Simple Medicine: Sage and Honey Cough Syrup

It will probably not surprise you much to learn that I don’t like taking medicine.  While I’m thankful for the availability of strong medicine when it’s needed, I prefer to go with natural methods.  Nature provides so much of the medicine we need, and I like to use what’s right under my nose (and feet, or overhead.)
We have a bumper crop of sage this year, so I am making a few things, including Sage and Honey Cough Syrup.  It’s so simple, but effective.  In fact, this study showed just honey to be more effective than drugstore cough syrup.  Sage is an anti-bacterial, astringent and anti-inflammatory herb, which makes it great for sore throats and coughs.  Sage and honey together make a wonderful cough syrup, and it’s so simple that I think everyone should make a batch.
Sage & Honey Cough Syrup

What You’ll Need

♥ 1 cup or more of fresh, organic sage leaves
♥ 1 cup or more of raw honey, preferably local (if you don’t have a local source, you can order it here)
♥ a clean jar or glass container that can be sealed tightly and can hold at least 12 oz. (I love these and these, and mason jars are also perfect.)

What to Do

• Wash and dry your sage very thoroughly.
• Trim the leaves from their stems.
• Pack the sage leaves into your glass jar, and pour the honey over.  It will take a while for the honey to ooze between the leaves and underneath them.
• Stir it up with a clean spoon, and seal the jar.  Stir it up daily and let sit for about a week.
• (Optional) Remove the leaves, pressing all of the honey out of them.  You can decant into a bottle that is easier to pour like this kind, or just leave it there and spoon it out as needed.  I am going to keep the leaves in the jar, and pull one leaf out at a time for cups of tea.
• Administer medicinally in teaspoonfuls for sore throats and coughs, or stir a spoonful into a mug of warm water with a squeeze of lemon as a soothing tea.
•Store tightly sealed in the fridge.  It should last for a long, long time as honey is an excellent preservative.
I used a ton of sage, because we have so much.  I would guess at least two packed cups.  I also used about two cups of honey.  This is of course a very flexible recipe: more sage + less honey = stronger sage syrup, and vice-versa.
Here is my honey about three days into steeping.  You will notice that the leaves look more dried out.  Also, the honey has thinned a bit with the addition of the moisture from the sage leaves.
I recently spooned some of this sage honey over raspberries and cultured cream as a dessert– very good.  You could also use it in cocktails (like this one.)  I’m sure there are many more uses!  The next time I whip up a batch, I’ll try adding thinly sliced organic lemons.  I hope you’ll be making some of your own medicine this year– this simple Honey and Sage Cough Syrup is a great place to start!  You might also like to make this Elderberry Winter Tonic.

Have you made some herbal medicines for your family before?  What are your favorite natural remedies?