Monday, October 24, 2011

Cold & Flu Season Is Here.......

It's that time of year again and you know what I'm talking about. Once kids go back to school, they seem to bring home every germ floating around out there. This past week, our son RJ, was home for four days with a mild sore throat, sniffles, a low-grade fever the first day and then a cough. He went back to school today with not much of a cough and feeling much better.......of course when he gets all the work he missed last week he probably won't be feeling too good!
One thing I find that helps when the kids start getting the sniffles, is to make a batch of Elderberry syrup. You can find these recipes all over the internet and everyone has their own way of making it, but this is the one I make and I got it from HerbMentor, a wonderful website I joined a while back and highly recommend if you're interested in studying about herbal medicine and plants. If they're not accepting new members right now keep checking back, or send them an email asking when they'll have openings again. They have a video on YouTube on how to make this, as well as others you might really enjoy so check them out.

Elderberry Syrup

1/2 cup dried elderberries (I purchase mine at Mountain Rose Herbs), or if using fresh berries, 1 cup
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
2 cups water
1 cup honey (local, raw honey is best)

In a saucepan; pour in the water, elderberries, cinnamon stick, cloves, and grated ginger root. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to a low simmer, partially covered, about 20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.
Pour everything into a strainer over a bowl to drain, pressing the berries with the back of a spoon to get as much remaining juice from the berries as possible.

Next, add the honey once the liquid has cooled down to just warm (around 90 or so degrees). The reason for this is because raw honey contains beneficial enzymes that can be destroyed by higher temperatures and you want these goodies in your syrup! Stir the honey until completely dissolved.

I put my syrup in a pint canning jar and then store it in the fridge, where it should keep for 2 or 3 months. When you feel a cold coming on, take a teaspoon or two of this every 2-3 hours while you're sick, or 1 tablespoon every day to help ward off illness. Elderberries are a wonderful medicine that can help cut the duration of a nasty cold or flu bug considerably. These small berries are a powerhouse of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin C.  They have been a long-standing remedy in Europe for generations, and here in the U.S.A. are finally getting the attention they deserve.
One note of caution.......DO NOT GIVE HONEY TO CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF ONE YEAR. The reason is that honey can sometimes contain the spores of, Clostridium botulinum, which may cause infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning. If you want to make this same syrup for your little ones, I read that you can use agave syrup in place of the honey.
If you already know the benefits of elderberries or maybe you've never tried using them, this is a great recipe to keep on hand and I hope you'll try it.

The contents and information on this blog are for your informational use only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read here.


  1. I'm going to print this recipe off and see if I can find all the ingredients locally.

  2. One thing I forgot to put down, was that if you're using fresh elderberries, use 1 cup instead of the half for dried berries. I'll correct that in the recipe.
    I really like the flavor of this, (especially the cloves) so if you try it, let me know what you think. :)