Saturday, April 10, 2010

Elderflower Milk Tea To Sooth a Sore Throat

herb basil seeds silverbeet harvest collecting basil seeds / silverbeet from my garden ­

Now that summer is over and the tomato harvest has finally died down, I'm back in the garden and as busy as ever. There are plants to be cleared, seeds to be saved, harvesting to be done and sowing in preparation for next spring.
White icicle radishes are growing to about carrot-sized proportions and eggplants are still going strong. Coloured silverbeet have been nibbled on by caterpillars but there's more than enough to share a little here and there. A massive 2.2kg gourd was harvested and the ground cleared to make way for black Tuscan kale and golden beetroot. The crimson rhubarb have finally settled in and are getting bigger every day. Purple podded climbing peas.. Wow.. I only sowed the seeds a month ago and they're already as tall as me and covered in glorious, deep purple pods!
I just started reading a new book called 'A Year With James Wong: Grow Your Own Drugs' and I'm learning so much about the inherent properties of plants, especially herbs and edible flowers. Have you ever used lemongrass as an insect repellent or made your own cough syrup from hollyhock flowers? Who knew that so many common ingredients could be used as remedies for such a myriad of ailments! The book even covers tips on growing your own herbs, flower preservation, foraging, and 'how-to' of concoctions, decoctions, tinctures, infusions, etc. Definitely something I'd recommend for every home gardener with an interest in sustainable living on a household level.
grow cardamom in container garden
potted cardamom
With a terrible scratchy throat, a hacking cough and home remedies in mind, I started mixing up an infusion of elderflowers last night to create my own decoction to fix a sore throat. Elderflowers were traditionally used to treat the common cold and flu and are known for their anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Peppercorns and ginger are warming spices with ginger working to improve circulation. When crushed, cardamom pods are intensely aromatic with the essential oil known to be antibacterial. Similarly, the essential oil from cloves are used as an anodyne for pain relief and like ginger, it also acts to warm the body.
Elderflower Infusion

25 g elderflowers
2 g lemon zest
3 g orange zest
50 g lemon juice
500 g water
250 g castor sugar
2 g salt
Make sure there are no leaves or stalks attached to the elderflowers.
Place elderflowers and zest in a bowl.
Bring lemon juice, water, sugar and salt to a boil and simmer until dissolved.
Pour over flowers and steep overnight.
Pour into sterilised jars and refrigerate.
Elderflower Milk Tea
300 g milk
5 g fresh ginger root
1 g cardamom pods (approx. 4)
1 g cloves (approx. 5)
1 g black peppercorns
20 g elderflower infusion
Slice ginger, crush cardamom pods and place in a pot with milk, cloves and pepper.
Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to lowest setting.
Allow spices to infuse for 10-15 minutes.
Add elderflower infusion, strain and drink hot.
how to make herbal remedies elderflower milk tea


  1. Your infusion and your milk look great!
    Nice to see your blog!

  2. Your garden puts mine to shame :D My basil plant is growing wild in my backyard and I didn't know that I was supposed to collect the seeds. How long could you keep the basil seeds for?

  3. i only have one spindly little basil plant so i'm collecting the seeds to grow some more! it's best to only keep the seeds for a year, maybe two if your intention is to plant them. keep them nice and dry and they'll stay dormant, but just be aware that even while they're 'sleeping' they're slowly depleting their energy stores, also used for that first burst of growth upon germination. it sounds like you have plenty of basil plants already though so maybe you could try using them as a spice! :P

  4. I'm inspired to fix up my little garden balcony after reading this lovely post. :)

  5. aww that's awesome :D it's comments like yours that keep me blogging!

    ps. check out you'll find HEAPS of excellent and inspiring gardening videos!

  6. that sounds like such an interesting book

  7. I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.

  8. With the help of Dr. Nicole Apelian, I finally gathered all the remedies and medicinal plants of North America and included them in one book.

    >> The most powerful remedies growing in your state

    We've just printed 100 copies of what is probably the best plant medicine book ever written: The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies.

    This isn't available for the public yet. Only for a select few.

    >> Click to see if there's still one copy reserved in your name


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