Coughs, sniffles, fevers…all around general yuckiness.
I think we can all agree that this current sick season is one of the worst we’ve seen in a while. Everyone around us is dropping like flies. And I’m over here like…
Seriously. I have been applying and breathing in my oils like crazy. My kids are even becoming obsessed this season. On Guard is my favorite “go-to” oil to help keep our entire family’s immune system boosted (plus it helps us get over the yuck a bit faster) year round, but especially this time of year! The other day, I found Little Miss T trying to open a bottle of oil to smell (thankfully, I caught her in time and have since moved them out of her reach…for now. That girl is sneaky). But… as much as I love my oils and our amazing supplements, I leave no stone unturned during these seasons of sickness that plague us. Everywhere I look, I see friends selling or buying Elderberry Syrup, and swearing by it. So it got my wheels turning, and I decided to investigate. What I found out was incredible!
Benefits of Elderberries
Amazingly enough, elderberries have some pretty incredible health benefits. Not only can they help aid in digestion, they can aid in heart health, improve respiratory health, boost immunity, control diabetes, improve bone loss, weight loss, and healthy skin! Seriously?! Why haven’t we been using this stuff sooner?!
So I took to the interwebs and found several recipes to make your own. All of them, mostly the same, with only a small difference here and there. So at the recommendation of a friend, I checked out Wellness Mama’s site and went off her recipe.
A few things to note about Elderberries
Now, before you go crazy and pick elderberries to use for your recipe, there are a few important things you’ll want to note. The stems, roots, seeds, and leaves of elderberries can be toxic to humans. Don’t freak out! The berries are fine, as long as they are cooked through. And this recipe makes sure that is the case. PLUS, the berries you are going to buy aren’t going to have any of the dangerous “extra” parts in them.
So why would you want to make your own Elderberry Syrup, when you can go out and buy it yourself?
For one, it’s going to be way more cost effective. I bought my dried elderberries in a 1 lb. bag, and with me only using a small amount in my recipe, that bag is going to last me several batches! Another reason I wanted to make it myself, was so I could know exactly what ingredients were going into my syrup. I’m sure the local mamas in my area are just as stringent about the items they are putting in their syrup, but if I’m giving it my kids, then I want to have full control over it. Plus, if they can make, it, why can’t I?
Aside from the Elderberries (these are the ones I bought), this recipe is great because it utilizes spices and ingredients that most people already have on hand. Plus, you can totally customize the amount of the spices (or add in your own) to give it the best taste for you!
*Side note* – you can switch out the honey for maple syrup if using for an infant younger than 1 year old.
- 2/3 cup dried black elderberries
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 Tbls freshly grated ginger (ground ginger, or Ginger essential oil would work here, too)
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder (you can also sub 1 drop of Cinnamon essential oil)
- 1/2 tsp clove powder (again, you can sub out for Clove oil if you’d rather!)
- 1 cup raw honey (local to you is best)
- In a medium saucepan, combine: elderberries, clove*, ginger* and cinnamon* (don’t add the honey yet!) – *if your’e using essential oils, wait to add those when you add the honey*
- Bring to a boil, and then allow mixture to simmer for 45 – 60 minutes – or until the mixture has reduced by half.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Using a large spoon or other flat sided utensil, begin crushing the berries.
- Using a strainer, pour mixture into a glass bowl or jar. Discard the berries, and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature / luke warm.
- Add in honey (and oils, if using) and stir until well combined.
- Store in jar or other container with lid, in fridge for up to 2 weeks. Whatever you don’t use during that time, can simply be frozen.
Ok, so honestly, I’m not an herbalist, so I’m not sure I’m qualified to tell you how much to take. But I can tell you what our family does. During times of peak illness (like right now, with the flu flying about all willy nilly), I take about a teaspoon a day, and my kids get half that. When someone is dealing with an illness, we will usually double that amount.
Here are several of the websites and sources, where I found my information. Take a look around and make the decision for yourself, if elderberry syrup is right for you and your family.