“Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down…” sings Mary Poppins. A spoonful of sugar is the best definition of an “electuary” – making those bitter, astringent, spicy, pungent herbs and spices more palatable with sugar! This is especially useful for kiddos with highly discerning palates.
Best base ingredients
But, not just any sugar will do. The first and best choice for suspending herbal medicines is raw, local, honey. It doesn’t take much – about 1 Tablespoon of honey to 1 gram of powdered herbs (adjust to taste) – taken directly from the spoon, or dissolved in 6 oz of hot water. Honey is preferred for individuals prone to seasonal allergies and with depleted immune function, as the enzymes and phytonutrients in raw honey have been shown to improve resistance to disease and bolster the body’s healing response.
If I am needing an iron boost – organic blackstrap molasses is a medicine unto itself. Containing high amounts of calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, antioxidants, and other essential vitamins and minerals, molasses is a veritable multi-vitamin by the spoonful. Molasses is very important for those who are anemic or have chronic borderline anemia as it has high amounts of readily assimilated iron.
Last but certainly not least, we come to nut-butters and oils. Organic peanut butter hides medicinal and culinary herbs like raw garlic, fresh parsley, and ginger so brilliantly my two year old doesn’t bat an eye when he gets a dose in his PB&J. Organic and unrefined Coconut Oil contains beneficial probiotics and gives a smooth, creamy texture to any electuary – I use this in my “Fiber Power” electuary.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s as raw, organic, unrefined, non-irradiated, and GMO free as possible. Why? Because food is medicine, and the other way ’round.
Best kitchen cupboard remedies
While this list is certainly NOT exhaustive, I wanted to share some of my tried-and-true favorites with you from The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D.:
- Tumeric – known as a blood purifier and can reduce GI inflammation; used internally and externally to “heal wounds, relieve pains in the limbs, break up congestion…” as well as benefiting the circulation, reducing fevers, and regulating the menstrual cycle.
- Sage – slows the secretion of fluids, can be used as an anti-bacterial wash or poultice to septic wounds or infected eyes; “also used for the early stages of cold and flu, sinus congestion, bladder infections and inflammatory conditions.”
- Mustard (seed or powder) – yellow mustard can be made into a poultice to relieve congestion and to quickly and painlessly heal the skin from severe burns! The plaster also relieves aches and pain from sprains and achy areas – any place requiring increased circulation. Internally, a small amount is laxative, a large amount will produce vomiting.
- Ginger – digestive stimulant and warmer, increases circulation and relieves indigestion, cramps and nausea. Dr. Tierra also uses ginger to treat earaches and dandruff.
- Garlic – Mother Nature’s #1 anti-viral, anti-bacterial, immune boosting cure-all! Garlic is most effective taken raw, as garlic oil (unheated), or the freshly expressed juice. This is where your skill at electuary formulation is really put to the test!
I could go on and on – just keep digging through the spice cabinet and see what wonderful medicines are hiding there!
Before we get to the recipes, you may also consider tracking down dandelion leaf, nettle, parsley, yellow dock and/or plantain. I add these to every electuary for a touch of green, and for the universally reliable nutrition they provide, just for good measure. 😉
Three recipes to make and enjoy with your kids!
For that nasty bug that goes around the school, and everybody’s getting it!
1 part raw honey
1 part freshly minced garlic
1 part freshly minced parsley
1/2 part tumeric powder
Mix extremely well until you get a syrupy, golden paste. Adjust honey to taste. Dose is 1 Tablespoon every morning (mix it in the oatmeal, in the morning smoothie, or take a brave spoonful…not too bad)!
To curb the cravings at that time of the month, or treat chronic anemia. I do not recommend this formula for very young children, nor do I recommend the use of this electuary simultaneous with any Iron supplements.
1 part organic blackstrap molasses
1 part nettles (fresh or dried leaves)
1/2 part dried apricots and raisins, chopped very small
a dash of pumpkin seeds
1/2 part fresh organic kale (adds Vitamin C to boost Iron absorption)
Mix thoroughly, you may need a powerful food processor, or very strong wrists. Form paste into balls with a spoon, about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap with wax paper and store in the fridge. Eat no more than one a day, check blood iron levels with your doctor.
Keeps you regular without bloating and cramping!
1 part nut-butter of choice (I use MaraNatha no stir peanut butter)
1 part organic coconut oil
1 part Bob’s Red Mill Fiber Plus Hot Cereal with Flax (this is an amazing product! no cooking required, it softens in the mix)
2 or 3 dates, chopped very small
a dash of dried plantain leaves (and seeds) for good measure
Mix thoroughly with a good spoon in a bowl. Try not to eat all of it while you’re mixing! Line a shallow piece of tupperware with wax papaer. Fill the container and flatten by pressing down with the back of the spoon. Score the top into wedges or cubes. It will solidify nicely in the fridge. Recommended dose is 1 a day, or more as needed.
What are your favorite ways to get your kids to take their medicine? Like, comment and share!