If you have not tried to make an electuary or herb infused honey you are in for a treat! They are a plant based medicine that can be made all year round. In summer I infuse fresh flowers like elder, hyssop, rose or lavender. As a honey I drizzle it over fresh fruit or ice cream, add to sun tea. In winter I use fine powders made of warming ingredients like cardamon, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. Adding in immune system support herbs like calendula, rose hips, and hibiscus to ward off respiratory infections. As an electuary I place a spoonful into steamed milk or a decoction. Electuaries can be made with other sweet bases and are popular to make bitter or yucky tasting herbs more palatable to someone, especially children . Another benefit is all the medicinal and nutritional benefits of the honey itself. It is a natural anti-microbial that contains anti-oxidants, regulates blood sugar, suppresses coughs, and soothes an inflamed digestive system. Electuaries and infused honey make lovely and thoughtful gifts
Infusing a honey is even easier than doing an oil. Fill 1/4 of clean jar with fresh herbs and the rest with honey. Strain out the herbs after 2 days. You can also powder (coffee grinder) dried herbs and whip them into honey using a food processor. You just use the pulse feature until the honey is no longer clear. 1-4 TBSP of dried herb to 1 cup of honey. If you whip there is no need to strain out fine herbal powders. The honey will preserve them for a very long time. I even have infused honey made from fresh flowers two years ago where I have not strained out the flowers.
Sclarea is a a sage like the pineapple cultivar. It probably has many similar properties as the culinary spice you are familiar with. Like all member of the mint botanical family clary is high is volatile oils. Most alternative practitioners are only familiar with using this herb as an essential oil. I find the living flowers to smell even more amazing than what you get in a bottle. Clary sage has to be one of my favorite plants. The flowers are beautiful, loved by bumblebees and have an indescribable scent.
This year I decided to harvest the leaves because I noticed they have a lovely smell. I dried many of them in the dehydrator due to their texture, size, and moisture content. For the jelly I made an infusion of the fresh tops. The flowers make a remarkable electuary and dry well to be added to my floral bath mixture along with the leaves. I am always trying to find new ways to cook and make medicine with clary sage.
Clary sage is a perennial that grows 1-2ft high. In its first year or in spring in comes up a a dense rosette of green fuzzy leaves with rolling semi serrated margins. Leaves become larger and broader as the plant grows and matures. In late summer it sends up a thick square shaped stalk/stem. That terminates in a multi flower spike. Leaves are oppositely arranged. Flowers are pink, two lipped, irregular and when immature enclosed by sepals (note that these are not petals or leaves arranged on stems, theses are “false” despite the pink shade). A sure fire way to identify clary sage is its smell.
The flowering tops and leaves have been used historically in tea for delayed and painful periods, menopause (night sweats, hot flashes), PMS, a digestive tonic, stress/depression, and muscle spasms/cramps. Externally it can be as a wash for irritated eyes, vaginal douche, or sores.
As an edible, clary sage can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.
Family: Labiatae (mint)
Parts used: flowering tops and leaves
Contraindications-do not use if pregnant or nursing. Do not take large/therapeutic doses of the tea for more than one week at a time.