar measurement to the amount of decoction you have left (e.g. 4 cups of liquid = 4 cups of sugar).
- Bring your mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and place the lid on your pot.
- Stir your syrup occasionally to avoid burning and to check on the consistency.
- Simmer for 2-3 hours (depending on how thick you want your syrup ).
- I simmered for 3 hours
- Once you’ve reached the consistency you desire the syrup can be poured into sterile jars.
- Place in the fridge. It should keep for 3-4 months.