Elderberries (Sambucus) have been used as an immune-boosting folk remedy for centuries. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to boost the immune system and help coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids in the elderberry juice can destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.
Researchers believe that elderberry stimulates the body’s immune system. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual’s immune system.
Elderberry syrup can be purchased at health food stores or online.
You can also make your own elderberry syrup! It is easy, fun, and less expensive to make your own syrup at home and will likely last all winter. Enjoy and stay healthy!
Flu-Fighting Elderberry Syrup
Adapted from a recipe found in Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
In a large pot, combine:
- 1 cup dried black elderberries (if you can’t find them locally, you can order them online)
- 4.5 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
- 1 tsp of whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
Bring to a boil and then simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Strain liquid. Add honey to taste (between ½ cup to 1 cup) to remaining liquid. Store in a glass jar and refrigerate.
To fight off the flu
- Adults: take 1-2 tablespoons every 3-4 hours
- Children (older than 2): take 1 teaspoon every 3-4 hours
And please, get checked out by your doctor if you if you are experiencing:
Shortness of breath; a cough with yellow, green or brown sputum; chest pain; high fever (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit); dizziness; a severe earache; have chronic medical problems like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or pulmonary disease.