Elderberries!

ElderberryBy Lauren Sofia, CH

It’s that time of year again!  It’s “flu season” and everyone around you is probably sniffling and coughing.  It’s only a matter of time before you catch that nasty virus.  But wait! There’s hope!

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) have been used as an herbal remedy for centuries, as a flavor in cooking and cocktails, and as a natural coloring with their deep purple hues.

Elderberries contain high levels of vitamins C, B-complex, flavonoids, and other antioxidants. They have a strong antiviral effect and immunomodulating properties, making them great for the common cold and flu.  Elderberries can be used for prevention of the flu and also in persons that already have the flu.  They are known to reduce flu symptoms and shorten the duration by about 3-4 days.  Elderberries are helpful with most inflammations of the upper respiratory tract.

A common form to use Elderberries is in syrup.  Elderberry syrup is delicious, easy to make and great for the entire family!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 ½  cup dried Elderberries
  • 5 cups filtered water
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • ¼-½ cup Ginger root (dried)*
  • ¼ cup Allspice*
  • ¼ Orange peel (dried)*
  • Vanilla bean or a splash of Vanilla extract
  •  A splash of Brandy*
  • Honey to preferred taste and consistency

*optional

Put all ingredients except brandy and honey into a medium sauce pan and bring the water to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer for 30-45 minutes reducing the water by half.  Strain out the herbs.  Return liquid to low heat and stir in the honey.  Be sure not to over-heat the honey to preserve the medicinal benefits.  Pour into jar for storage and add the splash of brandy for preservation and extra bit of sweet.  Best stored in fridge.

For prevention: Start with 1 tablespoon twice a day, or 1-2 droppers full (30-60 drops).

For acute symptoms: 2-3 tablespoons every waking hour, or 2-4 droppers full (60-120 drops).

Sources:  Gazmend Skenderi’s Herbal Vade Mecum