With cold and flu season upon us, I like to protect my family with every natural way that I can. Loads of hydration, lots of fruits and veggies, humidifiers in our bedrooms at night, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, loading up on the vitamin D, and sucking down kombucha, like it is my J-O-B. To top it off, it was about time I tried to make elderberry syrup. If you have ever looked into buying it, a smallish bottle is between $15 – $20. No, thank you.
Not only is elderberry syrup known for lessening the symptoms and severity of the cold and flu if you catch a bug, It also contains anthocyanin which is an immune booster and powerful antioxidant. It’s perfect to take if you do get sick, but it’s great to take all cold and flu season long to prevent getting sick in the first place. A study done in 1999 showed that patients who were showing influenza like symptoms who were given elderberry syrup felt better on an average of 4 days sooners as compared to those who were given the placebo. Those given the elderberry syrup also used much less medicine while they were sick. This would be good for us since I don’t think we even have cold medicine in the house.
So I set out on a mission to make my own elderberry syrup. Thanks to Frontier Natural Products for the shipment of organic elderberries! They arrived last Saturday just in time for a Sunday morning elderberry syrup making session before church. Plus since it was daylight savings, lovely Lyla was up a bit earlier than usual and went down for an early nap. I didn’t know what to do with myself besides play around with elderberries in the kitchen!
- ½ cup organic elderberries (buy them here)
- 3 cups of water
- 1 inch of fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
- 2 small cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 1 cup of honey (raw and local is best)
Combine the elderberries, water, ginger, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Allow the elderberry mixture to cool and then pour your mixture through a strainer to separate out the berries, cinnamon sticks, and cloves (the ginger had dissolved into my syrup). Whisk the honey into elderberry syrup mixture. It is important that your syrup is cool before you add the honey. Honey has antiseptic, antibacterial, and antioxidant power that can be destroyed in the presence of heat. Pour the syrup into clean glass bottles (I used old kombucha bottles I had run through the dishwasher) or mason jars and store in your fridge for up to 3 months.
In regards to the storing time frame, use your best judgment. While I was poking around the internet, looking at other recipes to get ideas for my own, most people were recommending that you could keep it over one winter’s time or a few months.
What is the recommended dosage for this tasty syrup to boost the immune system? Between 2 teaspoons – 2 tablespoons per day depending on who you ask. Most people take it by the spoonful but heck, why not pour it over your pancakes? I bet that would be awesome. Nic and I take a shot of the syrup after dinner. It is delightfully sweet and can certainly take the place of a dessert if that is how you are looking to end your meal. Joanna told me she was feeling the start of a bad cold last Sunday. I ran a small bottle of the elderberry syrup over to her house. She started taking it immediately and said she got better so quick!
How does your family naturally keep their immune systems rockin’ over the winter months?
*Do not give this syrup to children under the age of one, since it contains honey.