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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup...

9:00 pm - 43 degrees - raining...

The past week and a half has not been fun.  Cold and flu season hit our house hard this year.  We have been battling colds, flu, strep throat, ear infections, ruptured ear drums, sinus infections...you name it, and it feels like we’ve had it! 

I have been searching for different ways to help boost our immune systems because let's face it, it doesn't matter what we do - constantly washing hands, sanitizing everything, quarantine - we keep getting sick.  Uhg!

Do you know what elderberries are?  We have both red and blue elderberries here on the mountain {click here}.  I knew that I could harvest the blue elderberries and use them to make jam, jelly, pie, syrup and tea but what I didn’t realize was how good they are for you!

You can turn these tiny little blue berries into an amazing little liquid called Elderberry Syrup that is delicious and boosts your immune system, making it ideal for the cold and flu season.

Hippocrates is said to have called it his “medicine chest”, and for thousands of years it’s been revered in folk medicine for its healing properties.  Now studies are starting to confirm what tradition has long held: elderberries are a delicious and effective way to support immune function during cold and flu season.


Why elderberries?  Elderberries contain a flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant and immune boosting properties.  They are also a good source of vitamin C, betacarotene, vitamin B6, and iron. 

Elderberry syrup has also shown to help reduce cold and flu symptoms along with nasal and sinus congestion relief.

“Elderberry syrup is a proven remedy for preventing and recovering from the flu, colds, excessive mucus, sore throats, and contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C Source”

See, good stuff!

Making your own elderberry syrup only requires a few simple ingredients and can be made in about 45 minutes, start to finish.  The result is a syrup that’s delicious (so kids easily take it), immune-boosting, and can last for a couple of months when stored in the refrigerator.  Here is a recipe...


~Elderberry Syrup~
3/4 cup dried elderberries {buy here}
3 cups water
1 cup raw honey*
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (optional)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)

1. Add water, elderberries, ginger and cinnamon stick (if you are using them) to a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Once boiling, reduce the berry mixture to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
3. After 30 minutes, remove from heat.  Using a potato masher, mash the berries (still in the juice mixture) to remove any extra juices.
4. Strain to remove the berries.  Allow the liquid to cool to just slightly warm (not hot) and stir in the honey.
5. Transfer the elderberry syrup to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

{*NOTE: Because this recipe contains honey, it should not be used by children under one.}

How much should you take?  Even though elderberries are valued for therapeutic purposes, they are a food.  They are used to make jelly, pies and wine, so there isn’t really a specific “dosage” for them.  However, here are some guidelines that have been traditionally followed:  To support immune function throughout cold and flu season children are usually given 1 teaspoon per day, while adults usually take 1 tablespoon.  During illness, the frequency increases to every 2-3 hours until the symptoms resolve.

Don’t want to make your own?  You can find pre-made elderberry syrup online {click here}.

1 comment:

  1. Dirtier kids are healthier kids, antibacterial soap's and trying to keep everything sterile in the house is the wrong way to go. My guess is you're picking up stuff from outside the house off of other people. One of my friends we call the poop scientist, does studies on the health and life habits of people all over the world. He takes a stool sample so that's why we call him the poop scientist. His findings show that the dirtier people are the healthier they are within reason of course, clean food and water is important. Also limited contact with people outside your village is important. In my desert community you hardly ever hear about people getting sick.

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