John came down with the flu last week, and I immediately went to Green Star to buy some elderberry syrup and some dried elderberries to make more syrup with. Also, I might as well mention that I’m 19 weeks pregnant, and I haven’t had a flu shot, so I truly, truly was hoping not to get sick. At the store, I ran into my yoga teacher, and she agreed that elderberries were the way to go (she’s also a doula, so I trusted her opinion that elderberry syrup would be safe during pregnancy).*
*Obviously, if you are pregnant or breast feeding, please don’t take the advice of me or my yoga teacher/doula friend– check with your health care provider before taking this or any other kind of medicine.
But anyway, John and I both drank copious amounts of elderberry syrup last week, and while I’m not sure if it helped him much, I can say that I didn’t catch it. Whether it was the elderberry syrup or some miraculous intervention, I don’t know. But I’m going to keep drinking a teaspoon or so per day until flu season is over.
So the following is basically a re-post from last year– my apologies! But I think elderberry syrup is sort of a natural medicine miracle, and I wanted to share it again.
In case you have no idea what I’m talking about here: elderberries have been a natural remedy for hundreds of years and are good for colds and flu– research is showing that elderberries have strong anti-viral properties. You can pretty easily make your own syrup at home (see recipe below), or you can buy it already made at health food stores (or online here— use coupon code WER470 to get $5 off).
To make Elderberry Syrup
To make, place 1/2 c. dried elderberries, 5 cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon, and 1-2 T of fresh chopped ginger (the skin can stay on) in a pot and cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about half. Remove from heat, mash berries, and then strain. To the strained liquid (once it’s cool enough to put your finger in for 10 seconds) add 1/4 c. raw honey.* The syrup will last a few weeks in the fridge. I added more water to the remaining berry pulp and repeated the process a few times, drinking the liquid as a tea. (You can buy elder berries from Mountain Rose Herbs for a really good price, about $10/pound, which would make several large batches of syrup)
You can take a tablespoon a day as a preventative measure during cold and flu season, and take a few tablespoons a day when you are sick.
You can also buy pre-made elderberry syrup at any health food store, but it will be much, much more expensive than if you make it yourself. (My favorite store bought kind is the one pictured below— Sambucus Black Elderberry Extract. It’s super concentrated and tastes great.) Or buy it online here for $8 and use coupon code WER470 to get $5 off (and free shipping on oders over $20).