With the cold and flu season upon us, I like to turn to elderberry syrup – my favourite arsenal to help prevent and treat colds and flu in my family. Elderberries naturally contain vitamin A, B, and C, and complex sugars that stimulate the immune system. Studies have found that elderberry weakens a virus’ ability to infect the cells in the lining of the nose and throat. It can therefore be taken to prevent infection as well as to prevent the spread of the virus through the respiratory system.
Now you can buy elderberry syrup in many pharmacies and health food stores. But store-bought elderberry syrup typically costs $15 to $20 a bottle. The good news though is that you can make it at home for only several dollars a bottle. And aside from elderberries, the other ingredients you’ll need are probably already in your kitchen.
Once made, the elderberry syrup will last 6 months in the fridge. But I usually find that my family finishes it much sooner than that. Since we’ve started taking elderberry syrup, our family has found that our incidences of colds and flu, as well as the duration of these illnesses, have been significantly reduced.
So try out this recipe by Wellness Mama and let me know what you think!
- 2/3 cup dried black elderberries (like the ones shown in the photo below)
- 3½ cups of water
- 2 tbsp fresh or dried ginger root
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp cloves or clove powder
- ¾ to 1 cup raw organic honey – for a child under one year of age, you can substitute honey with maple syrup or a couple of stevia leaves, which would be boiled with the berries.
- Combine the water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a medium saucepan (add the stevia leaves at this point if you are using them).
- Bring to a boil and then cover and let it simmer on low heat for 45-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
- Remove from heat and let it cool down enough to be handled.
- Pour the mixture through a strainer into a pint size or 16 oz. glass jar. Use a spoon and press down on the berries to squeeze out any remaining liquid.
- Compost the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey (or maple syrup if you are using it) and stir well.
- Store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
- Take daily to prevent colds and flu. Regular dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If you do get sick, take the regular dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.
NOTE: Consult with a physician before taking herbal supplements and medicines, particularly if you are taking prescription medications.