Elderberry syrup is all the rage for good reason. So, what’s all the chatter about with this tiny deep purple berry, Elderberry?
The glorious aubergine liquid has been a staple in our house for a few years due to its powerful ability to support our immune systems especially during cold and flu season. Neither one of us will even slightly entertain the idea of taking a flu shot. I wanted something that we could trust and that we were very sure of what was in it.
We all know there are two types of evidence. Empirical and anecdotal. I’m happy to report there are several studies showing the efficacy of elderberry to help boost the immune system and ease the symptoms of cold and flu. Anecdotally, I can tell you we’ve had great success avoiding the creeping crud and if it does start to take a hold of us, we stop it in its tracks!
What is Elderberry?
Elderberries are the fruit of the Sambucus tree. The most common type is the Sambucus nigra. The tree has clusters of small white or cream elderflowers and bunches of small blue or black elderberries.
The berries and the flowers each hold their own when it comes to supporting our immune systems.
Elderberry: Flavonoids (rutin, quercetin), terpenes, sambunigrin, sambucine, chlorgenic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium.
Elderflower: Flavonols; quercetin, anthocyanins, and isoquercitrin. Chlorogenic acid, erythrodiol and oleanolic acids.
This natural remedy is packed with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus. As a matter of fact, research has shown a standardized black elderberry extract to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza.
But the benefits don’t stop there. If you are unfortunate enough to contract the “creeping crud” as I call it, researchers also show that black elderberry extract reduced the duration of flu symptoms by 3-4 days.
And it gets better!
For a healthy immune system black elderberry extract still shows benefits. Elderberry stimulates cytokine production in a healthy immune system to help ward off viral infections.
You can find commercial Elderberry products everywhere these days. Your options run the gamut from lozenges to gummies to syrups. Just be sure to opt for organic if possible!
The best way is to make your own! It is super simple and not too time consuming.
Try this simple elderberry syrup recipe as a daily immune booster or a delicious syrup on pancakes, crepes, or waffles.
Prep Time 5 min / Cook Time 1 hour / Inactive Time 15 min / Total Time 1 hour, 20 min
Yield 4 Cups
1 Cup dried elderberry – TIP: I use Frontier organic bulk elderberries because they are non-irradiated.
3 ½ cups of filtered water
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger root – TIP: I’ve used powder in a pinch, but the flavor is best with fresh!
1 teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground clove or 1 tsp whole clove – TIP: I’ve used both the ground and whole clove in batches. We like the flavor profile when using the whole clove best!
1 cup raw honey – Tip: I use a local raw honey that is cultivated for allergy support!
- Pour water into medium sauce pan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. You want the liquid to be reduced by about half.
- Remove from the heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
- Mash the berries carefully using the back of a spoon or a potato masher.
- Pour through a strainer into a glass bowl or jar.
- After the liquid is no longer hot, add your honey and stir well. Adding the honey to hot liquid diminishes its power. Be sure it is cooled to just above room temp!
- Pour your syrup into glass jars to store. TIP: I use dark colored jars to store my syrup!
And that…is that! You just made nourishing elderberry syrup. Since your immune boosting elderberry syrup doesn’t have any preservatives it’s important to store in the fridge. You may store and use for up to 3 months if kept refrigerated.
Standard dose is ½ – 1 teaspoon for children and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does make an appearance, take the normal does every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.
Looking for more information on boosting immunity? Check out the power of essential oils! They are a great tool in your wellness toolbox.