Thursday, November 17, 2011

Elderberry Syrup

It's that time of year again, cold and flu season. Working in a school for the past few years I have relied on elderberry syrup to keep my immune system strong. Now that I spend many days with new mothers and newborns, getting sick is a no no. Supposedly elderberry syrup has anti-viral properties. I do say that when I take it my colds do not last as long and I have less of them. 

I used to buy it like this in a bottle already made for $10 or more.

Then I got wise. I thought, "Why couldn't I make this myself?" Do you see a pattern with me there? I ordered some dried elderberries online for a very reasonable price. I keep them in sealed glass jars in the pantry.

When I get ready to make syrup, here is what I use:
One Cup of dried elderberries
2 cinnamon sticks
some fresh ginger cut into chunks
honey to taste

ingredients for elderberry syrup

Place the elderberries, cinnamon sticks and ginger into a small pot with 2-3 cups of water. You want to simmer it slowly until it reduces by about half. Stir occasionally and smash up some of the berries while stirring.

elderberries simmering on the stove

Once this has cooked down by half you want to strain the mixture. I use a fine sieve. It takes a bit of muscle and patience. Add honey to taste. 

You end up with this beautiful liquid.

elderberry syrup ready for use
Syrup should be stored in the refrigerator and can be kept for some time. During cold and flu season most labels say to take 1-2 teaspoons per day for an adult. If symptoms of a cold or flu arise, you simply up your dosage up to 1 tablespoon per hour. I just take it when I think of it when I am not feeling well.

Make sure to check with your doctor before taking herbal remedies. Elderberry is usually considered safe. My midwife approves of its use, even if pregnant or if you may become pregnant. I am in the category of "may become pregnant".

I just used up a bunch of this. I came down with symptoms of a bad cold last night. I started upping my elderberry syrup intake and using some herbal teas. Today I am much better! I didn't expect this as those type of symptoms usually knock me down for 3-5 days. I  always try to keep elderberries on hand!!! Hooray for herbal remedies!

What kinds of natural remedies do you use during cold and flu season?


Jo said...

This is fabulous! Care to guest post over on Above Hoarded Gold again? :)

I make this for coughs and colds and it works well - Nice and warming.

Jacoline said...

hi Kara!

We make Thyme-honey-tea when having a sore throat; I pick fresh thymeleaves from my garden (this herb does well in wintertimes!), put it in a tea-egg and let it soak in hot water for some time. Then add honey to taste. Even my husband likes it as a remedy and he is picky when it comes to fresh herbs!
Or liquoriceroot-tea; make it very very strong and it works like a charm!You can get licoriceroots online through .

But I wish you loads of healthy time so you don't need these tips!



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