Each month herbalists are encouraged to submit articles to the Herbal Blog Parties, hosted by various herbalists. The August party had as its theme sweet ways to use herbs, including herbal honey’s, glycerites, elixirs, electuaries, melomels and the like. If you need definitions, go down to Kiva Rose’s article which has an overview.
While we generally want to keep sugars low in our diet, there are legitimate uses for sweet herbs. Sugar in its various forms is used in a variety of traditional medicines. In Chinese medicine it strengthens the Spleen/pancreas function (in judicious quantities) and formulas often use dates, honey, longan fruit, or licorice to engage the digestive function. Ayurveda makes medicinal honey and ghee preparations like Chayawanprash.
Rock sugar, jaggery, palm sugar, dates, honey and a variety of fruits are used traditionally. White sugar is one of the least desirable forms, being stripped of minerals and adding nothing but carbohydrates. Even worse is high fructose corn syrup which prevents your self-regulation of food intake. But fear not, you don’t need them here. Happy and sweet reading!