Jordan Douglas, MS, HHC

Making your own gifts is a festive way to provide your friends and family with thoughtful, personalized gifts, and yourself with a creative outlet during the holiday season. Incorporating herbs provides a highly valuable boost, allowing you to give a gift that is both practical and supportive to your recipient’s health and well-being. Here are 5 of my favorite DIY herbal gifts that are simple and fun to make, and a delight to receive!

Herbal Honey

Infused honeys are one of the most convenient and delicious ways to take medicinal herbs. Simply combine fresh or dried herbs in a jar, add honey to cover, stir, and let sit for a few weeks (for the full process, see this post). A rose-infused honey is bright and uplifting in the winter months and makes a particularly lovely gift. Other options include garlic, thyme, mint, lavender, lemon balm, or holy basil. Herbal honeys can be taken by the spoonful, added to tea or tonics, or drizzled on everything from pancakes to roasted vegetables.

Herbal Salves

Salves combine beeswax, plant oils, and essential oils for a gift that is both useful and aromatic. One of my favorite salves to make, use, and share is a headache balm that features peppermint, rosemary and lavender to calm, soothe, and reduce tension. You can make a larger salve base, and tailor the essential and plant oils to your loved one’s needs and preferences. For more tips on making herbal salves, click here.

Dark Chocolate Adaptogen Truffles

These truffles are easy and quick to make and endlessly adaptable to supporting your gift recipient’s needs (not to mention, they taste incredible). Try ashwagandha and reishi for the person who needs a calming bite of stress management, cordyceps and eleuthero for the person who needs an extra energy boost, and lion’s mane and tulsi for the person who needs smooth brain fuel. Consider making a double batch and saving some for yourself!

Herbal Sugar Scrub

Sugar scrubs feel a bit indulgent and are a gift for the skin and the senses alike. The sugar gently exfoliates while the oils hydrate, leaving skin nourished, soft, and glowing. You’ll find many sugar scrub recipes online, but personally I like a 2:1 ratio of sugar to oil (e.g., 2 cups sugar and 1 cup plant oil). You can use white sugar, coconut sugar, or brown sugar here. Plant oil options include calendula, olive, jojoba, sweet almond, etc. Enhance the aromatherapeutic experience with 10-20 drops of essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sweet orange, lemon, helichrysum, pine, spruce, rose, sandalwood or cedar. You can also add dried herbs such as rosemary, lavender, or citrus zest.

Herbal Cordials

Cordials are sweetened herbal extracts made from endless combinations of herbs, spices, liquor (usually brandy), and a sweetener. They are a festive beverage, designed to be shared in joy and celebration with friends and family. Two of my favorites are a spiced tulsi-rose cordial and a hawthorn-hibiscus heart cordial. Both of these can be made in clear mason jars for an attractive, vibrant presentation, or feel free to strain in advance of gifting in your vessel of choice.

Happy holidays!

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