If I’ve learned anything in my decades of practicing herbalism, it’s that medicine doesn’t need to come in the form of a pill or from a pharmacy to be effective. I enjoy making many remedies at home in the form of tinctures, syrups, and topical products. But over the past couple of years, I’ve really come to love making herbal gummies. They are so much fun to make! Here are two of my favorite recipes, complete with step-by-step instructions.
Immune-Boosting Elderberry Gummy Bears
Elderberry is the undisputed queen of immune support, and its sweet-tart taste makes it the ideal choice for herbal gummies.
- 4 oz. pomegranate juice
- 2 tbsp. unflavored beef gelatin, organic (I use Vital Proteins)
- 1 oz. honey
- 1 oz. elderberry glycerite (I use HerbPharm)
- ¼ tsp. citric acid
- ¼ tsp. sorbitol (optional, gives gummies the rubbery feel)
Pour juice into a small saucepan and stir in gelatin. Gently heat over the stove on low for a few minutes until the gelatin is completely blended (do not boil). When the mixture reaches 100 degrees, remove the pan from heat. Add honey, glycerite, citric acid (and sorbitol if using). Stir well.
Lightly spray silicone candy molds with cooking spray, then turn over to shake out any drips. Use a medicine dropper to fill molds with gummy mixture. Let filled molds stand for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate.
Once gummies have solidified, remove from molds and place in an airtight container. Store inrefrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Recipe yields about 50 gummies.
Take one gummy daily for overall immune health or every four hours for acute immune support.
If using HerbPharm elderberry glycerite, this recipe contains about 34 grams of elderberry. So, if your batch yields 50 gummies, each one will contain roughly 680 mg of elderberry extract. The level of extract may differ if you use a different brand of glycerite.
You can substitute other juices for pomegranate juice or use herbal tea (I often do 50/50). Adjust the amount of honey you use according to taste, or use a calorie-free sweetener such as allulose instead.
Sorbitol gives gummies that characteristic “rubbery” feel. Sorbitol is a FODMAP, and can cause bloating for some. Those with irritable bowel syndrome may want to skip it.
To make these gummies vegan, substitute agar powder (not flakes) for the gelatin. Agar is derived from red algae and is a good thickening agent. Generally, 2 tsp. of powder per 8 ounces of liquid (1 tsp. for this recipe). Omit the sorbitol.
Calming Chamomile Lemon Balm Gummy Bears
Since a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, Mary Poppins would surely be a fan of herbal gummies. Let your little ones in on the medicine-making fun by having them help you prepare these calming gummies formulated just for them!
This recipe is adapted from the fine folks at Oregon’s Wild Harvest. It features lemon balm and chamomile—both of which are soothing to tummies and nervous systems.
- 1 cup chamomile tea
- 1 cup lemon balm tea
- ½ cup apple juice
- 2-3 tbsp. honey
- 3 tbsp. beef gelatin
Prepare tea by pouring 1 ¼ cup boiling water over 1 tbsp. each of chamomile and lemon balm and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the herbs and save the liquid.
Combine tea, juice, and honey in a jar or pitcher. Sprinkle gelatin on top and allow it to “bloom” for 10 minutes.
Pour mixture into a saucepan and warm gently over low heat until gelatin dissolves. Do not boil.
Pour mixture back into the jar, then into gummy molds. Place molds in freezer for at least 4 hours.
Once gummies are firm, remove from molds and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Recipe yields approximately 70 gummies.
One gummy as needed to soothe upset tummies and anxious minds. Do not exceed ten gummies per day.
This recipe provides a low dose of herbs (about 3.5 ml of tea per gummy) that is generally safe for kids, but you should start by giving only one gummy to test for any reaction.
Make Medicine Fun
The green world provides plenty of powerful plant medicine that can be fun for anyone to make! We can use these recipes as a joyful way to connect with nature while relishing the empowerment that can come from making remedies ourselves.