Herbal recipes for health | Incredible Edible Todmorden | Herbs

Herbal recipes for health

Nettle Beer

This makes an unusual tasting but lovely beer. Back in the day people used all kinds of things to make beer when hops weren`t available. Retains medicinal properties of nettle so can be drunk to alleviate rheumatic pain, gout and asthma.

900grams (2lb) young nettle tops
3.8lts (1 gallon) of water
230 grams (8oz) of sugar, brown or demarrara sugar works best.
7.5 grams (0.25oz) of fresh yeast
small piece of toast
7.5 grams (0.25oz) of ground ginger
Boil the nettle tops in the water for half an hour

strain and add sugar, stirring to dissolve . Stir in the ginger. Pour mixture into a sterile container, ask at most home brew shops for details, if you don’t have a home brew shop near you then a big branch of Boots should offer a Brewers bucket.

Spread the yeast onto the toast and float on the surface of the nettle liquid. Cover and leave for about 3 days at room temperature, do not allow the temperature to fluctuate too much as this will ruin the fermentation process.
Strain again and put into clean, strong screw top beer bottles, or sealable wine bottles. This can be drunk after about 2 days. Still not sure how alcoholic this beer is, probably the same as ginger beer (2-4%).

Healing winter soup

Great for those suffering or recovering from any of the usual winter coughs colds and flus. Easy to digest and nutritious, the soup contains the trilogy of garlic, ginger and chilli. All three have stimulating and warming properties ideal for convalescence.


1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 inch cube peeled garlic root
1 or 2 chillis (according to tolerance)
handfull of shittake
handful of chopped Kale, brocolli or any dark green veg
Diced chicken breast or tofu if your veggie
1 ½ pints veg stock

Chop/slice all veg into small pieces and then put all ingredients into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer slowly for up to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

Oil of Oregano

Oregano, a staple of mediterranean style cooking, is also renowned for its medicinal properties. It is exceptionally high in antioxidants and has powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Very similar to tea tree oil, it has the additional benefit of being safe to use internally.

You can rub oil of oregano onto the skin to treat fungal infections, or take it internally as a general health tonic or to help combat bacterial or fungal infections.

Here are 2 recipes using fresh oregano. One is purely for culinary use and can be used as the base for delicious salad dressings. The other is a recipe for medicinal oil.

Recipe 1


• Olive oil
• Fresh oregano
• Decorative bottle or canning jar with stopper or lid
• A small saucepan with heavy bottom

Heat oil in saucepan until it begins to warm.
Wash oregano, removing any damaged leaves. Crush slightly to release the scent.
Place herbs into a jar of your choosing. No need to over fill, a little goes along way.
Pour the warmed oil into the bottle or jar and cover. Place in a cool, dark cupboard for about a week. The longer you infuse the oil, the stronger it will be. It should sit for at least seven days.5
You can either strain out the herbs or leave them in the bottle prior to using.

Recipe 2 (medicinal oil of oregano)

The quality of the herbs is vital for this recipe. Your own home grown oregano would be best, rather than commercially grown oregano that has been kept in cold storage and then wrapped in plastic.

Fresh, preferably locally grown organic oregano.
A good quality organic olive oil


This recipe really needs a double boiler (two saucepans that fit one on top of the other. If you don`t have one you can use a glass bowl placed on top of a saucepan. The idea is to gently heat the oil on the indirect heat from water boiling in the pan below. Amounts do not have to be exact, use you discretion!

Put a quantity of oil in the top pan/bowl then finely chop the oregano to release all the juices/oils and add to the oil.
Fill the base saucepan with sufficient water and place the top saucepan/glass bowl on top. Heat the water slowly until it simmers, then keep it on a low heat. The oil containing the oregano should not boil, but just bubble gently.
For best results slowly simmer for about 6 hours, allowing all the oils from the oregano to be gently released.
Let it rest for a few hours then strain through a piece of muslin cloth. Take the oregano that collects in the cloth, wrap it up and squeeze the cloth to get every last drop of liquid from the oregano.

Store the oil in a clean jar and keep in the fridge for up to a year.

Garlic Honey

Especially good for fighting respiratory problems – coughs, colds, flu symptoms, and ear infections
The honey transforms the flavour of the garlic, reducing its natural pungency.


Half a Jar of good quality honey
1 bulb organic garlic


Simply crush the garlic and stir into the honey. Store in a cool place.

Take 1-2 teaspoons daily

Thyme and licorice Cough mixture

Eases tight, chests, sore throats and coughs


2 tbsp liquorice root shredded or finely chopped
2 tbsp dried thyme
500ml/1 pint of water
200g/5oz honey or sugar

Put the chopped liquorice root in a pan, add the water and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer gently for 20 mins. Remove the pan from the heat, add the thyme, stir, place a lid on the pan and leave to infuse for 20 mins.
Strain the mixture into a measuring jug or another pan.
Return the liquid to the heat and, once warm, add the honey or sugar.
Dissolve slowly and simmer for a few minutes, stirring all the time, until you reach a syrupy consistency. Let the mixture bubble for a moment, but do not overheat as it will turn into caramel toffee instead.
Allow to cool.
Pour the mixture into clean bottles and label with the name, date and dose. Use within 6 months.