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herbs for iron syrup

Herbal Iron Syrup

Jenna Volpe, RDN, LD, CLT
A decoction of iron-rich herbs in a base of honey, molasses and brandy. This homemade iron syrup makes a wonderful alternative to iron pills for many people struggling with iron deficiency anemia!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 64 tablespoons


  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Medium stove-pot
  • Wooden spoon for stirring
  • Sieve for straining
  • A clean dishtowel, nut milk bag, or ~1 foot of cheese cloth
  • Medium to large mixing bowl
  • Two 1-quart mason jars or 32 oz. worth of glass amber bottles for storage
  • Medium to large funnel
  • Sticker and pen for labeling


  • 3 TBSP yellow dock root dried, C/S - not powdered
  • 3 TBSP stinging nettle leaf dried, C/S - not powdered
  • 1 TBSP dandelion root dried, C/S - not powdered
  • 1 TBSP dandelion leaf dried, C/S - not powdered
  • 1 TBSP hawthorn berries dried, C/S - not powdered
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup molasses unsulphured
  • 3/4 cup brandy, bourbon or scotch of choice (optional but recommended for preservation purposes)


Part 1: Herbal Decoction

  • Combine all herbs in a pot with the 4 cups of water.  Stir with a wooden spoon so the herbs are completely submerged in water.
  • Stir uncovered over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low as needed to prevent boiling. 
  • Continue to simmer until the liquid volume has been reduced by half, so about 2 cups of strong tea decoction will be left.  (This takes about an hour on average.)
    Tip:  You may want to mark a spot on the outside of the stove pot to see what it will look like when only 2 cups of decoction are left!
  • Turn the stove top burner off.  Let the decoction cool for 5-10 minutes (don't let get too cool in temperature or it will become difficult to dissolve the honey and molasses!).
  • Using a sieve and clean dish towel(or nut milk bag or double layered cheese cloth), separate the liquid decoction from the herbs into a medium/large mixing bowl. 
    Make sure to wring out the dish towel/nut milk bag/cheese cloth so you have as much of the "tea" decoction left as possible!  The goal is to have 2 cups (liquid volume) of decoction.
  • Discard/compost the remaining herbs (or better yet, reserve them for making spagyrics if by any chance you’re an experienced alchemist!).

Part 2: Herbal Syrup

  • In the mixing bowl containing the two cups of tea decoction, add the honey and molasses, slowly stirring well for a few minutes until it's "uniform". 
    Congrats – now you officially have herbal iron syrup!!!  If no alcohol is added, this herbal iron syrup will last in the refrigerator in a sealed glass container for up to 2 weeks without going “bad”.
  • Optional but recommended if possible: Add 3/4 cup of brandy, bourbon or scotch to the syrup and mix well.  This allows the syrup to last in the fridge for about six months… much longer than two weeks!
  • Using a kitchen funnel if needed, pour your herbal iron syrup into a glass container such as a mason jar, or better yet, glass amber bottles which help keep the potency stronger (since light and heat will generally degrade herbal potency).
  • Make sure to label and date your product before sealing and storing in the fridge.


herbal iron syrup recipe
Suggested use:  Take 1 tablespoon daily for maintenance, or 2 tablespoons daily during monthly cycle if applicable, or as directed by your qualified healthcare provider(s). 
  • For optimal results, do not take within two hours of calcium supplements or dairy products.
  • In most cases it’s okay to take this herbal iron syrup on an empty stomach without any side effects (that’s what I do usually)… but first and foremost, listen to your body and your healthcare providers!
Contraindications:  Consult a doctor before taking this herbal iron syrup if you’re pregnant/nursing, take medications, or have a medical condition related to the heart/liver/kidneys.


Serving: 1tablespoon
Keyword herbal iron syrup, iron herbs, iron syrup, iron tonic
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!