I hadn’t even heard of elderberry syrup until last winter and even when I heard about it, I had no idea what it was or what it was for. I just knew people were talking about it. When I began my homesteading journey just a few months ago, elderberry syrup was one of the first things I made. It seemed like something we would need for the winter cold season and I wanted to arm my family with the most options – amazing vitamins from my company , some natural cleaning products and elderberry syrup. Trifecta of health!
Obviously, I turned to Google and Pinterest for recipes and reasons. Why did I need this? How do I make it? It turned out to be an easy recipe with a TON of health benefits including fighting the flu, reducing cold duration, managing diabetes, promoting mental health, reducing inflammation and more. Those tiny dark purple elderberries pack quite a punch.
Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world. It has been found in Stone Age and Bronze Age excavations; the Egyptians used it for skin health, Native Americans used it to treat infections, and modern herbalists still gather and use it today. There are many varieties of the Sambucus tree used for its colorful foliage, for pies, cobblers, teas and wines, for landscaping and for health. It is quite a versatile shrub.
Nutritionally, the elderberry fruits are high in Vitamin A & C, fiber, and antioxidants in the form of flavonols (anti-inflammatory and immune system) and phenolic acids (reduce cell damage from oxidative stress) and anthocyanins (anti-inflammatory & it’s dark vibrant color). The Flowers, Leaves and Stems of the shrub are used for other medicinal purposes as well, including as a diuretic, a vomit inducer, pain relief, and to induce urination.
Although we don’t definitively know if elderberry syrup will help prevent a cold or the flu, it definitely helps reduce the severity and duration. In a random, double blind, placebo controlled study, 60 patients exhibiting flu symptoms were given elderberry syrup 4 times a day. They found that they were relieved of their symptoms 4 days faster than those without elderberry syrup. Pretty miraculous. I’ll take it.
Until this week, my family of five has made it through this terrible winter sickness season unscathed. My husband was the first one down. Severe cold symptoms and shivers started on Monday but subsided by Thursday with 2 days being particularly poor. The entire time, he was drinking his elderberry syrup and we both agreed that it helped to lessen the duration.
It’s easy to make and there are a bunch of different recipes, but basically, it’s boiled down dried elderberries and honey. My recipe also includes spices and ACV (because you know how I feel about ACV!) and is a perfect addition to plain seltzer water or to hot tea.
Here is my recipe:
Simmer the berries, spices and water in a sauce pot – stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced by half (around 45 min)
Strain liquid into bowl using a fine mesh strainer and discard elderberries.
Mix in honey and apple cider vinegar (optional – not everyone likes this flavor)
Pour into glass jar as refrigerate for up to 3 months.
1 Tbsp daily for adults and when you come down with any symptoms, take up to 4 times a day. Enjoy! I love mine just in plain seltzer – but it is also delicious in hot teas. If you would like to purchase some and are local to northern CT, I am happy to supply you with what you need! Just contact me. XOXO