By Sheri Dugan
Hello neighbors! Many of you may already know about the amazing elderberry, nature’s natural immunity boost, and perhaps have taken it in some form when you “start coming down with something.”
Elderberries have been used medicinally since Hippocrates referred to the elder tree as his “medicine chest.”
The berries and the flowers have been used medicinally worldwide since 400 BC. Recent in vitro studies demonstrate that elderberries possess antiviral, antibacterial, and immunomodulatory properties.
While the berries are somewhat bitter, they are normally processed with a sweetener. Honey is an alternative favored by many who make their medicinal elderberry syrup.
While rich in antioxidants, the tiny berries are also an excellent source of:
- vitamins A & C,
- have a fair amount of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine folates, and pantothenic acid
- minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and phosphorus
- they are also rich in anthocyanins from their color!
I’ve learned how easy (and cheap) it is to make elderberry syrup. if you can boil water, you can make this syrup!
Tieraona Low Dog, MD, and herbalist, developed the basic recipe below.
Classic Elderberry Syrup Recipe
Makes about 3 cups of syrup without alcohol, 4 cups with alcohol
– 2 cups dried organic elderberries
– 4 cups cold water (distilled, purified, or spring water best)
– 1 cup raw local honey (or organic maple syrup or agave for a vegan/infant-friendly recipe); double the amount of sweetener to increase shelf life if not using alcohol
– 1 cup vodka or brandy (optional….. to increase shelf life)
1. Combine berries and herbs with cold water in a non-reactive pot (no aluminum or Teflon) and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and slowly simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, leaving the lid on.
3. Remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour.
4. train berries – set a strainer lined with doubled cheesecloth or mesh bag over a large pyrex “pouring” bowl. Carefully squeeze out the liquid –( if it’s still too hot, wait a few minutes.)
5. Once the liquid cools to under 97 degrees, add honey and stir to incorporate. Temps over 97 will destroy some beneficial enzymes.)
6. If using vodka or brandy (my favorite), add now and stir until well combined.
7. Bottle in sterilized glass and store in the refrigerator.
One tablespoon daily for adults; 1 teaspoon daily for children over one. You may use it to help boost the immune system year-round. f you are feeling sick, have the flu, or sore throat, increase the dosage to 1 tbsp every 3-4 hours up to 6 times per day (children over one – 1 tsp). Among the many benefits, elderberries are also a mild diuretic.