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Immune Boosting Herbs in Finger Gelatin (Kid Friendly)

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If you've been looking for more ideas to give your family's immune system a boost, you may want to give this recipe a try. I made “jello flu shots” by infusing immune boosting herbs in finger gelatin made with fruit juice.

immune boosting finger gelatin

These are not made from prepackaged gelatin dessert. The color comes from fruit and vegetable juices. They are thickened with plain gelatin, or agar agar can be used if you need a vegan alternative.

Honey is good medicine, and a natural throat soother and cough remedy. If you want to preserve the enzymes in raw honey, make sure your gelatin blend isn't boiling when you mix the honey in.

Gelatin provides easy to digest protein when stomachs are unsettled, and is a low histamine food.

If you'd like to make your own homemade apple cider without a cider press, you can find the recipe here.

Which Herbs Boost the Immune System?

There are many herbs that boost the immune system, although not all of them are “jello-friendly”. For instance, I know garlic jello is not going to fly.

Body and Soul~Mind and Spirit lists arandanon, astraglaus, calendula, cat's claw, echinacea, garlic, ginger, hyssop, sage, St. john's Wort and turmeric.

Everyday Health lists cinnamon (and carrots and grapefruit). Mint family plants such as peppermint and lemon balm are also anti-viral.

For ease of use, I grabbed some cinnamon sticks and dried ginger root, some mint leaves and echinacea tea. I encourage you to experiment with different combinations.

Always check for any drug interactions if you are on medication. Most common culinary herbs are pretty safe, but there are a lot of meds out there so it's best to double check, especially if you're consuming in quantity (meds or herbs or both).

Immune Boosting Herbs in Finger Gelatin

Ingredients

  • 4 envelopes (1 ounce) unflavored gelatin  (That's 3 tablespoons plus one teaspoon of bulk gelatin) Knox Gelatin is readily available at most grocery stores. Vital Proteins Gelatin is Pasture Raised and Grass Fed. You could also substitute agar agar.
  • 1 cup cold fruit juice*
  • 3 cups fruit juice, heated with herbs or 2 cups hot fruit juice plus one cup tea*
  • 2 tablespoons honey, optional

*Possible fruit/herb combinations include:

Apple/Cinnamon/Ginger – 1 cup cold apple cider, 3 cups hot apple cider simmered with 2 cinnamon sticks and 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger root or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger

Apple-Carrot/Echinacea – 1 cup cold apple cider, 2 cups carrot juice, 1 cup echinacea tea

Apple-Carrot/Ginger – 1 cup cold apple cider, 2 cups carrot juice plus 1 cup apple cider, simmered with 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger root or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger

Apple/Mint – 1 cup cold apple cider, 2 cups hot apple cider, 1 cup peppermint tea

Pomegranate/Lemon Balm – 1 cup cold pomegranate juice, 2 cups hot pomegranate juice, 1 cup lemon balm tea

Orange/Ginger – 1 cup cold orange (or carrot) juice, 3 cups hot orange juice simmered with 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger root or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger

Directions

Prepare hot ingredients – If using juice with herbs, place juice and herbs in medium sauce pot and simmer for 10 minutes. If using tea, brew tea and let steep for 10 minutes, covered, then mix with juice in sauce pot and heat to boiling.

infusing herbs into apple cider

Sprinkle gelatin over cold juice in large bowl; let stand 1 minute. Add hot juice and stir until gelatin dissolves completely, about 5 minutes. Stir in honey if desired.

Pour into 13x9x2 inch pan. (Half batches can be molded in a bread pan or 9×9 pan.)

pouring gelatin into dish

Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. To serve, cut into 1 inch cubes. Makes about 9 dozen pieces.

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Immune Boosting Herbs in Finger Gelatin

immune boosting finger gelatin

A kid-friendly way to get the power of immune boosting herbs in your diet.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Yield: 9 dozen 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 envelopes (1 ounce) unflavored gelatin (3 tablespoons plus one teaspoon of bulk gelatin)
  • 1 cup cold fruit juice*
  • 3 cups fruit juice, heated with herbs or 2 cups hot fruit juice plus one cup tea*
  • 2 tablespoons honey, optional

Instructions

  1. Prepare hot ingredients – If using juice with herbs, place juice and herbs in medium saucepot and simmer for 10 minutes. If using tea, brew tea and let steep for 10 minutes, covered, then mix with juice in sauce pot and heat to boiling.
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over cold juice in large bowl; let stand 1 minute. Add hot juice and stir until gelatin dissolves completely, about 5 minutes. Stir in honey if desired. Pour into 13x9x2 inch pan. (Half batches can be molded in a bread pan or 9×9 pan.)
  3. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. To serve, cut into 1 inch cubes. Makes about 9 dozen.

Notes

Possible fruit/herb combinations include

  • Apple/Cinnamon/Ginger – 1 cup cold apple cider, 3 cups hot apple cider simmered with 2 cinnamon sticks and 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger root or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • Apple-Carrot/Echinacea – 1 cup cold apple cider, 2 cups carrot juice, 1 cup echinacea tea
  • Apple-Carrot/Ginger – 1 cup cold apple cider, 2 cups carrot juice plus 1 cup apple cider, simmered with 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger root or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • Apple/Mint – 1 cup cold apple cider, 2 cups hot apple cider, 1 cup peppermint tea
  • Pomegranate/Lemon Balm – 1 cup cold pomegranate juice, 2 cups hot pomegranate juice, 1 cup lemon balm tea
  • Orange/Ginger – 1 cup cold orange (or carrot) juice, 3 cups hot orange juice simmered with 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger root or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

The boys, not too surprisingly, liked the apple/cinnamon/ginger best, but I'll keep experimenting. I think this is a fun way to get in more herbs.

P.S. – You could use immune boosting herbs in spiced elderberry wine for a grown up version. 😉

immune boosting herbs in finger gelatin - "jello flu shots"

More Home Remedies

You may also enjoy our other Home Remedies, including Cold and Flu Fighters, Women's Health and much more.

Homemade Cough Drop Recipes

9 Home Remedies for Congestion – Natural Decongestants That Work

12 Home Remedies for Earaches – Natural Ear Pain Relief

Originally posted in 2012, last updated in 2020.

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78 Comments

  1. Great post. Do you have a book or anything published with these “tips” and other suggestions? Or, maybe a Print Friendly way to capture these without having to print an entire web post? I really want to keep some of the articles you have posted, they are wonderful.

    1. Given that most of my posts are things I’m experimenting with and sharing as I go, I don’t have everything in a printer friendly format anywhere. However – I do have a cool site that another reader recommended that will make the pages easier to print – http://www.printfriendly.com/

      I just tried it out and it works pretty well. You can easily edit out extra images, too.

      One day when I’m “famous” ;-), I’d like to be able to hire somebody to make everything look prettier, but hopefully that will help for now.

  2. I can’t wait to try this! I love gummies.

    I have jars of unflavored Great Lakes Gelatin. Since it’s not in a packet, I was wondering if you could tell me how many ounces are in your packets!

    Thanks,
    Sarah

  3. My 9yr old grandson and I will make these tomorrow after school…He’ll be impressed since he was curious about my concentrated bone boullion squares a couple of days ago

  4. Wow!

    Fantastic recipe.

    I too have been reading about antibacterial herbs, and now after reading this, I will make my own variation for my boy with the special combination of fruit juices that he likes.

    Thanks for sharing the wealth!

    All the best,
    C

    1. I’ve found the easiest way to get the garlic in the wee ones, is to crush up a few cloves and add it to a dish with raw honey, powdered ginger, powdered tumeric and cinnamon. A teaspoon full a couple of times a day. They always have some water near by to chase it down and have not complained yet!

      1. That’s a lot of herbal goodness in one spoonful, but I don’t think I could get my guys to cooperate. They don’t like to take their cod liver oil unless it’s in capsules, either.

  5. Very creative! Just be sure if you are using cinnamon regularly as a health supplement, you get the Ceylon variety that comes from Sri Lanka. Cassia cinnamon (the hard sticks and powder we are used in in the US) actually contains coumarin, which in high concentrations is bad for you. For regular cooking and baking it’s fine though 🙂 You can google it and see!

  6. I’m looking for ways to increase bone broth consumption around here. Thinking about subbing some for part of the juice in these.. Thanks for this post!

      1. I think it has to be “bone” broth to have the same healing qualities as gelatin and not to be confused with the commercial broth we find in most grocery stores.

  7. What about tomato juice with garlic….kind of tomato aspic/bloody mary kind of thing? I am looking forard to trying these myself and will also experiment with agar. I haven’t tried that in a while. Thank you for a fun post!

  8. Tomato soup with wild rice is an easy way to get get kids to eat garlic. We make ours by adding home canned crushed tomatoes to bone broth then purée. Throw into a pan with browned rice. Boil till soft then stir in roasted or raw garlic cloves just before serving. Kids don’t know it’s there. We also will mince mushrooms in this and they blend well with the rice. Turmeric and saffron also blend in unnoticed.

        1. Like regular gelatin snacks, they’ll last about a week in the fridge. They can be frozen and eaten as a frozen snack, like popsicles. They can’t be frozen and then thawed, because they’ll get runny.

    1. You can eat them daily as part of your regular diet along with other immune boosting foods. These will not provide complete immunity to illness (just like pharmaceutical shots). They are just a little something extra in a fun package to help support your body’s immune system. Always follow good hygiene practices with regular hand washing, stay hydrated, eat nutritious foods and get ample rest. See a trained healthcare provider if any condition is severe or persistent.

  9. Where can I get elderberries all I can ever find is Elderberry Syrup, and it’s quite expensive, but i’ve heard it is so good for you and with this awful stuff going around that’s putting kids in the hospital, I’d like to get some of this into my grandchildren, especially the 2 with health issues.

    1. Elderberries are not commonly cultivated in the U.S., so products can be hard to find and pricey. I’m lucky enough to be able to pick some locally, but I added some links to the bottom of the post for juice and juice concentrate. Plain elderberries are not very sweet, so it might be more pleasant tasting (and more cost effective) to combine the concentrate with some apple juice for palatability.

    2. Here in New England elderberry grows wild all over the place. I pick in August and make jelly and/or freeze berries for use all year.

    3. Mountain Rose Herbs sells elderberries. you can just do a search of elderberry syrup (Mountain Rose Herbs blog probably has one) and make your own. That is what I do. I’m thinking about using my homemade elderberry syrup and making them into jello shots.
      Here is a pretty basic recipe. you can just do elderberries, if you don’t have or want all the other stuff in it. Just be sure to let everything cool before adding the honey or you will kill off all the beneficial enzymes in it.

      • 1 cup dried elderberries
      • 1 cup dried rosehips
      • 4 cups water
      • 3 T grated ginger root
      • 2 teasp. cinnamon powder (Ceylon cinnamon)
      • 8 whole cloves

      • 2 cups raw honey
      • 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar

      Place all ingredients EXCEPT the honey and apple cider vinegar in a large saucepan. Turn heat on medium, bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for at least 30 mins, maybe 45, or until about 1/2 the liquid has been reduced. DO NOT add the honey or vinegar as they are both raw and if you boil the honey & ACV, you’ll lose all the good enzymes.
      Mash the berry mixture, strain through some cheesecloth.
      After the mixture is no longer hot, but still warm, add the honey & ACV. You want it warm enough for the honey to melt but not to cook it. Stir until smooth.
      Pour into a large quart jar – use a canning funnel. I also had about a pint extra, so the whole recipe makes about a quart and a half. From start to finish it takes about an hour and a half or less to make this.

  10. I am in the UK and we have apple cider vinegar or apple cider the alcoholic drink. Is it one of these you refer to or something else? Thanks

    1. That would be the something else. In our area of Wisconsin, apple cider refers to cold pressed apple juice that has not had the solids removed. It is refrigerated and consumed fresh before it ferments.

      1. sounds good but they don’t eat all popsicles some ill try it with out the banana ans see if they eat thanks for the idea

  11. The herbal medicine and the herbal stuffs are good, that is called unani medicine in my area. I take these natural herbs on regular basis.

  12. Great article..
    I just made orange juice cubes yesterday….. they are a big hit.. not super sweet.. I added a bit of sugar & honey.
    I had read about the health benefits of gelatin…. & of course orange juice & honey.
    so ………….. I made it & was very happy with the results..

    thanks for posting.

    lisa

  13. Im so excited to try this for my family. Just starting out. What is the recommended dosage and how often? And how long do they keep in the refrigerator?
    Thank you

    1. They should easily keep for a week in the refrigerator. There is no recommended dosage, for a couple of reasons. A) Because you make it at home, there’s no way to tell exactly how much of an ingredient gets in the recipe. B) This is not a “medicine” per se, it’s just meant to be used as part of a healthy diet. Quality gelatin is an easily absorbed protein, and the herbs recommended have a long history of use for germ fighting.

    1. There is no dosing information, because these are simply meant as a compliment to a healthy diet. Each person is different, every batch of gelatin will be different. Think of them as similar to herbal tea.

  14. Do you have any real evidence these silly recipes actually do anything? Why not just get a flu shot? They are practically free and they work better than all these expensive and absurd ingredients!

    1. Why not just get a flu shot? Maybe you missed the headlines like, “CDC Warning: Flu Viruses Mutate and Evade Current Vaccine“:

      “Much of the influenza virus circulating in the United States has mutated and this year’s vaccine doesn’t provide good protection against it, federal health officials are warning.”

      Or maybe you’re figuring you’ll just take some Tamiflu because your vaccine didn’t protect you – except a new study has shown that “Tamiflu Not as Effective as Thought“:

      “After a four-year effort to obtain this data from both the manufacturers and the EMA, the authors report in the journal BMJ that those trials do not support claims that the drugs lower the risk of complications from flu, such as pneumonia, or that the benefits of the drugs outweigh their risks, which include nausea, vomiting, headaches and kidney disorders.”

      It’s certainly your choice to select the flu shot and prescription antivirals, however you should be aware that herbs have a very long history of use an antibiotics and antivirals.

      Many pharmaceutical antibiotics are isolated chemical constituents. They are one compound/one chemical – penicillin is penicillin, tetracycline is tetracycline and so on. This makes them easier for bacteria and viruses to adapt to and counteract. In contrast, herbs are much more complicated. Garlic has over 33 sulfur compounds, 17 amino acids and a dozen other compounds. Yarrow has over 120 identified compounds. (It makes me look at my herbs with a new appreciation.) In plants, the whole appears to be more than the sum of its parts.

      1. Also: “Antiviral substances in plants of the mint family (labiatae). I. Tannin of Melissa officinalis.”

        Plants of the Mint Family Effective Against Viral Illness

        “The antibacterial and antiviral effects of lemon balm have made it a popular choice for the treatment of strep throat, mumps and herpes. These properties come from caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid, compounds found in the plant. When treated with lemon balm, infections do not tend to spread. Lemon balm also offers topical relief from symptoms such as redness and itching. Another study found that a cream containing about 700 milligrams of lemon balm sped healing of herpes sores by several days, providing improvement comparable to the prescription drugs used to treat herpes, but without the side effects associated with the drugs such as nausea and vomiting.

        In addition to wound healing healing compounds, lemon balm contains eugenol, a natural pain reliever.”

        Therapeutic Benefits of Ginger Noted for Thousands of Years

        Cinnamon has antiviral activity against various influenza viruses. – GreenMedInfo

    2. I know I’m a little late to the party to be commenting on this, but I was just reading the comments and can’t help but laughing about the “silly recipes” comment! Especially because the ingredients are referred to as “absurd,” lol! It’s sad when carrot, ginger, apple, cinnamon, pomegranate, echinacea, mint, lemon balm, and gelatin are considered “absurd,” but people won’t think twice about injecting their bodies with the flu shot. I’m pretty sure the flu shot contains a lot more absurd ingredients than these herbs and real foods that people have been using for hundreds of years. Plus, you may be surprised to find out that flu shots might not “work better” like you claim. We do make gelatin similar to this recipe, but I’m excited to try some of the herb and juice/tea combinations mentioned here that will be new to my family.

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  15. I agree about the benefits of using real foods to boost the immune system! With this type of preparation I’d suggest reversing the ratio of hot/cold liquids as boiling the juice probably kills off a lot of the beneficial properties and the gelatin will dissolve just fine with less hot liquid. Also, I’ve read that eating too much (whatever that is) gelatin, since it is an incomplete protein (not having all essential amino acids) can be problematic for certain people with mental issues and should be used sparingly with children as their brains are developing rapidly.

    1. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of the possibility of anyone overdosing on gelatin. On the contrary, most of what I’ve read indicates that gelatin is a very healing food. Any idea what amount would constitute “too much”

  16. I’m trying to consume Apple Cider Vinegar daily, ideally 1T. before each meal. Can you help me figure out a way to make ACV gelatins and know how to regulate how much ACV I’m getting? Also, I hate the taste. Any way to mask it?

  17. Hello, I would love to make both the Kid friendly Gelatin and the Cough Drops, BTW thanks you for providing them, my sister are following the Keto program so low carbs. Do you have any suggestions or how much more gelatin should be used to thicken a liquid sweetner like from a powdered source like stevia. There are many others recommended in Keto diet references but stevia is more common. Thanks in advance!

    1. If you plan to use fruit juice, I suspect that the fruit juice alone wouldn’t be keto friendly, even before any sweetener was added. If you want to use tea only, simply sweeten to taste before adding gelatin.

      For the cough drops, the honey helps to soothe the throat, so I don’t recommend a substitution. If you must, I’d try a one for one swap of a sugar free syrup.

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