It is that time of the year when the bugs start going around. Actually, the bugs go around throughout the year, but the really nasty ones, like the flu, like to go around when the weather turns cooler.
If you are like me, boosting my family’s immune systems is a top priority. One way I do this is to make sure we keep our vitamin D levels up through our consumption of healthy lard, eating fermented foods like homemade sauerkraut which keeps our guts healthy, and taking homemade elderberry syrup daily.
Elderberries come from the Sambucus nigra, shrub. Most of us know this perennial shrub by its common name, Elder. Elderberry and elder flowers are known in Europe as one of the best remedies for colds and flus. Throughout history, this shrub has been important in the health and well-being of many communities.
Elder flowers are diaphoretic. This means that they induce sweating which helps to lower fevers. The berries are a powerhouse! They are immune-enhancing as well has antiviral. The berries have been used for centuries to treat, to treat viral infections such as flus, herpes, shingles, and upper respiratory infections.
One of the easiest and most tasty ways to take elderberries is in the form of elderberry syrup. You can buy the syrup already made at most health food stores and online but it is not cheap. With my family of six, I prefer to make my own. The syrup I make uses honey which I get from my very own bees. When making your own elderberry syrup you want to use a good quality honey, preferably from a trusted, local beekeeper. Unprocessed, raw honey is naturally antimicrobial. Combine this superfood with elderberries and you have a powerful weapon against even the toughest virus. My family uses elderberry syrup in place of the yearly flu vaccine.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN ELDERBERRY SYRUP
2/3 cup dried, black elderberries
3 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons dried ginger root powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cup raw honey
- In a medium saucepan add water, berries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. DO NOT ADD HONEY!!!
- Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the liquid has reduced to almost half. Remove from heat and allow liquid to cool for a few minutes. With the back of a large spoon, gently mash the berries. Pour mixture through a strainer into a glass bowl. Discard the berries. (I always throw them into my compost pile)
- When the liquid is no longer hot but warm, add the honey and stir until well combined.
- Pour syrup into a quart size mason jar and store in the refrigerator.
Standard dose for kids 2-12 is 1/2 tsp. – 1 tsp., daily
Standard dose for adults (13 & up) 1/2 Tbsp. – 1 Tbsp, daily
If you do get sick, take the normal dose every two – three hours instead of once daily until symptoms go away.