Herbal Honeys & Pastes for Blood Building, Burn Dressings & More

It’s become fairly common knowledge even among the scientific establishment that honey makes a superior burn and wound dressing. It’s especially good at preventing and resolving infection, even with antibiotic resistant infections. It also excels at keeping inflammation to a manageable level and seems to help the regeneration of new tissue.

The next obvious step is to use herbal honeys for wound and burn dressings! If raw honey is already an amazing treatment then adding the further healing properties of herbs can only improve the mix, right?

So here’s a basic recipe for an herbal honey and some ideas for herbs to use especially for wound and burn dressings. You can, of course, eat the honey as well in order to integrate healing into the body, and because they taste good.

Fresh Herb Infused Honey

1 glass jar with lid
enough raw, preferably local, honey to fill the jar
enough fresh plant matter to fill the jar (less for roots, more for flowers)
a chopstick or stick

Fill the jar, more or less, with roughly chopped (or smushed, for berries) plant matter. Then, drench the plants with slightly warmed (enough to be pourable) honey until almost full. Stir with stick or chopstick until thoroughly mixed. Then poke at the mixture to release any remaining air bubbles. Top off with more honey.

Let sit for a few to six weeks in a warm place or until the honey takes on the taste and fragrance of the herb. If the herb you used is not terribly palatable, then strain it off and preserve the honey. Otherwise, I like to keep the herb in the honey to nibble on, use in food, etc. If you live in a humid, moldy climate you may want to either keep the jar in the fridge or add some (as you like, any amount will help preserve it) brandy or rum to the mix. I’ve never had a problem with my honeys going off, but some people do with fresh plants.

Dried Herb Infused Honey

1 glass jar with lid
enough raw, preferably local, honey to fill the jar
enough dried plant matter to fill the jar about a third of the way (less for roots, more for flowers)
a chopstick or stick

If you have tough roots or woody plant matter to deal with you may want grind it up a bit to expose more cellular surface to the honey. For flowers or leaves just break down with you hands or a mortar and pestle to a fairly regular cut sifted kind of texture. Place herbs in jar, cover with honey, stir and poke as above. Top off with more honey and let sit, finish just as above. See, easy.

Honey Paste Variation: If you use a finely ground herb to mix with the honey you can just stir it together and make a lovely honey paste, then you don’t want to strain at all, but keep the plant in the honey. You may also want to use a higher proportion of herb to honey in this case, at it will thicken with time. You can then make little honey balls called pastilles and roll them in some herbal powder (licorice is popular) and let them dry for a few days. They make excellent cough drops and slow release herbal pills. Or you can just keep it as a paste to apply directly, eat directly or add to tea. This preserves the herb indefinitely and is an excellent vehicle for the whole plant. Fragrant roots such as Ginger, Osha, Sweet Flag, Echinacea etc all do very well this way. Dried berries are also great this way.

Favorite Herbal Honeys

Rose petal Honey - It tastes AMAZING, it’s cooling and relaxing. Externally, it’s amazing for burns and infections of all kinds

Bee Balm Flower Honey – Mmm, spicy, sweet, invigorating and relaxing. Another great anti-infective and burn soother. Great internally for coughs, sore throats and lung stuff. And basically anything else that Bee Balm is normally good for.

Ginger Root Honey – Warming, stimulating and especially good for old wounds that refuse to heal.

Elderberry Honey – An old favorite! Great for immune modulation and energy as expected but also great externally for nearly any kind of wound or burn.

Rosehip Honey – This, and any other berry honey, makes an excellent tonic to build the blood and gently restore the nutritive balance of the body. Great for deficiency caused anemia and weakness.

Sage Honey – Extra nice for sore throats and lung stuff. Also very useful active infections.

Happy Girl Honey (inspired by Ananda)
1 part Goldenrod flowers, 1 part Lemon Balm and 1 part Ginger – A nice, tasty mood lifting winter survival honey.

Elder Mother Honey
2 Part Elderberry, 1 Part Elderflowers, 1 Part Rosehips, 1/2 Part Osha & 1/4 Part Ginger or Sweet Flag
Great for viruses and immune stuff, especially bugs that settle in the lungs and never want to leave. It’s great even without the Osha. I really like this with at least some portion of rum or brandy.

Winter Root Honey
1 Part Osha, 1 Part Sweet Root, 1 Part Wild Ginger & 1 Part Monarda Flowers
An adaptation of a Michael Moore suggestion. Strong, hot and sweat inducing.

Honey Paste Recipes

Bear Medicine Honey Paste
3 Part Elderflower, 1 Part Rosehips, 1/2 Part Osha, 1/2 Part Mallow & 1/4 part Lemon or Orange Peel
Make it nice and thick and suck on a little chunk when you start getting a scratchy throat in the Winter.

Briar Rose Deluxe Honey Paste
2 Parts Rose petals, 1 Part Rose hip, 1/4 Part Orange Peel, 1/4 Part Ginger
Nice on the sore throats, is nearly as good just made with powdered Rose petals and honey. You can spice it up more with Cardamon if you like.

Ok, I’ve wandered a bit from burn dressings, but you get the idea. Most all of these recipes are extremely multi-purpose and can be used for both external and internal use. Enjoy!

17 Comments

  1. kristine
    Oct 22, 2007

    one teaspoon 3 times a day is recommended for therapeutic doses. for me, it helps to cure those ‘sweet tooth’ cravings while it kills candida. what could be better than that?!

    what a great lot of recipes. they all sound so yummy. have you ever tried chokecherry bark in honey?

  2. Kiva Rose
    Oct 22, 2007

    Hey Kristine, what’s your reference for the candida stuff? Do you have a link or a book, I’d like to look into it more.

    I haven’t done chokecherry bark honey yet, just chokecherry bark elixir with honey and brandy…. it’s on the todo list though!

  3. shamana flora
    Oct 22, 2007

    mmmm, briar rose honey is on my to do list! devine! I really enjoyed a rosehip astragalus honey past last winter, and paul passed around echinacea and osha paste around class the other week. YUMMY!

    thanks for the yummy recipies!

    if only good honey wasn’t so $$$.

  4. Kiva Rose
    Oct 22, 2007

    Oh, I know…. there must be somebody local to you though that you can buy it in bulk from, right?

    I end up making honeys in tiny batches for the most part, in little baby food jars or similar.

  5. kate
    Oct 22, 2007

    “If the herb you used is not terribly palatable, then strain it off and preserve the honey. ”

    How do you do that Kiva? Warm the honey and then strain through muslin? Preserve with?

    I made SJW flower honey last summer, grinding the flowers first. It’s an interesting taste, but I haven’t used it internally for medicine yet, just taking the occasional taste. It might make a good wound healer though, especially burns? I hadn’t thought of that.

  6. Kiva Rose
    Oct 22, 2007

    I meant that in the cookbook sense, strain out and discard the plant matter and keep (preserve) the honey.

    But yes, warm the honey and put it through a mesh strainer, muslin may work eventually but it’s a sticky nightmare in the meantime.

    Oh yes, the SJW honey would be wonderful for burns and wounds!

  7. Rebecca
    Oct 23, 2007

    Oh, yum.

    It seems to be the year of herbal honeys.

    We’re all writing about them on our blogs and talking about them on the herbwifery forum.

    I wonder why now?

  8. kristine
    Oct 23, 2007

    patricia kyritsi howell talked about using it during her seminar at the southeast women’s herbal conference. i went onto the waikato institutes page and found this:

    http://iadr.confex.com/iadr/2004Hawaii/techprogram/abstract_43358.htm

    it talks about its effectiveness for oral candida. in another section, it talks about honey being effective against other types of fungus.

    i couldn’t find a direct link to where she got her research. i may email her and ask her if she remembers where she found it.

  9. Kiva Rose
    Oct 23, 2007

    Interesting, thanks for this Kristine, I’d love to know if Patricia has any first hand experience with this and any other references she might have.

    So this would be direct application as opposed to internal use. And they’re specifically referring to Manuka honey and Manuka itself is very antimicrobial.

    Theoretically then, we’d need a honey made from a plant that had similar qualities. Probably not your typical clover honey.

    We do know that all high quality honey is generally antimicrobial.

    Here’s a quote from a pubmed study that can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=16099322&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus

    RESULTS: Twelve of the 13 bacteria were inhibited by all honeys used in this study with only Serratia marcescens and the yeast Candida albicans not inhibited by the honeys. Little or no antibacterial activity was seen at honey concentrations <1%, with minimal inhibition at 5%. No honey was able to produce complete inhibition of bacterial growth. Although Medihoney and manuka had the overall best activity, the locally produced honeys had equivalent inhibitory activity for some, but not all, bacteria. CONCLUSIONS: Honeys other than those commercially available as antibacterial honeys can have equivalent antibacterial activity. These newly identified antibacterial honeys may prove to be a valuable source of future therapeutic honeys.

    Another study on pubmed says that SOME kinds of honey have been found active against Candida.

    Of course, all these studies are in vitro, which doesn’t seem very practical to me.

    So, anyone got any first hand experience? And how does the sugar content (which feeds yeasts) even out with the antibacterial effects and what’s the bigger pattern here?

  10. Kiva Rose
    Oct 23, 2007

    Rebecca,

    I love how that works, with everyone inspired and interested by a common theme! The interconnected herbal mind :D

    Could be cuz we’re all a bunch of foodies, and we wan’t everything to be tasty too.

  11. kate
    Oct 23, 2007

    Thanks for the recipes … your blog is a great source of information and inspiration. I now have a new use for my herbs and my new Elderberry tree.

  12. shamana flora
    Oct 24, 2007

    apparently aroudn here there was also an article about MRSA, and how effective honey is against that. I tihnk Manuka honey in particular….
    mmm..honey…it might be about time to strain the monarda flower honey i made this summer!
    :D

  13. jess
    Oct 24, 2007

    hi kiva, for the rose hip honey do you use them whole or de-seeded somehow? thanks!

  14. Kiva Rose
    Oct 24, 2007

    Depends if you’re using them fresh or dry. If you’re doing dried and want grind them up, you might want to break them up and get the seeds out.

    When I use them fresh, I just pull the stems of the ends (so the honey can get inside), cover with honey and mash them a little bit, not enough to get the hairy bits everywhere, just enough to bruise them some. For external use I prefer to leave the seeds in there for honey, tincture or oil, since the seeds themselves are so full of healing properties.

    Or, if you want to eat the rose hips all soaked in honey, then it does work better to just use the seeded berries.

  15. RAINER DOLESKE
    Dec 27, 2007

    i was injured due to occupation as a concrete worker,and may have normally recovered from this but never did due to intervention by toronto ontario doctors intheir uuse of practices that harmed me bad and desroyed my life.overprecription of antibiotics,creams and dressings that burned most of my body,the end result being a gross synthetic skin(see synthetic skin website).i am now my own worst patient ,crippled with a lot of problems to properly care for myself .i am trying to learn proper medicine,asponge for informationfor a spectrum including ojibway sault ste marie ontario methods of healing with balsam bubble salve ,minnigan salve,use of the first early flower of spring in shoes(yellow snowdrop)and pain medicine wikki spending three years to date or s so on the latter,with numerous attempts at replenishing my supply of the right species of this morphine root.i make haste to get the giant wild lettuce under my control as well asmore of an under standing of what knowledge is left of a once healthy tribes ways,medicines and uses,teaching them what little i know about vaseline screwing up some of their salves,and bestowing my gift of tobacco and seeds. thank you for sharing your honey medicine with me. study and use to date(some):charcoal,lanolin,castor oil olive oil,gold thread,cedar teaand cedar medicines tree medicines smudge uses sweat lodge and local historical use medicines.i hope my terms of rererance will further help to inspire you in your own good works . thank you again in this good christmas season prior to the thinning of blood after lent. tonic time.

  16. Eileen fb
    May 6, 2008

    Thank you for the information on your site. I was looking to make ginger syrup for cake making – without using sugar. I used honey instead. But after reading of your ideas I’ve decided that I should also look at making a selection of herbal honey. This way the herbs can be really fresh and in their prime. What about Calendula honey – wouldn’t that be wonderful for skin problems.

  17. Irene
    Oct 22, 2009

    Just last night, Robin Rose Bennett on the east coast gave a lovely talk on raw garlic honey and its effectiveness as a wound healer, cardiovascular and immune tonic. It is also great for any flu related fever/chills, high or low blood pressure. Garlic honey is also great for the digestive and respiratory system. Garlic alone is antifungal and antibacterial; however, the garlic honey itslef wold not be ideal for fungal infections. Heard that one client of hers was totally fine with garlic honey while her office coworkers were down with a really bad flu. Garlic honey – sounds like a strange combo but it works! Thanks Kiva for the synchronous blogpost!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Medicine Woman’s Roots » Beebalm: Notes on Burn Treatment - [...] already covered the topic of honey for burns in a previous post, so here we’ll focus on a few …
  2. The Medicine Woman’s Roots » Pastilles - Sweet Soothing for a Sore Throat & Beyond - [...] check out my previous post on Herbal Honeys for more ideas and [...]

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