In the winter months our family likes to add elderberry syrup to our daily regimen. It's a fantastic way to boost to immune system because let's face it; there are a lot of germs and illnesses floating around. Now matter how healthy you eat, we don't get as much natural vitamin D in the winter months here in the Midwest especially, and a little boost never hurts.
Most years I have purchased our syrup online or from a local natural foods store, but it's not exactly cheap. Plus I'm always leery about the added sugars in some brands and prefer not to have that included. Bad bacteria in our guts feed off of the sugar and it sets you up for getting sick, so I'd just rather eliminate cane sugar as much as possible especially during the winter.
If you can get your hands on dried elderberries, I've found that it's actually really cost effective to just make your own. I found mine at our local Natural Grocers, but you can also find them on Amazon if you don't have anywhere local to find them. I promise, if you just give yourself 90 minutes at most on a weekend or whenever you have the extra time; it will be worth your while.
Let me explain a little bit about why I think you should be adding a dose of elderberry syrup daily:
- Not only does it boost the immune system, but it can help shorten the duration of a cold. Studies have shown that a cold can be reduced by up to two days with the use of elderberry, as well as the symptoms seem to be less severe.
- It has also been shown to reduce inflammation, due to its high vitamin A and C content, along with anthocyanin (antioxidant). You may also see some relief in allergies while using elderberry as well.
- Can help with constipation
- Promotes healthy skin because of the high Vitamin A and antioxidant content
- May improve cardiovascular health, along with high blood pressure
Hopefully by now I've convinced you to at least try it out. We're early enough into the season, try an experiment and see if adding a little elderberry helps keep the bugs at bay this winter. If you're really up for the challenge, I encourage you to try making your own at home. You will need a sweetener when making this, and I prefer to use a good source of local honey. Yes honey is sugar, but when it's locally sourced it has so many wonderful benefits as well for our bodies.
I can't wait for you to try this, be sure to let me know how it goes!
DIY Elderberry Syrup
3/4 cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
1/2 cup good quality honey
Place dried elderberries and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil on the stove. Once the mixture comes to boil, reduce heat to a steady simmer and let cook for 1 hour. Mixture will be reduced by about half.
Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.
Strain syrup into a bowl, pressing the juice out of the berries using the back of a wooden spoon. This will help to get all of the nutrients out of the berries. Discard the berries.
Mix in honey until well dissolved and transfer to jars. The mixture will not be a thick syrup, but that's okay. You can mix in 1/4 cup more honey or so to thicken if you'd like.
Store elderberry syrup in the fridge for up to 3 months. Makes about 10 ounces.
For use: children take 1 teaspoon daily, adults 1 tablespoon. If you have a cold or the flu; you can double your dose for extra benefits.