for boosting the immune system and fighting off colds and the flu
I recently posted a story on Instagram where I was making this seasons elderberry syrup. I love elderberry syrup for its ability to fight of sickness as the weather begins to change. It’s super tasty and safe for everyone, which is why it is a favorite amongst families. It also has a great flavor and most kids love it. My son asks for it every day. It’s easy to give him a spoonful once to twice a day. And besides taking it traditionally by the spoonful, there are so many ways you can add the syrup into other recipes. One of my favorites is an “herbal beer”, a mixture of elderberry syrup, herbal tinctures and seltzer water. It can also be used in cocktails, dressings and marinades.
I bought my ingredients from our local natural market. Most of the ingredients can be purchased at the grocery store, but if you don’t have a place that sells dried herbs, you can obtain them online from Mountain Rose Herbs, specifically my favorite, or other herb store. I recommend buying organic. If organic certification isn’t available on the product, find out who processes the herbs and how they source. A lot of times, that is just as important, or more, as being organic. Even better, if you can find elderberries around your house to use, go for it! A word of caution, fresh elderberries can be toxic until cooked, never eat the berries off the plant. Also, if you don’t know a lot about wildcrafting, Poke Berry can be mistaken for Elderberry – both are a dark purple. It is the formation of the berries on the cluster and the shape of the leaves that will give it away. But Poke is very toxic when eaten. It is best when the root is used as an oil infusion. I will make a blog post on this later!
To start, add the half cup of dried elderberries and 3 cups of water to a pot. Start to heat up and add your 5 cloves and sliced ginger. Allow the water to come to a boil, and turn down the heat and let it simmer for 40 minutes. Strain the syrup into a glass jar – NO plastic. I love Weck Jars and have a bunch of them in varying sizes for my herbal medicine recipes, but mason jars are great too. Use what you have! Add a cup of raw honey to your syrup. This will give it a much sweeter taste and the medicinal benefits of the raw honey. Put the top on your jar and let it sit on the counter for an hour or so to cool, and then leave it in the fridge.
Dosage: Trust the innate wisdom of your body, it will let you know if something is up. And if you feel like you’re taking too much, or that your body is not reacting well with the syrup, stop taking it. If you are around people that are sick, take a heavier dose of a tablespoon every couple of hours. Kids can take ½-1 teaspoon every couple of hours. Elderberry is safe to take for an extended period of time, even at the heavier doses. However, I would recommend taking some time off just to allow your immune system to do its own thing and become competent without any aids.
This is truly one of my favorite recipes, and my son’s. I hope you invite your kids to make the syrup with you and introduce them to herbal medicine. How fun to make something that you can take every day AND call it medicine. Enjoy!
1.2 cup of dried elderberries
3 cups of water
1 inch of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup of raw honey