Coltsfoot was the first flower I saw this year in March growing on the side of the driveway to our new house. At first they look like dandelions, but unlike dandelions, the flowers come up before the leaves. I quickly looked up its medicinal uses and decided on making honey infused with Coltsfoot flowers.
The properties of the Coltsfoot flower (and leaves) (Tussilago farfara) are expectorant, antispasmodic and phlegm reducing so it is excellent for treating coughs and ailments of the upper respiratory system including asthma, bronchitis, or for irritating coughs. Because raw honey is also healing to the throat as well as being anti-microbial, combining the two create a delicious and soothing cough syrup which can be added to tea or taken by the spoonful.
How to Make Coltsfoot Honey — A Natural Cough Syrup
To make the Coltsfoot Honey, harvest your flowers in the early spring. Pick the whole stalk being careful not to dig up the shallow roots. The leaves come out after the flowers go to seed and they are medicinal, too, so you’ll want to come back in May or June to harvest those. Cut the stalk and flowers up with scissors right into the jar, put some of the flowers in, then cover with the honey. Mix to make sure the plant pieces are completely covered. (I like to use raw honey for the added health benefits.) Fill the jar as full as you like, alternating flowers, honey, and mixing–there are no exact measurements here. Top it off with a little extra honey.
Keep this on your counter so you can keep an eye on it. The flowers like to float in the honey, so be sure to stir it once or twice a day for the first week. You will notice within the first day or two that the honey will get thinner and start to bubble on the top. That’s normal! After two weeks you can strain the honey through a fine mesh strainer if you like or leave it longer. At two months, my honey with flowers still in it looks fine. I store my jars of honey on the shelf. Some people like to refrigerate them, but honey gets crystallized when it gets cold from my experience, so I don’t recommend it.