If you’re looking for a natural (and tasty) way to strengthen your family’s immune system this winter look no further than the wonderful elderberry!
The elderberry bush, a member of the honeysuckle family, is really a small tree with delicate white flowers which eventually turn into berry clusters usually between the months of August and October. They thrive in northeastern and northwestern areas of the US and Canada. The elderberry has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years across Europe, Asia, Africa as well as North America.
Due to its antiviral and anti inflammatory properties, the elderberry has been quite useful in treating and preventing the flu, colds, coughs as well as aiding in lowering cholesterol and treating yeast infections. Elderberries contain potassium, beta carotene and fiber. They provide 17% of daily value of vitamin A, a whopping 87% of vitamin C and 13% of iron. As you can see, elderberries are a serious powerhouse when it comes to fighting all kinds of ailments!
So how can you incorporate elderberries into your diet? Make elderberry syrup! I’ve been giving my kids elderberry syrup for about 2 years now and they rarely get sick. And what’s really great is that they love the taste. It kind of tastes like blueberry and cherry mixed together. I give my kids one teaspoon every morning with their breakfast and I take one Tbsp each morning.
HOMEMADE ELDERBERRY SYRUP
2/3 cup black elderberries
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup raw honey ( I buy mine at the local health food store)
In a medium saucepan, add water, elderberries, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about an hour or until mixture is reduced by half. Remove from heat and set aside. Let cool slightly. Pour through a strainer into a glass bowl or jar.
Discard elderberries and let the liquid cool until lukewarm. Add the honey and mix well. Pour mixture into pint sized jars or any 16 ounce glass container. Store in the refrigerator. The mixture will be good for about 2 months.
Dosage recommendations: Adults: 1/2 to 1 Tbsp daily; Children: 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp daily. If you or your children are ill, increase the normal dose from once a day to every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.