Fall has officially arrived. I’ve read multiple stories about how bad this winter is going to be. And everywhere you go you see reminders to get your flu vaccine NOW! It’s that important. Right. We haven’t had our flu shots in 5 or 6 years (oh, say it isn’t so!) and we haven’t had the flu. *Knocking on wood* (Ok, maybe I’m a tiny bit superstitious!) Actually, we haven’t been to the doctor for that long either. Doctors have their place but we have done just fine treating ourselves naturally. That’s why I made some elderberry syrup! Nik was out foraging and he told me there was a huge elderberry bush just loaded with berries. Free medicine from nature? Sign me up!
Elderberries are large perennial bushes that can grow in all kinds of conditions. The berries ripen from late August to early October. They are rich in flavonoids, rutin (known to improve immunity), antioxidants, and Vitamin C. They are anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and are most effective at boosting the immune system and warding off the flu. Research supports elderberry’s role in easing coughs and colds. Native Americans used elderberries to treat colds, joint pain, fever, and skin problems.
It has all kinds of healthy ingredients that make it taste yummy too!
This recipe calls for ginger (helps blood flow and warms the body); cinnamon which is antifungal, inhibits bacterial growth in food, lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol and blood sugar, has an anti-clotting effect on blood, and when taken with honey it relieves joint pain; cloves are great for treating toothaches, coughs and cold, nausea, bloating, and infections. You also need honey, which is antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and speeds up wound healing. I chose to use Manuka Honey. It has a little bit of a different taste and is like the BMW of honey. All the benefits of honey only supercharged! The majority of honey found in supermarkets is not real honey. It’s a watered down, filled with molasses, sugar, and/or corn syrup version that they see fit to label as honey. We like to get our honey from a local beekeeper. At least until we can get our own hives!
I didn’t realize it would be this easy to make. I found a recipe that sounded good at Wellness Mama and got busy. Warning: it will make your kitchen smell like you’ve been baking all day!
1 cup black elderberries
3 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup honey
Combine all ingredients except for honey in a saucepan and bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Allow the syrup to cool and stir in your honey. Pour your syrup into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. It should store well in the refrigerator for about 6 months.
This mixture made about a quart of elderberry syrup.
For adults, take 1 Tbsp daily. For children, take 1 tsp daily. I’ve read where some people suggest taking it through the week and not taking it on weekends. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, you can take it up to 5 times daily. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an elderberry overdose. Hhmmm, I’ll have to research that one.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. All views and opinions stated are my own arrived at by personal trial and research. I encourage you to do your own research and to seek professional medical advice when necessary.