*Note from Sarah: You can also visit the author of this post, Katie, over at her amazing blog Wellness Mama. Thank you Katie!
Unfortunately, flu season is fast approaching. While a good diet goes 90% of the way toward preventing illness, sometimes cold or flu can still strike.
One remedy I always have on hand during the winter is Elderberry Syrup. This remedy gained some popularity during the swine flu and avian flu scares, as it has been shown to help alleviate flu symptoms.
“[the properties in] 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.” (source)
There are several commercial brands of elderberry syrup available commercially but it is much more cost effective to make it, and you can avoid the unhealthy syrups that are often in store brands.
Elderberry syrup can be used preventatively or for acute symptoms, and kids usually love the taste.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup Ingredients:
- 2/3 cup black elderberries
- 3 1/2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger root, finely minced, or 1 tsp dried ginger
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- small sprinkle of cloves or clove powder
- 1 cup (or less) raw honey (or sweetener of choice- see note below)
How To Make Elderberry Syrup:
- Put all ingredients except honey in a medium sized sauce pan.
3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
4. When cool enough to touch the pan with your hands, strain the liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth into a large glass jar or bowl. Discard the strained ingredients.
5. When liquid is still warm, add the honey and stir well to incorporate. [Note: alternate sweeteners like stevia can be used, though this will create a liquid, rather than a syrup and it will only last 2-3 weeks in fridge]
6. Store in a glass bottle or jar in the fridge.
Standard dose is up to 1 tablespoon a day for adults and 1 teaspoon a day for kids over the age of 2. Some sources recommend taking every other day or only during the weeks to boost effectiveness. If cold or flu strikes, this dose can be doubled or tripled until symptoms go away.
Ever taken elderberry syrup or tinctures before? What is your go-to cold and flu remedy?