Its that time of year again, cold and flu season. Instead of buying over the counter medications, make this immune boosting syrup at home!
Elderberries (also know as sambucus or sambucol) have been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years to prevent and treat the symptoms of the common cold and flu. (Source) These tiny berries are rich in anti-oxidant flavonoids (fights oxidation - boosts health and beauty) and anti-inflammatory anthocyanin.
I first fell in love with elderberry syrup when I was looking for something to prevent my children from getting sick at school and daycare (you know, where the germs live lol). I didn’t get too many complaints about the taste so I bought several bottles before I realized I could simply make it myself.
Not only is homemade elderberry syrup easy to prepare and delicious, you also have the luxury of knowing exactly what goes in it. This means you can avoid ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and ‘natural’ flavoring.
This recipe is made with:
Fresh ginger – used in Chinese medicine to warm and protect the digestion as well as fend off colds. (Source)
Cinnamon is an immune booster that helps to resolve pain. (Source)
Raw honey (which balances the tart flavor of the berries) contains micro-nutrients and enzymes that give your body extra support as well. (Source)
For kids 1-2 teaspoons daily during cold and flu season, adult’s 1-2 tablespoons daily increasing as needed if you start to feel like you are catching something. (Mon-Fri, taking a break during the weekend)
While it tastes amazing as is, use elderberry syrup anywhere else you might need a sweetener. I love it in plain Greek yogurt; you can use it in tea, ice cream, and on pancakes.
Additional Elderberry Wisdom here
Elderberry Syrup Ingredients
• 4 cups filtered water
• 4 quarter-inch slices of fresh ginger
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 3 cloves
• Mason jar for storing syrup
• Fine mesh strainer
* 1/2 cup raw honey
1. Add all ingredients except for the honey into a medium saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low.
3. Continue simmering for 30-45 minutes - your house is going to smell amazing!
4. Before the liquid cools completely, strain it through a fine mesh strainer.
5. Allow the liquid to cool to about 118F, you should be able to touch the side of the container its in if you don’t have a thermometer (to preserve the enzymes in the raw honey), and gently combine the warm reduced liquid with the raw honey.
6. Store in a glass mason jar in the fridge.
This mixture should last you a month or so, depending on how much juice you were able to extract from the berries. Like anything homemade, if you start to see any mold or funky things growing throw it out and make another batch.