Electuaries | Ancient Remedies Made New

If you've been around these parts for awhile, you know I deeply believe in the notion of food as medicine. It's a big reason why we stock and support makers of grass-fed ghee, vinegar-based oxymels, herbal tonics and medicinal mushrooms. Incorporating herbs into our everyday rituals like a nourishing meal, morning coffee, or evening cup of tea offers a way to nurture our bodies and connect with the plants, inviting the plants to weave their medicine into the touch points throughout our day.

It is true practical magic.

By bringing these offerings into our apothecary, we not only support these small makers and their craft, but we also get to share their vision, their creativity, and their magic, all of which is its own medicine and creates a beautiful tapestry of human connection.

So, when Taylor, the beekeeper and homesteading mama of The Local Wild, came to me wanting help in formulating her own line of herbal electuaries, I was thrilled! It's been such a gift to see her vision come to life, and she's done a beautiful job with these blends. I cannot wait to share them with you!

But first you may be wondering...

What is an electuary?

"Electuary" is an old word for a blend of powdered herbs and honey (or sometimes maple syrup). It's a shelf-stable way to keep herbs ready to consume rather than having to do an infusion or decoction. An electuary can be taken by the spoonful or blended into your favorite hot beverage, adding sweetness and the wonderful healing properties of the herbs used.

In addition to offering an easier way to consume herbal medicine, it also makes them so incredibly delicious! Which means one is more likely to be consistent with their herbs.

Electuaries have a rich history in traditional medicine dating back to ancient times when they were used in ancient Greece and Rome by physicians such as Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Galen to make medicinal substances more palatable. In the Middle Ages, there's evidence to suggest Hildegard of Bingen and Avicenna recommended the use of electuaries, which would often be prepared by an apothecary using honey or another sweetener to mask the flavor of the herbs, spices, or other less palatable medicines as well as to help preserve the active ingredients.

Pharmacopoeias from the Renaissance include recipes for electuaries addressing issues ranging from digestive complaints to respiratory ailments. There are even classical formulas from traditional Chinese Medicine texts that utilize electuaries.

Why has this method of administering herbal medicine been around for so long and across various cultures? Because it's simple and effective! That's a winning combination when it comes to working with botanical medicine.

I had the absolute joy of working with Taylor to come up with some blends intended to be pantry staples for families who want a simple way to harness the brilliance of plants and honey.

How do you use an electuary?

Electuaries can be consumed by the spoonful, which I highly recommend, stirred into your favorite hot beverage, or even just mixed into hot water. It's the easiest and most delicious herbal medicine you'll ever take! Not only does the honey offer its own well-documented healing properties, but it offers the sweetest possible delivery mechanism.

Meet The Local Wild Electuaries, available in our shop:

  • Calm & Secure - promotes relaxation, stress resilience, nervous system support, & sleep-enhancing properties. It's a wonderful blend for the whole family!
  • Before Birth - supports mood and sleep quality, promotes relaxation, assists in alleviating morning sickness symptoms, and aids uterine health.
  • Stress Soothe - soothes and grounds the nervous system, promotes calm, enhances cognitive function, & boosts energy levels.
  • Cycle Support - aids hormonal balance, stress resilience, digestion, assists in building blood, and supports overall cycle well-being.
  • Cold & Clear - aids in fever management, chest decongestion, fluid regulation, cold and cough relief, & helps manage seasonal allergy symptoms.

It's been so sweet (pun intended) to weave these electuaries into our daily rhythm at home. Cold & Clear has been welcome immune support for my daughters this Spring - I just mix it with a little warm water for them to sip throughout the day when the latest cold hits. And Stress Soothe is a busy mama's best friend. I love it blended into my morning coffee along with ReishiMarine Collagen, and Brown Butter Ghee.

I envision using these electuaries being used to make salad dressings, mixed into oatmeal, spread onto toast, sweetening hot chocolate, and added to cheese plates. Coming up with new ways to incorporate herbal medicine into our food is one of my favorite creative outlets and these electuaries are a potent tool in my botanical kitchen.

    Which one will you try first?

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