DIY Elderberry Syrup and Its Benefits

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When Pepper was born I was that crazy Mom who never wanted to take her anywhere for fear of germs. That only lasted a short while because well…life happened, and I also felt empowered by the tools I had as a new mom. I had herbs, essential oils & vitamins…and knowing the power that they had, I felt confident.

I started making elderberry syrup when Pepper was one-year-old. It’s become a fall tradition, ever since. I don’t recall where I first learned about elderberry syrup, but it’s discussed in all of my favorite herbal books.

Why I choose to make my own…

If you’ve seen elderberry syrup at the health food store, you’ll have noticed it’s extremely expensive, but you can make your own for a fraction of the price. The store bought stuff in most cases is not 100% pure elderberry and honey. Frequently, it is diluted with other ingredients and often it contains refined sugar. Sugar is the last ingredient you want to consume when you’re feeling under the weather or when you are sick. Sugar suppresses the immune system, leaving it vulnerable and unable to function properly. That basically means you will be more likely to catch something and you will be slow to recover from something as well. Please read your labels carefully, as sugar is in almost everything processed.

The Benefits of Elderberry…

No child will escape the common cold or the flu, but we can support their immune system naturally…

Elderberry flowers and the fruit have been used for centuries through out Europe in herbal medicine. Elderberry has been known for it’s immune supporting properties. It has been studied for it’s ability to fight viral and bacterial infections. “In the early 1900’s, elderberry extract was used to effectively to treat flu symptoms during an influenza epidemic in Panama.” Davis, 92. It is rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins, a rich flavonoid with “high antioxidant capacities and immunonostimulant effects.” Davis, 93. Believe it or not elderberries contain four times the anthocyanins as any other berries, even blackberries. The sambucus nigra species of elderberry have proven to be antiviral especially against different strains of the influenza virus.

“And in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol decreased the duration of flu symptoms to about three days. In addition to it’s antiviral properties, Sambucol elderberry extract and its formulations have been shown in studies to boost immune function by increasing inflammatory cytokine production, which benefits healthy individuals as well as people with a variety of disease.” Sorrel, 93.

Elderberry has been used to treat wounds, as well. Research also shows that it is anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling of the mucous membranes, it may also be beneficial in supporting the body through hay fever, chronic fatigue, sciatica nerve pain, diabetes and cancer.


Warning: While herbs are powerful, mild nourishing medicines with little to no side effects, we still must always use common sense and caution. Never consume uncooked, unripe or raw elderberries as they may be toxic.

The recipe

Optional herbs to add to recipe during brewing:

  • organic echinacea (2-3 tbs angustifolia root)
  • organic fresh or dried ginger (grated 2-3 tbs)
  • organic cinnamon sticks (2-3)
  • Thieves essential oil (5-10 drops added once syrup has cooled) Learn more about getting your Young Living Oils here.

Directions:

  1. Place the berries in a saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes.
  2. Strain the mixture once it’s cooled with a metal mesh strainer and add honey…you may find the 1 cup is too sweet and you may prefer to use less honey.
  3. Store in a sanitary jar and keep refrigerated for up to 3 months.

Dosage: Dosage varies on you and your families needs. We personally take 1 tbs two to three times a week for prevention and then when we are unwell, 1-2 tbs a few times through out the day to help our body fight off whatever it is fighting. Children under 2 can have their dose in a teaspoon. It’s important to do your own research, but the beauty of herbs is that they are mild but powerful and nourishing. Use common sense as with anything else.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I advise everyone do their own research in order to make the best informed choice for themselves and their family.

Resources:

  1. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide
  2. Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Jill Romm
  3. Herbal Antivirals by Sorrel Davis
  4. Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar
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