Ginger Syrup: DIY Apothecary

ginger from an angle 2.jpgWhenever I feel a cold coming on I grab some fresh ginger, lemons, and honey and make a cup of tea for myself.  It doesn't always prevent the cold from coming (though it has once or twice) but it eases up the symptoms and makes me feel a lot better.  Ginger is useful for a lot of ailments such as nausea, indigestion, infection, sore throats, and the flu. 

Although I love making fresh ginger tea I sometimes want something stronger.  This syrup is it.  If you don't like your ginger too spicy you can reduce the amount of ginger in this recipe, it will still be effective, just more gentle.  Made my way it will burn going down, warming your whole torso.   

fresh ginger 2.jpgGinger is usually called a root and though I call it that myself it's really a tuberous rhizome.  When you buy fresh ginger you want to look for a piece of root that is supple and tan.  Don't buy any that has a shriveled or grey appearance or has mold on it.


4 ounces of fresh ginger
1 quart of water
1 cup raw honey  

chopped fresh ginger 2.jpgHow to make ginger syrup:

Chop the ginger into small pieces (no need to peel the skin).  Add the ginger to a medium sauce pot with the quart of water and put the stove on high heat until the water boils.

When the water boils turn down the heat (to med/low or low) so the water is only gently boiling.  Let it boil until the liquid reduces by half.  This will take roughly a half an hour but you should check it every ten minutes to see its progress. 

straining ginger 2.jpgWhen the liquid has reduced by half, take the pot off the heat and let it cool down for a while.  When it's cooled enough not to give you third degree burns, strain the solid ginger bits out by pouring it through a piece of butter muslin or doubled up cheese cloth.  Squeeze all the liquid you can out of the ginger and toss it onto your compost pile if you have one.

At this point you have a ginger decoction.  To make it into a syrup you need to add the honey.  If your decoction has cooled down completely, heat it up again so that it's warm (but not boiling), then remove from the heat and add the honey.  It's important that your decoction isn't boiling at this point because you don't want to cook the honey.  It has a lot of beneficial qualities in its raw state that it loses when cooked.

ginger syrup 2.jpg
Stir the honey until it's completely incorporated in the liquid.  When it's completely cool pour it into a bottle or a jar and keep it in the fridge.  It should last up to a month.

If you want a thicker syrup double the honey.  I didn't want a really thick syrup but more honey will make it even better suited to soothing a sore throat.

Dosage:  1 ounce every couple of hours while feeling acutely unwell or when your body feels low from an oncoming cold.  (This is merely my suggestion based on how I've found it useful and therapeutic.  You won't hurt yourself taking more or less ginger syrup.)

If you're coughing a lot you can add an ounce of ginger syrup to an ounce of vodka or whiskey.  The alcohol soothes spasms in the lungs.  Plus it soothes the mind at the same time.

Tip:  This syrup can be made into a lovely cocktail as well: 2 ounces ginger syrup, 1 ounce vodka or other favorite liquor, mineral water, ice, and slice of lemon.  Especially nice on a cold evening!

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Thanks for this great recipe. I love ginger and honey and it sounds like a perfect remedy for combating the common cold. Esp. the vodka part...

You're welcome! Vodka makes most things better!

Can u combine with elderberry syrup? For a blended wellness syrup?

I can't think of any reason why not. The only situation where I might think a pure elderberry syrup would be desired is if you're fighting influenza for which ginger isn't particularly indicated but the elderberry is known to be effective. Because neither are dangerous though, you could simply take more of the combined syrup for influenza.

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  • Angelina: I can't think of any reason why not. The only read more
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  • Julie: Thanks for this great recipe. I love ginger and honey read more