My MIL makes this for DH and herself when they have eaten something that upsets their tummies such as bread (gluten intolerance)! I say change the sugar to honey to be much healthier and do avoid gluten next time. I'm not sure how it would taste to omit the sweetener altogether but feel free to do so, this is for your health, taste buds come second. NOTE: Wild oregano leaves & anise seeds are mandatory, the other herb & spice may be used depending what you have on hand. I understand in Arabic wild oregano is called za'atar, not to be confused with the Arabic spice mix also called za'atar. It is not regular oregano either and neither is it thyme although it may be translated from the Arabic to mean wild thyme.