Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Elderberry Syrup

It's that time of the year again!
Cold and flu season which means for my family it is Elderberry Syrup Season.  From mid-August to late March we go through gallons of elderberry syrup in order to keep the cooties at bay so I thought I would share my recipe with you.

Here's what you need:
1 cup of dried organic elderberries
1/2 cup rose hips
4 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger sliced
1 cup of local, raw organic honey
4 cups of water

Ingredients gathered

Here's what you need to do:
Combine all your ingredients (except the honey) into a pot and allow it to come to a boil.  Once it has reached a boil turn it down and the mixture to simmer for one hour.

Before adding water.

"A watched pot never boils"
After your ingredients have simmered for 1 hour, remove from heat and allow them to cool.  They need to be cool enough for you to handle but warm enough to dissolve your honey.

Strain your ingredients into a bowl through cheese cloth, muslin or a fine mesh strainer.  Once strained, add your honey.  An important note about adding your honey - You do not want your syrup to be above 90 degrees fahrenheit as it will destroy the medicinal properties of the honey and you want all the "fighting power" you can get!

Once your honey is thoroughly dissolved, placed your syrup in an airtight container and store in the fridge.  It can last up to two months in the fridge.

Ready for the fridge.

Dosing - If you are like me then you will likely notice that dosing on elderberry syrup is widely diverse.  I believe the reason for this is because at the end of the day, elderberry syrup is a medicinal food.  It is commonly used in jams, wines and toppings for pancakes and ice cream.  This is how my family uses our syrup.

Child Dose - 3/4 ounce daily (preventative), 3/4-1 1/2 ounces three times daily during illness.
Adult Dose - 1 1/2 ounces daily (preventative), 3 ounces three times a day during illness.

*It should be noted that elderberry syrup can be taken for up to 6 weeks consecutively but it is recommended to stop taking it for a week or longer before resuming preventative dosing.*

Contraindications/Concerns - As elderberries help to increase immune function, it is important for those with auto-immune disorders to discuss the addition of elderberries with their primary care physician.  Do not use on children under 12 months due to the honey content.  Try making it with maple or brown rice syrup.

Elderberries and elderberry syrup are becoming very mainstream as we figure out different ways to combat viruses and stay healthy.  As their popularity grows, more research is being done to prove their efficacy.  
Elderberries work to boost immune function and prevent viruses from piercing cell walls, a necessary action for virus replication.  
Because of their new found popularity, it is very easy to find commercial syrups at most local pharmacies and grocery stores.  The problem I find is these syrups are very costly and many of them are made with sugar which does not help the body fighting illness.  In fact, it can inhibit the immune system. 

Resources and more information - http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/elderberry, https://www.planetherbs.com/specific-herbs/elder-sambucus-nigra.html, http://bearmedicineherbals.com/into-the-forest-exploring-elderberry.html, http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-rose-hip.html, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266069.php, http://www.naturalnews.com/035493_raw_honey_health_benefits_antibacterial.html   

1 comment:

  1. Can I use powdered ginger instead of fresh? If so, how much?