Friday, January 4, 2013

Elderberry Syrup for Flu Season

Honey & Elderberries
Honey & Elderberries (Photo credit: debcll)
It sounds like the Flu Season has really begun in earnest here in Northern Virginia. So, I wanted to share again how to make "Elderberry Syrup" for your family.

In 2011, Medical News Today reported how German scientists had found that extracts of "Sambucus nigra" had been shown to inhibit "the growth of influenza A and B viruses and bacteria associated with upper respiratory tract infections."

If taken before being infected with the flu virus, Elderberries can help prevent infection. If taken, AFTER being infected, Elderberries can help reduce the length and severity of your infection. Pretty nifty, right?

Since making my first batch of Elderberry Syrup, Nye-Nye and I have both been taking a tablespoon of Syrup every day. It's safe for pregnant women and children, over the age of 1 year old (just remember to run it by your Doctor first).

Whenever it seems like we start coming down with something, I up the dosage to 4-5 tablespoons a day. The one time I ran out of syrup and I took awhile to make some more, we both got sick. Otherwise, we've had a healthy Winter (so far).

As I wrote in this post, my daughter enjoyed helping me make the Syrup.

She helped pour the 1/2 cup of dried Elderberries I got from Frontier Herbs into the pan. She carefully added the tablespoon of crushed ginger, the cinnamon stick, and the 5 cloves to the mix. She then stirred the mixture for a few minutes (totally unnecessary...but she was having so much fun).

Together we added the 2 cups of water and then I put the pan on the stove. I covered it and brought it to a boil and then down to a simmer for 15 minutes.

She watched as I strained the mixture and used a spoon to squeeze out all the liquid from the berries. "HOT, HOT, HOT," she reminded me. Together, we sampled the syrup after it cooled.


I agree.

We've since made several more batches, some of which did not include the ginger, cinnamon stick or cloves. Those batches didn't taste quite as yummy. I definitely recommend adding all three of those ingredients.

I bought 1 lb of dried Organic Elderberries from Frontier Herbs which at $21 seemed expensive. But...when you look at an 8 oz bottle of Commercial Elderberry Syrup costing $16, you quickly realize how much money you can save by making your own!

The pound of Elderberries made enough Syrup for our family for 2 months. I just went to order some more from Frontier and found out they are already out of the Organic Elderberries.

Lesson ALL the Elderberries you need by September. Mountain Rose Herbs was out by the beginning of October.

I bought 3 lbs of the wild-crafted berries sourced from Poland (non-Organic). Frontier Herb serves numerous health food stories from around the country, so I'm hoping that they are very responsible about where they picking their berries. I can't wait until the berries arrive and we can make another batch.

If you are interested, check out this simple video on how to make your own! It's easy and fun to make with children (even toddlers). Enjoy and stay healthy this Winter...

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