Heal Thyself: Elderberry Syrup for Colds & Flu

I've always been one for natural healing. I trust the use of herbs and diet for my well being as well as my families. I recently found a recipe for Elderberry Syrup while I was searching for ways to use Elderberry for some cold/allergy related symptoms I'm having. I've known for some time now that Elderberry is great for the immune system and is effective in fighting 8 strains of the flu virus. Also, I have come across studies done with elderberry which showed that it reduces excessive sinus mucus secretion, and may help lessen swelling of mucous membranes, improve sinus drainage, and decrease nasal congestion. This sounded like the perfect thing for my family right now - and I had all the ingredients, so I made it and I'm sharing it with all of you!

You'll need:

  • 2/3 cup Black Elderberries (I used dried)
  • 3.5 cups of water
  • 2 TBSP of fresh ginger root - finely minced, or 1 tsp dried Ginger
  • 1/2 - 1 TSP Cinnamon powder
  • a pinch of Cloves or Clove powder
  • 1 cup (or less) raw honey

Mix all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and let simmer for 45-1 hour (until the liquid has reduced by 1/3).
I like to use Ball Jars for just about everything, and this would be no exception. I love that I can also use them to measure! I put 1 cup of honey in the jar -
Then I took some muslin cloth and set it up for straining using a strong rubber band. Make sure that the fabric sinks into the cup as much as possible without sinking too low into the jar and also while being completely surrounded by the rubber band.
Once the Elderberry mixture has simmered down to 1/3 the liquid it was, remove it from heat and let cool until the pan is touchable. Tip the pan and begin to separate the pulp from the liquid.
Use a spoon and scoop the liquid into your muslin cloth over the jar and then take your spoon and gently (but firmly) stroke the bottom of the fabric back and forth with the back of your spoon until all the liquid is in the jar and you are left with pulp. Scoop the pulp out and set aside.
Do this until all of the liquid you can get out is in the jar. Then take your cheese cloth off of the jar and lay it on a plate. Scoop some of the berries from the pan into the middle of the cloth, bunch it up and squeeze it out into your jar.
Really get in there - getting a little messy is the fun part!
After all of your liquid is within the jar, it will probably look like this:
Simply stir it up well and you are done! You've just made your own medicine that is safe and natural for you and your whole family. Doesn't that feel good? The love and healing energy that you put into this as you are making it will return to you and your family 10 fold. I took some extra time to give the mixture Reiki as it was simmering. The feeling that I get out of making something like this is WAY cooler than any medicine I've ever bought at the store.
Elderberry Syrup: Store in the fridge - good for 3 weeks! 

Want to know more about Elderberry? 

I found this woman's post called "Everything you need to know about alcohol-free Elderberry Syrup for preventing colds and influenza" which turned out to be a GREAT read on the topic. Made me start thinking of more ways that I could use Elderberries....using it as a dye for my baby wraps is one exciting possibility! They are such a beautiful red color. Paired with Beets I bet that would make a GREAT dye!

Here's what Mountain Rose Herbs (an online source for herbs) has to say about it:

Extensive research show that elder stop the production of hormone-like cytokines that direct a class of white blood cells known as neutrophils to cause inflammation, especially in influenza and arthritis. On the other hand, elder increases the production non-inflammatory infection-fighting cytokines as much as 10 fold. Elder berries are known to be effective against eight strains of influenza. This suggests that elder be superior to vaccines in preventing flu, because flu vaccines are only effective against known strains of flu, whereas the virus is continually mutating to new strains. Vaccines have another draw back: over half of people who get them report side effects. Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover."

I am taking frequent doses of the syrup because I am fighting something - and I am also giving it to my children as well. Since each batch is going to be different in potency, I would suggest doing what feels right for you and your family and adjust as needed.  I am taking about a tablespoon every 3 hours, the older kids a teaspoon and the little one (2.5 years) is getting a little less than that. I'll probably also use it on our pancakes and may give some to Zander watered down in a cup as well. 

I do not recommend the use of the elderberry syrup for pregnant or nursing mothers - only out of precaution. I do, however, think that if used in moderation only when exposed to a virus it could be a beneficial way of keeping mama from getting sick. 

So, there you have it folks! I'll get back to you on how quickly my symptoms clear up. It may be allergies, too, but - either way this stuff makes my throat feel better, helps with the mucus, tastes great AND boosts my immune system. I'll take all of that I can get. :) 


lasophia said...

I'm down for anything that helps with the immune system. I think we have lost so much knowledge of herbs, natural remedies and "ethno-medicine" over the years. This is great.


Anonymous said...

Hey Julia... Is this safe for my 22 month old son? Thanks for the post i am always looking for natural remedies!!!

Juliea said...

I'm not going to tell you that you should or shouldn't give your 22 month old - but - I would give it to mine in small doses. You can technically put this on pancakes or add water to it as juice, so, I can't imagine it would hurt.

BEadECLECTIC said...

I'm definitely gonna try this. :)