In my neck of the woods, flu season is in full swing. If you’re anything like me, you may try to avoid people as much as possible during this time of year. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. Luckily, after some in-depth research, I discovered a superfood to help me and my family through flu season.
What is this magical superfood, you may ask? Elderberries.
Surprisingly, elderberries have been used for centuries by Native Americans as a folk remedy. I have learned over the years that the ways of the Native Americans are beneficial to us today. They know these lands better than anyone, so we should take heed of their practices.
Trying Elderberry Syrup
My first actual experience with elderberry syrup is when I purchased it from the farmers market last year. I took it off and on but wasn’t consistent unless I was feeling under the weather. It certainly helped my coughing and chest congestion when I took it.
This year, I decided to make my own elderberry syrup. It couldn’t be that hard, right? Well, it really isn’t difficult to make, but it is costly. The main cost of the elderberry syrup is honey. I use only local, raw honey from a farm I trust. That means I am spending around $25 a pound for the good stuff. Of course, you can use cheaper honey, but I would not suggest it.
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Elderberry Syrup in my Family
Before we get into the elderberry syrup recipe I use, let’s discuss the benefits of taking it daily. As I stated earlier, I originally decided to make it help fight against the flu. I’m a substitute teacher, so I am around sick kids regularly. Them snotty, slobbery children love to get in your face every chance they get. I need every tool I can get in my toolbox to fight against the germs they pass on!
Immediately after making my first batch of elderberry syrup, my brother-in-law came down with the flu. I gave my sister some syrup for him, and he was feeling much better within 12 hours. He’s a little hardheaded and would not give the elderberry syrup the credit for his feeling better, but I know differently. My sister started feeling a little under the weather during that 12-hour period as well, and begin taking syrup herself. She never experienced much discomfort at all, thanks to syrup.
Once I heard how well the elderberry syrup did for them, I was determined to take it myself at least once a day. I tend to have a lot of sinus issues this time of year, but since I began taking the elderberry syrup, I have had no problems. After taking the syrup a couple days in a row, my sister noticed she was not having the digestive issues she was typically experiencing. That was certainly an unexpected side effect, but one that encouraged me to look closer at everything elderberry syrup could do for my family.
Benefits of Elderberry Syrup
The more I research it, the more I am impressed with the superfood. Elderberries are rich in vitamins A and C, and have been shown to improve brain function, support your immune system, prevent chronic diseases, and so much more. In fact, many researchers believe that elderberry syrup can inhibit the biological pathways known to cause prostate cancer.
The antioxidants found in elderberries have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the immune system. They also help to improve the elasticity and texture of your skin. Many studies support the notion that elderberries are beneficial for those suffering from heart disease and diabetes.
Yes, I know, elderberries are quite the superfood! But the main reason my family uses elderberry syrup is for flu prevention and treatment, so let’s take a closer look at that.
Elderberry Syrup for the Flu
When it comes to treating flu symptoms, many doctors turn towards Tamiflu, Relenza, Rapivab, and other drugs for their patients. According to Web MD, these drugs typically reduce the duration of the flu by one or two days. The average flu symptoms last seven days. Elderberry syrup, on the other hand, has been shown time and time again reduce the duration of the flu by half. And, you don’t have all the side effects associated with the prescribed medications when you take elderberry syrup. The Journal of International Medical Research documented studies showing the effectiveness of elderberry syrup in flu patients. The results are quite amazing.
Hopefully, you’re beginning to see just how wonderful elderberry syrup is for you and your family, especially during the flu season. I have certainly become a believer!
Now that I have you all excited about the benefits of elderberry syrup, I suppose I should give you a recipe. Below is the recipe I use. It can be time-consuming, and there are several items you need to gather. If you prefer, I have some pint jars of elderberry syrup available for sale through my Facebook page, McPhetridge Family Farms. Message me on the page for more information.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
If you are simply making enough for your own family, you can reduce this recipe. I purchased dried elderberries by the panel, so my recipe reflects that.
What you Need:
- 1 pound Dried Elderberries (I order organic elderberries from Frontier)
- 21 cups of water
- 9 tablespoons dried ginger root
- 6 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- 3 teaspoons clove powder
- 5 pounds of raw, local honey
- Pour water into large pot. Add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.
- Boil until the liquid in the pot has reduced by almost half.
- Once the liquid is reduced, remove from the heat.
- Pour the liquid into a glass bowl through a strainer.
- Allow the liquid to cool to lukewarm, 108° or less.
- Add the honey and stir well. It’s best to add a little at a time. (Make sure the liquid is no hotter than 108° before adding honey. Otherwise, you will lose some of the beneficial properties of the honey).
- Once your mixture is ready, add to jars and place in the refrigerator.
As you can see, it isn’t too difficult to make elderberry syrup at home. It is certainly worth the effort for the benefits you gain from this superfood.
If you have tried elderberry syrup, let us know the benefits you have seen from using it regularly.