Monday, February 16, 2015

A Little Immune Booster

Ever hear of the elderberry plant?  This berry often grows wild and is cultivated for it's health properties.  The Latin name is Sambucas Nigra and syrup made from these berries (as well as the berries themselves) is a highly effective and preventative tool for colds and flu.  This syrup is loaded with antioxidants, immune supporting minerals, flavonoids and Vitamin C!

In a scientific study, elderberry extract was proven to inhibit several strains of influenza and reduced symptoms in general.  In another study researchers observed that, "Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo".

So during the height of cold and flu season I thought I would pass on my very favorite elderberry syrup recipe.  You can buy more expensive versions of this at your local pharmacy or even purchase homemade versions at farmer's markets and other natural health stores; however, making elderberry syrup is affordable and very easy! 

Elderberry Syrup

  • 2/3 cup black elderberries*
  • 3 1/2 cups of filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated or dried ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey
  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey yet).
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced a bit.  At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled.  Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. I usually take the back of a spoon and press the berries so that most of the liquid has been strained.
  3. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.  Then add 1 cup of raw honey and stir well.
  4. When honey has been well mixed then pour the syrup into a glass container (a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle works well).
  5. Store in the refrigerator and take daily through cold and flu season for its immune boosting properties.  Standard dose is 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. for children and 1/2 Tbsp. to 1 Tbsp. for adults.  If the flu or a cold do strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.
This will usually last for 3-4 months stored in the refrigerator. Enjoy! (*Note: I like Frontier Organics whole organic European elderberries).

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