Sunday, May 28, 2017

Valerian Blossom Elixir (ala Susan Hess)

 Yesterday my friend Shelley asked about using valerian flowers rather than root.
This is something I've been doing for years because the root tincture makes me jittery instead of relaxed.
I've always done a tincture, but Susan Hess from The Stillroom at Pitch Pines (formerly Farm at Coventry) mentioned that she has been making an elixir with the flowers, and loves it.  Others said that they found the flowers more relaxing than the root (plus the root is hard to dig and clean).
Having all the ingredients, this morning was a perfect time to try this out, and I used the instructions that Sue generously provided. Depending on the herb, sometimes you use more or less honey... a different alcohol... but this is what Sue suggested and oddly enough, I actually followed a recipe for once.

#1 Fill a jar with valerian blossoms.
#2 Add honey to the jar until it is half full

#3 Work the honey around with the blossoms so they're all covered.

#4 Fill jar to the top with brandy.

#5 Mix well to get any air pockets out, and top with brandy again if needed.


#7 Shake mixture every day or so for a month.
#8 You can either leave it as is until you need it, or strain and bottle.

Tomorrow I think it will be lemon balm.
In the meantime, I'm gathering cleavers seeds for another friend. 
This time of year is a lot of fun!


MoPTB said...

I notice that brandy is often used with honey. Is that just a flavor combination preference or can vodka or everclear work too?

Tina Sams said...

Yes, you're correct. It's a flavor thing. Any reasonably high proof alcohol will act as a solvent. You can also use other sweeteners - like maple syrup. Personally, one of my favorite things about herbalism is the opportunity for creativity.
For instance, I've been using vodka with the sour cherries we grow here, but am thinking that it would be fun to do some in rum this year, for cherry rum 'n cokes.

Anonymous said...

For medical reasons I'm not supposed to have alcohol.. Is there an alcohol free way to use the flowers as I love them.

Tina Sams said...

Try making a glycerite!
They don't last quite as long, but they are a great option if you need to avoid alcohol.

Cindy said...

Thanks for the recipe. I don't like digging up valerian, but cutting the flowers is a great idea and will keep the seed from spreading too much.

fernleaf bed said...

Dry them and use as tea...or put in apple cider vinegar:)