Friday, October 26, 2012

How to Make Grindelia Honey Cough Syrup

Grindelia is also known as "Gumweed" because of the sticky resin on its flower buds.
It's great fun to learn about the food and medicinal value of the plants around us.  In September, we were at Cama Beach on Camano Island with some friends, and one noticed Grindelia was growing everywhere.  Grindelia is known for its ability to help with bronchial congestion.

One way to utilize this great property of Grindelia is to make Grindelia honey, which then tastes good and can be helpful in relieving congestion.  I'm not a doctor or herbalist, and am just a normal person, so if you try to make grindelia honey, please first consult your naturopath to be sure it doesn't conflict with anything you're already doing in your life.  I read that grindelia should not be used when you are pregnant.  

There is still a bit of resin at the center of this fully bloomed grindelia blossom.  Pick flowers with the sticky resin, because that's where the good stuff is.  (See the tiny bit of white in the center of the flower?)  Note that the spent blossom has no resin at all.  

We picked about a cup of grindelia flowers to put in our 8-10 ounces of honey.  The best ones are the flowers that are just beginning to open or are even still buds and have lots of sticky resin on them.  This is where the good medicine is.  I plopped the flowers into my jar of honey and put it in a dim place in my house where the temperature didn't change too much and fermentation was avoided, opening to allow any gases to escape as needed.  

I turned it several times a day so that the flowers were always covered with honey, then strained the flowers out 3 weeks later.  The remaining honey is in a jar in my pantry, ready to use.  The honey certainly has the piney aftertaste of the grindelia flower, but it is palatable and seemed to open up my airways a bit.  I am looking forward to trying it whenever we do get a cough and plan on having my asthmatic husband try it too.  Grindelia blooms in the summer months, so be sure to put its harvest on your calendar!
My jar of honey.  It's only outside for the picture.  I kept it inside my pantry the rest of the time.  

Lots of Grindelia at Cama Beach.

We found a little skull and put a grindelia flower in its ear.  Yes, we're weird.  

Levi pretends to fish.
My friend photo-bombs the grindelia picture. 

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