Some people think of the fall as cold and flu season, but I have news for you. As winter continues on, we're still in it. In fact, many of us may be best suited for Vitamin D supplements and a Vitamin C IV! This is the time to pull out the big guns: the super immune boosters like the bone broths, the medicinal mushrooms, the fermented foods, super hydration, and the botanical medicines, like this wildly simple and delicious elderberry syrup.
I buy my elderberries by the bagful in the summer, then make a batch of this syrup and freeze the remaining berries to make more of this recipe in January.
Despite the fame of the "taste awful but it works" cough syrup, medicine can actually taste awesome and this is a prime example.
Elderberry Has An Awesomeness Factor of 10/10
Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and have been used for a long time (like thousands of years) to treat colds and flus. They're a mighty, mighty source of Vitamin C and should for sure be part of any immune-boosting protocol.
Where To Buy Elderberries
- Fresh at the farmers market when in season.
- Beg your friends who bought them fresh at the farmer's market for some.
- Check your local health food store for dried berries.
- Order online from your fave online herbal apothecary...or, um, Amazon because they actually do sell everything.
Do Not Eat Them Raw: Elderberries need to be cooked to render them safe and to receive the amazing health benefits. Several varieties of elderberry are poisonous when eaten raw.
Before I get into today's recipe, check out this video Josh and I did making a tincture with elderberries.
To make my syrup, I add additional herbs to offer a more balanced healing remedy. The ginger aids in circulation and will help quell any nausea that comes with a cold or flu. Cinnamon lends the awesome taste, calms the belly and the nerves, and helps offset the blood sugar-altering effects of a sweet syrup.
Raw honey is the only way to go, in my opinion, for the sweetener as it's mighty high in anti-microbial and anti-bacterial factors. To keep those properties intact, I add them after the liquid has been reduced and the decoction has been removed from the stove.
The process is simple: add all the ingredients except the honey to your pot with water and simmer for about an hour until liquid is reduced.
I recommend taking one tablespoon every day as a preventive and every two to three hours if you feel a cold coming on.
As I mentioned, this is a great preventive when combined with:
Yield: 2 cups
- 1 cup fresh or ¾ cup dried elderberries
- 3 cups water
- 2 Tbsp fresh sliced ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon or ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 cup raw honey
- Place elderberries, water, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.
- Remove from heat and using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, strain out mixture. Transfer liquid to a jar and stir in 1 cup of honey.
- Keep in the fridge sealed for 2-3 weeks.