One of the most powerful natural remedies to fight cold and flue during the cooler months are dried elderberries.
They are packed with natural immune-boosting compounds, and can be used for number of remedies. The most known is the simple elderberry syrup.
Natural Way to Get Rid of Mild Colds and Flu
The common colds and flues can make you quite miserable. Especially for parents who see their children feeling bad and not able to help them. Luckily, there are some natural remedies that can help you avoid illnesses as well as shorten their duration. Sambucus nigra, or black elderberries, have been proven to help avoid these small illnesses and fasten the recovery process in those who do have them. They also help relieve the discomfort you feel while being ill.
Thanks to their vitamin content (vitamin A, B, and C), elderberries can boost the immune system. According to researchers from Israel, the complex sugars they contain help the fight of the immune system against colds and flues. These complex sugars have been proven to help reduce all types of colds and flues, and researchers have created several formulas based on them.
The Israeli researcher Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University has discovered that elderberries disarm the enzyme used by viruses to enter healthy cells in nose and throat lining. If consumed before infection, it will prevent it, and if taken afterwards, it will prevent the virus spreading through the respiratory tract. One clinical study showed that 90 percent of the subjects claimed full recovery after 3 days, 70 percent reported drastic improvement after 48 hours, and 20 percent after 24 hours. On the other hand, those given the placebo needed six days to recover.
Simple Way to Get the Elderberry Benefits
To get the concentrated immune-supporting properties of black elderberries along with a delicious taste, you need elderberry syrup. Here’s a homemade recipe to prepare this powerful and delicious syrup which requires homemade elderberry concentrate, ginger and cinnamon as synergistic herbs, and raw honey for even more enhanced immunity. The recipe includes substitution suggestions for honey in case you can’t or don’t like to use it.
First of all, it’s much cheaper, as 4-8 ounces of elderberry syrups usually come at a price higher than $15 in most health stores or online. With this recipe, you can make 16 ounces of elderberry syrup for less than $10, and with a much better taste. You can as well customize the recipe according to your flavor preferences.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe for Prevention of colds and Flues
This simple syrup made with dried elderberries, herbs and honey can be used for medicinal purposes like boosting your immune system, as well as for homemade waffles or pancakes.
- Serves: one quart
- Time for Preparation: 5 minutes
- Time for Cooking: an hour
- Total time: An hour and 15 minutes
- Dried black elderberries- three ounces (2/3 cup)
- Fresh or dried ginger root – two tablespoons
- Water – three and a half cups
- Cinnamon powder – one teaspoon
- Raw honey – one cup
- Cloves or clove powder –half a teaspoon
In a medium saucepan, add the water along with the black elderberries, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves (but not the honey). Once you bring to a boil, cover the saucepan and lower to simmer for about 45 to 60 minutes, until the liquid has decreased by nearly half. Then, remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly. Use a spoon or other flat utensil to mash the berries. Strain the mixture into a glass bowl or jar.
Discard or compost the elderberries and leave the liquid cool until it becomes lukewarm. Once you make sure it’s no longer hot, add the honey and stir well. After that, pour the syrup into a 16 ounce glass bottle or a pint sized mason jar.
There’s your homemade elderberry syrup! Keep it in the fridge, and consume it on a daily basis to boost your immune system. According to some sources, it should be taken every day except for the weekends to enhance immunity.The standard daily dose of the syrup for adults is half to one tablespoon, and for kids is half to one teaspoon. If you already have cold or flu, take this dose every two to three hours a day, until the symptoms are gone.
How Long to Keep the Syrup in the Fridge
The truth is, it depends. If you place the warm elderberry syrup in a mason canning jar it will last up to several months in the fridge as the warmth will create an air-tight seal. Usually, it lasts up to 2 weeks in the fridge, so you can freeze whatever you won’t use during that period. Another way is to freeze small quantities of the syrup in an ice-cube tray and then defrost as needed. A great way to extend the shelf life is to can the elderberry finished syrup of juice concentrate.
Harvest Your Own Elderberries
First, ensure you are growing the right plant before starting to grow your own elderberry bush. You can consult a local herbalist to find and harvest elderberries and keep in mind that you should only collect the berries, and not the leaves or stems as they can be dangerous.
Where to Order Elderberries
What Is the Syrup Used For?
You can use it to prevent cold and flu during the peak season by consuming daily dose of half to one teaspoon. Double or triple the dose if you get a minor illness. You can also use it as an ingredient in some recipes like panna cotta, where the sweetener gets replaced by the unique and complex flavor of the elderberry syrup.
Can You Substitute the Honey in this Recipe?
Honey is not recommended for infants younger than 1-2 years. Here are several simple substitutes:
- Nutrient rich molasses and maple syrup
- Another option is to just omit this ingredient
- You can prepare an elderberry tincture by mixing the concentrated syrup with equal amounts of brandy, vodka, or other food grade alcohol instead of sweetener. Of course, this would be for adults only, and not for kids
Can You Use Powdered Elderberries?
When you can’t find whole elderberries, you can use powdered ones. Use half a cup of powdered elderberries in the recipe.
Can You Reuse Elderberries?
Boiling and mashing of the elderberries removes most of their nutrients. Therefore, reusing them is not recommended.
Do you know some other homemade remedy for colds and flues? Would you try this elderberry syrup recipe? If you do, feel free to share the results in the comments below.
Via Wellness Mama