Elderberries – A tasty way to fight viruses

Ripe elderberries (Sambucus) in Rochester, Min...

After the recent spade of sickness in our house I have decided it is time to stock up on disease fighting remedies. Surely I am not the only one who always leaves things to the last minute and then finds that the very thing they need takes 6 weeks to make?

Traditional and scientific research indicate that elderberries promote disease resistance and that they also have the ability to prevent and even treat a virus. Elderberries have been used for centuries in the treatment of colds, viral infections and upper respiratory conditions including asthma. These little powerhouses are said to build the blood, cleanse the system, ease constipation, enhance the immune system function, fight inflammation, increase perspiration, lower fever, soothe the respiratory tract, and stimulate circulation – oh and they are a powerful antioxidant! Did I mention they taste great too? In the old days a syrup or a hot cup of elderberry wine would be often be prescribed before bed to ward off cold and flu related symptoms.

I popped over to The Medicine Woman’s Roots for her Elderberry Elixir recipe. I took Kiva’s suggestion and added some rosehip as well plus 1/2 a cinnamon stick. As this recipe takes a good month (and more) to mature I have also put some elderberries to soak for an Elderberry Syrup. I understand Kiva’s preference for the elixir but when compared to the elixir the syrup is much faster to prepare and contains no alcohol – which of course is a bonus when treating small children. While the elixir is soaking I can fall back on the syrup in the meantime. It may not be as powerful but it does still possess a lot of the virus fighting benefits.

Elderberry Syrup

1 cups dried elderberries
2 cups of boiling water
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 lemon juice
Put the elderberries in a non reactive saucepan, add boiling water – cover and leave to soak overnight. The next day simmer berries for 30 minutes, cool a little then blend. Once blended add honey and lemon juice. Cool, then pour into a clean bottle. Store in the fridge. NOTE: I havent decided if I am going to blend all the berries or whether I will strain the pulp out as I have seen in a few other recipes. I might do one of each and see if there is any added benefit from keeping the pulp. Will keep you updated on results down the track.

As with the elixir I chose to add a small handful of rosehips as well. We love the taste and it is high in Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C & K – helpful in the treatment of colds and infection.

Updated to add: If you are going to add dried rosehips like I did do add some extra water or else you will end up with slush in the morning as all the dried plant material has soaked up the water and there is nothing left to simmer.

As a quick cough syrup you can add Wild Thyme to this syrup recipe. It works wonderfully for my children who love the flavour.



Stay Herbal!

 

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