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Working at a hospital, I see first hand the effects of the flu, and this season is one of the worst we have seen for quite a few years. The influenza virus is a nasty bug and can leave you sick for weeks. For those more delicate of us can fare far worse. Many people turn to influenza vaccines and it is a good option for some. I like to help myself stay healthy and to boost my natural immune system and for that I turn to nature. Elderberry syrup is an easy and delicious way of boosting your immune system and as part of an overall wellness plan.
The bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice have antioxidant properties; they lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system and improve heart health. In addition, it treats coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections by destroying the ability for the viruses to infect a cell. It is such a powerful little berry, the juice of the berry was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
Here is my recipe for elderberry syrup. I hope it helps you stay healthy! Happy Gardening!
2/3 cup black elderberries
3.5 cups of water
2 Tablespoons dried ginger root
1 tsp cinnamon powder or equal amounts of crushed cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup raw honey
Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves…don’t add the honey at this point…save it for later…cooking the honey will destroy some of its properties
Create a decoction by bringing all the ingredients to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
Put the berries in the compost heap and let your mixture cool to warm. At this point add the honey and stir well. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, decant the syrup into a glass vessel for storage. I like to use pretty bottles as you can see in the picture, but a canning jar will serve the purpose too! This won’t be a really thick mixture, but a thinner syrup.
Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties; some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
Standard dose is 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp for children under 12. For adults, take between 1/2 Tbsp to 1 Tbsp. If you do get the flu, up your doseage from every day to every few hours until your symptoms go away.