Summer is mosquito season in my neck of the woods. All of Oregon's standing water during breeding season gives the nasty little buggers plenty of spaces to raise their families. The oil in this formula serves two purposes: it allows the essential oils a chance to linger on the skin and brings in the healing powers of calendula as an anti-immflammatory for existing bites. You may spray this formula on your skin after the mosquitoes have gone to bed to ease the itching from the spots they got to before you pulled out the herbs.
Hawthorn syrup is a wonderful way to support the circulatory system. Hawthorn berries (haws) are autumn treats loved by humans and wildlife alike.
Hawthorn contains antioxidants, including oligomeric procyandins (OPCs) and quercetin. Antioxidants destroy free radicals which occur naturally in the body and increase in number as we age. Free radicals damage cells and their DNA. Antioxidants in hawthorn defeat free radicals particularly those that lead to heart disease.
Hawthorn berries are also a good source of triterpenic acid which is noted as natural way to lower LDL cholesterol in the blood. Hawthorn syrup used as a sweetener alternative along with a heart healthy diet is a smart addition to the health conscience dieter.
Most hawthorn syrup recipes require fresh hawthorn berries but those are only available seasonally and quality syrup should not be stored for more than a few months. One way to keep fresh haws at your fingertips year round is to freeze them after harvest in 1/2 cup containers.
This recipe can be adapted to fresh hawthorn berries with the reduction of water. Fresh haws vary in size and moisture content to be sure to measure your finished decoction before adding the honey and brandy so you don’t have a runny mess. If hawthorn syrup isn’t enough and you want more tasty hawthorn delights, try our recipe for Haw Jelly.
Hawthorn is counter-indicated for patients using beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, nitrate based medication or medication for male sexual function as it lowers blood pressure.
- 1/2 cup Hawthorn berries (dried)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 2 oz brandy
- 1 Tbs cayenne tincture (ginger tincture may be substituted)
- 1 measuring cup
- 1 set of measuring spoons
- 1 stirring and mashing spoon
- 2 small cook pots (1 with lid)
- 1 strainer
- cheesecloth (if your strainer does not have a fine mesh)
- 1 clean, resealable bottle
- 1 label
- Pour the hawthorn berries into the cook pot with the water and soak overnight.
- Put the cook pot on the stove and cook on lowest setting, covered, for one hour.
- Remove cook pot from stove and allow to cool thoroughly.
- Mash hawthorn berries.
- Add brandy.
- Cover pot and return to stove on low and allow hawthorn to steep a minimum of 20 minutes or until water darkens.
- Place 2 layers of cheesecloth in the strainer.
- Pour hawthorn through the strainer and keep 1 1/2 cups of infused water/brandy for syrup.
- Using The Practical Herbalist’s simple Syrup Making Instructions, heat honey and infused water to make syrup.
- More honey may be added for a sweeter syrup.
- Stir cayenne tincture into to cooled product.
- Pour finished product into bottle and label clearly.
Storage and Use
Store Hawthorn Syrup in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. (Note: In my experience, some honey types store longer than others.)
Children under 12: Take 1 teaspoon of syrup no more than 4 times daily.
Adults: Take 1 tablespoon of syrup no more than 4 times daily.
Not intended for children under age 2.
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