So, I got sick for the first time since Monkey was born a few weeks ago. I was really hoping that I’d avoid getting him sick, but that didn’t happen. Luckily, he’s over his cold now, and I really think we owe it [in part] to the warming socks treatment we tried out. What helped me; however, was a good helping of elderberry syrup.
I see a naturopathic doctor as my primary care physician and when I was in her office last, she gave me a small mason jar filled with some dried elderberries. I hadn’t heard of the stuff, but she went on to tell me about how the berries work as a great natural immune booster – especially during cold and flu season.
Elderberries are rich in both vitamins A and C – both of which are essential for keeping your immune system nice and strong. Elderberries also contain bioflavonoids. [Bio-what?] Bioflavonoids give pigment to fruits, veggies, flowers, and herbs. They have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-allergic, and maybe even anti-cancer properties! So, the combination of this bioflavonoid goodness and vitamins A and C, makes elderberries an amazing all natural immune booster.
Elderberry syrup is made from dried elderberries, water, and honey. Be careful though – you don’t want to eat them dry or they may cause you to get nauseous. You can buy elderberry syrup at your local health food store, or you can make it on your own! Googling will get you a variety of recipes. This is the one I chose to follow, and it turned out great.
What you need:
+ 1/2 cup dried elderberries – or one cup fresh (my naturopath recommended purchasing them here)
+ 2 cups water
+ 1 cup organic raw honey
+ fine mesh strainer
+ mason jar or other glass container for storing
What to do:
+ Mix elderberries and water in a sauce pot.
+ Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
+ Pour juice through a mesh strainer into the container you want to use for storage. Use a spoon to press on the elderberries to get out as much juice as you can.
+ Add the honey and stir thoroughly.
+ Store your syrup in a glass container in the fridge.
That’s it! Honey is a natural preservative, so it will last in the fridge for at least a month. This recipe will probably last you a little over a month. I had a pretty nasty cold (so I was taking it 3-4 times/day for a couple of days) and it lasted me one month. I’ve actually got to make some more as we’re out of my original batch.
Ideally, you should take it regularly (one tablespoon/day) during the cold and flu season and should help keep any nasty viruses at bay. Children over the age of one may take one teaspoon daily. If you do end up getting a bug – take one tablespoon four times daily to help reduce symptoms and *hopefully* keep the virus from getting worse. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about this syrup until I already had a cold, so I don’t yet have experience using it as a cold and flu preventative…but I will say that it reduced my cold symptoms during the height of my cold — especially at night. Plus, it tastes amazing. Seriously. I can already see Monkey when he’s old enough to take it (no honey for babies!) – begging me for more. It’s really that good.
Oh! And if you don’t want to take it straight (although it’s so yummy, I don’t see why you wouldn’t) – I’ve read that it’s great added to juice, water, or even a glass of wine! You could also mix it into your oatmeal, cream of wheat, or pour it on pancakes.
Do you have any other natural cold and flu prevention tips? I’d love to hear them!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, so please before making this or any other recipe recommended on this blog, seek the advice of your primary care physician first.February 16, 2012
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