Cold and flu season is here and it is time for Elderberry Syrup. I have always taken it in the fall and winter months and was so surprised when I learned how easy it is to make. Since I have been waxing eloquent about it, I thought it might be time to share the recipe.
The elderberry plant (Sambucus Nigra) is one of the oldest medicinal plants in the world dating back to 400 BC when Hippocrates referred to it as his “Great Medicine Chest”. Of late, clinical trials have shown that elderberry syrup can shorten the length of time for cold or flu symptoms. Positive results from lab tests also show that black elderberry boosts the immune system and is a good source of antioxidants.
This is a very basic recipe and so simple to make. If you want to add more spices or herbs do look at this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs. You will be able to customise your own recipe to your needs. The possibilities seem endless and you can order directly from them.
1/2 C dried black elderberries
3 C water
1 cinnamon stick
a few whole cloves
2 t fresh ginger (or to taste; you can use powdered)
1 C raw honey
Put the berries, water and spices in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes (liquid will be reduced by about half). Smash berries to release all juice and strain the mixture using a fine strainer (I use cheesecloth) into a glass bowl. Smash berries once again in strainer. Allow to cool and add the honey stirring until incorporated. It is important that it cools or the honey will lose its antibacterial benefits. Put in a mason jar or smaller amber bottles (I use 2 oz ones) in refrigerator. Shelf life is about 3 months.
If you don’t want to make the syrup there are a few reliable companies that sell it; just check with your local health food source.
Enjoy the process and stay healthy. Let me know what you add to your recipe.
Disclaimer: Everybody reacts differently to foods so it is important to consult your health practitioner for advise before using any food that you are not familiar with. You must not eat raw or unripe elderberries as they will make you ill.