Elderberries are the dark purple berries from the Sambus tree. Herbalists have been using them for centuries to help fight off and relieve the symptoms of colds, flu and other respiratory infections, while the flowers and leaves have been used for pain relief, swelling, and inflammation. Raw and unripe this berry might cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea, but cooked up into syrup this little fruit is reported to pack a heavy punch in supporting your family’s immune system.
Elderberries are high in vitamin A, potassium, Vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron and antioxidants making them great immune boosters. This berry is also high in fiber which super power can be used to help prevent constipation, reduce blood pressure and lower blood cholesterol
A Norway study reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information investigated the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections. The study tested sixty patients (aged 18-54 years) suffering from flu-like symptoms during the influenza season of 1999-2000. The symptoms of the patients receiving 15ml of elderberry, instead of the placebo syrup, were relieved on average 4 days earlier, and use of rescue medication was significantly reduced!
You can find elderberry syrup in the Health Room or dried elderberries in the Bulk Section at Mana Foods. Below is an easy remedy to make at home.
Traditional Elderberry Syrup
• 4 cups water (distilled or spring water works best)
• 2 cups dried organic elderberries (or 4 cups fresh or frozen)
• 2 Tbsp organic ginger (minced or grated)
• 1 tsp cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
• ½ tsp ground cloves
• 1 cup raw local honey (not recommended for children under one years old), substitute with sugar or maple syrup.
1. Combine water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves into a medium saucepan.
2. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
3. Remove from heat and steep for one hour.
4. Strain berries using a strainer or doubled cheesecloth into a glass jar or bowl.
6. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to room temperature.
7. Add honey (or substitute) and stir until mixed.
8. Pour syrup into a sterilized mason jar or funnel into a slender medicine bottle.
9. Store in fridge
The recommended daily serving for immune system boosting properties is 1/2 – 1 teaspoon per day. If you are fighting cold and flu symptoms, a conservative recommendation is a serving every 2-3 hours until symptoms subside.
Enjoy and here’s to staying healthy this spring!
Image Credit: RitaE