I don’t know about your household, but mine can use all the calm it can get right now. Kids always hear more than we think they do which is a little alarming considering the volume and content of things to overhear so far this year. And it just keeps coming. I could use a little calm myself. Especially considering the conversations I have been having with my kids lately. This year alone has seen income lost, a stay at home parent going to work, illness, death, trauma healing, and let’s be honest…just general world upheaval with a pandemic and rioting in the streets. It’s a lot to take in whether you are four or forty. Maybe more if you’re little because you have so little experience with the more unfathomable aspects of life.
Thankfully, for a kitchen witch, calm and healing are only a bubbling cauldron away. I give you Calming Honey Syrup. It is simple, soothing, and oh so easy to make. You only need a handful of ingredients, a pot, a strainer, and a pretty jar. Okay, it doesn’t have to be a pretty jar but splurge a bit. This is about making your world a nicer place.
Let’s start with the herbs. They can be dried or fresh from the garden. One day I’m going to have a big witchy garden but until then, I make do with dried herbs. It doesn’t matter if you get them from a fellow witch, a back alley herb shop, or even a super store that delivers to your doorstep like Amazon.
I’ll include links to the herbs on Amazon. These are affiliate links and provide a small compensation to my family without costing you anything extra. I thank you ahead of time if you use them.
Back to the herbs. It’s a short list. Chamomile, Catnip, Lavender, and Lemon Balm.
You could use others, and I encourage you to experiment. These are the four that my children most enjoy. You’ll also need some raw, unfiltered honey. Buy local if you can. If you can’t, you can always order honey from Amazon as well.
We’ve all heard of Chamomile. It has a long history of calming abilities and is often a major player in tea recipes for all kinds of soothing. A word of warning though. If you suffer from ragweed allergies, this little flower might set off a similar reaction for you and should be replaced with other herbs from the recipe.
But Catnip? The only thing most people know about catnip is that cats go bananas for it. Thankfully it has quite the opposite affect on humans.
Lavender is another famous flower. Found in everything from tea to linen sprays and shampoos to snooty ice creams, it’s hard not to have heard its name at least in passing. Strangely this is another commonly known edible flower that comes with a word of warning. Some people experience lavender as a soapy taste so if you are one of the lucky taste bud holders, you can simply replace it with extra servings of the other herbs.
Lemon Balm is the last herbal ingredient and probably the herb that makes me long for a garden most. I’ve been told that it is nearly impossible to kill which makes my black thumbs itch to give it a shot and fills me with hope that maybe one day I can turn those black thumbs witchy green.
On that wistful note, let’s get serious. This looks like a tea recipe, and I have in fact used this same combination of herbs (often with the addition of any variety of mint) as such with myself and my children. The difference here is in strength and in application. Teas are brewed by adding herbs to water and letting them steep. Decoctions are made my adding herbs to water and then reducing the liquid down to concentrate (or increase) both the flavor and the medicinal qualities of the herbs. That of course changes the application of each potion.
Teas are great, if you can get your kids to drink them or have time for them to leisurely sip. We love them for read aloud time or a show before bed. A honey syrup is often for other times. Times when you can’t get them to stay still to save their lives. Or times when they are just absolutely overcome with emotion. Trust me, even an emotionally dissolving child will not turn down a spoon full of honey.
Better still, stir the honey into a glass of water or cup of tea at bedtime to calm things down even faster. (Insert evil mom laugh.)
The best part really is how easy this stuff is to make. Simply measure out 1 ounce total of your combined chosen herbs. For the herbs listed above, that comes to roughly 3 Tablespoons each. Of course this method of making a honey syrup will work with any combination of herbs for a variety of purposes so I prefer to use weight over volume to measure. I use this simple digital scale that I picked up on Amazon a few years ago.
Next, combine your herbs and water in pot big enough to hold them and not boil over. This particular combination is a bit fluffy so you may need to stir the herbs and push them down a bit until they are all wet.
Bring this to a boil over medium heat and then lower your flame so that it simmers joyfully until it has reduced by half.
Eyeballing the reduction definitely comes with practice so don’t be alarmed if you end up straining your liquid and then returning it all to the pot to continue reducing several times. Just keep going until it is down to 8 ounces.
The easiest way to complete the final step is not to measure the honey at all. Pour your eight ounces of brew into a pint sized mason jar. Then just top off with the honey! Stir until homogenous and store in the refrigerator.
It’ll keep for about three months, but with a bit of ingenuity you’ll go through it much faster than that. This is a fairly thin syrup. Drizzle it over ice cream. Stir it in tea. Slurp it right off the spoon. Anywhere you can think of using honey…you can use this. And it is delicious.
You’ll probably find that I post multiple recipes with this same ratio and process. That’s because it is super simple and seriously, aren’t all little girls prone to such witchy endeavors? Teas, honeys, and oils are almost always my go to response.
Which reminds me, you can also add food grade essential oils to the finished honey syrup for any ingredients that you don’t have on hand. Or when you’re just about done and the kids say, “But Mom…that would be even more awesome if you added some lavender to it.” It happens. Thankfully I have an essential oil recommendation as well. You can learn about the only dietary oils that I allow my children to ingest by visiting the Using Oils Internally page at Witchy Gypsy Oils.
Calming Honey Syrup
Ratio: 1 oz herb to 16 oz water for a strong decoction
- Measure out herbs so that you have about 1oz of herbs total.
- Place herbs and water in a heavy bottomed pot. This particular combination is a bit fluffy so you may need to stir it around a bit until everything is wet.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat and then simmer over low until reduced by half. Strain liquid into a measuring cup. You may need to strain and return everything to the pot a few times until you get it to about half. The ability to eyeball this comes with experience so don’t worry if it takes a few tries in the beginning.
- Add equal parts honey and stir to combine. Normally I don’t measure the honey. I simply add my reduced liquid to a mason jar and top it off with the honey.
- Refrigerate and enjoy for roughly three months.