From the Kitchen of Micah Hubbard, FNP-C
Cold weather has made its appearance early here in the Ozarks, which means cold and flu season is here. Elderberries are a great go-to remedy for preventing and providing treatment of these viruses during the winter months. The dried berries of the Sambucus Nigra plant are naturally high in immune-boosting compounds that are specifically shown to help beat the cold and flu more quickly. They can be used to make a variety of remedies, the most common is the flu/cold alternative medicine, elderberry syrup.
Elderberries contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins, which are known to have immunostimulant effects. A study published in the Journal of International Medical Research showed that when elderberry is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, it shortens the duration of flu symptoms by an average of four days. Specifically, the flavonoids in the elderberry extract bind to the H1N1 human influenza virus as well as the H5N1 avian influenza virus.
Making your own elderberry syrup is both fun and cost-effective. Elderberry syrup alternative medicine can be made with dried elderberries, honey and herbs such as cinnamon and ginger which are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. Ripe, cooked berries of most of the Sambucus species are edible. However, you should never consume raw berries or other parts of the plant since they contain a cyanide-inducing chemical. Eating uncooked berries can result in diarrhea and vomiting.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe:
2/3 c. dried elderberries (or 1 1/3 cup fresh or frozen)
3 ½ cups water
2 TBSP fresh ginger root
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
1 cup raw honey
- Pour water into a saucepan, add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce to a simmer for 45 min-1 hour, or until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Mash the berries using a spoon or other utensil.
- Pour through a strainer
- Discard the elderberries.
- Let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
- Add the honey, stir well. Adding the syrup when the liquid has cooled is important to not kill any of the beneficial properties of the honey.
- Once honey is well mixed, pour syrup into 16 oz glass mason jar.
- Store in the refrigerator.
Elderberries are a great type of alternative medicine in Springfield Missouri. As stated above, they speed recovery from flu and viruses significantly and are much safer than antibiotics or antiviral medications such as Tamiflu. Elderberry is safe for use in children. The recommended dosage for prevention is ½-1 teaspoon daily for children and ½-1 tablespoon daily for adults. If you experience cold or flu-like symptoms, the recommended dosage may be used every 2-3 hours until symptoms resolve. For added benefit on your immune system, don’t forget your Vitamin D3 and high dose Vitamin C in Springfield Missouri. Vitamin D3 may be taken daily or in high doses weekly. We have capsules for daily or weekly use and liquid drops for children in our retail area. Vitamin C can be taken daily in capsule form, liposomal form, or in a yummy peach lemonade flavored drink that children love. All 3 forms of Vitamin C are also available in our retail area. We hope you enjoy making elderberry syrup as much as we do. Here’s to a healthy cold and flu season ahead!