By now you have probably heard all about Elderberry Syrup and its medicinal and immune boosting properties. It seems everyone is taking it these days. If you have yet to try it or research its benefits, I will explain the hype.
First, let's start off with the question, "Where does an elderberry come from?" The berries grow on a small, bushy tree called Sambucus Nigra. It's common all over Britain and many other parts of Europe. Modern herbalists consider Elder to be one of the most useful medicinal plants available.
The berries are rich in vitamins and minerals which support overall body health and are best used in a tonic syrup form to fight off colds, the flu, and other ailments. Pneumonia, rheumatic conditions, poor circulation, nerve pain, soothing upset stomachs, eliminating constipation, improving bone health, and detoxing are some of the things that elderberries can target.
It is a toss up whether or not elderberries are safe to consume while pregnant or breastfeeding. It is believed that the combination of elderberries with ginger provide great relief from morning sickness while other physicians don't recommend it. So please consult your doctor before adding elderberry syrup into your regimen. That goes the same for other medical conditions. Since elderberries are known as an immune booster, some medical conditions could actually worsen as a result.
Another warning, dried elderberries should not be eaten raw. They have potential to cause vomiting and diarrhea. It's tempting to want to grab a handful and snack, but you must cook them first. Once you cook them though, they are a wonderful and useful berry!
Making your own syrup is quite easy. First you must acquire some elderberries. You may find them in the bulk section of your health food store. Ordering online is also an option. The two brands I prefer are Mountain Rose Herbs or Frontier. Both have excellent reputations so you can't go wrong. Aside from ingesting the syrup daily as an immune support, it can also be enjoyed on pancakes or waffles and is a delicious addition to a bowl of oatmeal!
1 cup organic dried Elderberries
3 cups cold, filtered water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 inch knob fresh ginger root, roughly chopped
4 whole cloves (optional)
1 cup raw honey (can be adjusted according to your sweetness reference)
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cold water, elderberries, cinnamon stick, ginger, and cloves. You will add the honey later.
2. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the liquid to cool.
3. Once cooled, use a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or strainer to strain the liquid into a large bowl. You will discard or compost the berries and spices.
4. Now that the liquid has cooled, stir in 1 cup of honey. It is important not to add the honey to the syrup when it is still hot as the heat will destroy the natural enzymes in the honey. Mix well. You can adjust the mount of honey you use according to your sweet preference. The elderberries themselves are not sweet so you will definitely want some honey. I recommend starting with 1/2 cup, tasting it, and go from there.
5. Pour the syrup into a sterile, glass jar with an air tight lid in your refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups and can be stored for about 6 months. Dosages for children are 1/2 to 1 tsp and 1/2 to 1 Tbs for adults once a day. Increase dose if illness occurs.