Fall is my favorite time of the year but unfortunately it comes with colds and the flu.
Now is the time to starting thinking about adjusting our self care routines to also include boosts to our immune systems. I like to get nutrients on board the last week of August so that I have some defense going before children head to school in September.
Last fall, I drank 1-3 cups of Echinacea tea with elderberry each day and I had zero colds. When it came to the winter, I eased up on the tea and thought my flu shot would cover me from the flu. Well, I never got the flu so that worked out! However, I was sick ALL. WINTER. LONG. I had a cold in both January and February. In March I came down with bronchitis, laryngitis and conjunctivitis all at the same time. Part of the issue is being exposed to children who should stay home when they are sick… but that’s a whole different post.
I’ve never been so sick during the winter months before and I think part of it was due to easing up on my self care winter routines. So, this year I’m going to experiment. What happens if I manage to keep up with the self care? I think I already know the answer to that question, but i hope to see it come to fruition.
Back to elderberries… elderberries have been used to prevent and shorten colds and the flu for a loooonnnnggg time. We don’t have much research other than a few small studies but it does seam like a folk remedy that works for a lot of people. What we do know is that elderberry extract is the most powerful delivery system. You of course can eat elderberry jam and get lots of benefits but it might not be enough to boost your immunity to colds and flu.
Therefore, syrups might be a good bet. Here is the recipe that I made today. It does take some time to make but today just happened to be perfect more me. It’s rainy and grey but the smell of the syrup is really warming up the house!
I get all off my bulk herbs for projects like this from Mountain Rose Herbs. I’ve been buying from them since I was a teenager! They are an eco friendly business…another post to come!
I used raw honey in my syrup because of all the amazing benefits raw honey alone has in boosting your immune system. I just add the honey last after the to keep it from going above 115 degrees, at which point some of the goodness is destroyed. Don’t forget though, that you can’t give this to babies under one year old because of the honey! You could make it with sugar instead, but you might want to check with your health care provider first before giving infants elderberry.
- 1 1/2 cups of dried elderberries
- 3 cups of filtered water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons of dried ginger root
- 16 oz. Raw honey
In a medium to large pot add elderberries, cinnamon stick, ginger and water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer with a lid for 40 minutes; stir occasionally. After simmering remove from heat and let the pot sit for one hour. This good long steep will help extract everything you can from the berries. Then strain the liquid using a strainer or muslin cloth. I strain my berries right into the sterilized jar I will store the syrup in. Once the liquid is at room temperature, add in the honey. Label the jar with the date. Store in the refrigerator up to 6 months. Take 1-2 teaspoons per day. You can use the syrup on oatmeal, pancakes or add it to tea!!