UPDATED: I think this is appropriate to post again. this year’s flu season is happening NOW! So let’s look again at what Elderberry can do to help combat this 2019 season!

10/2017 Today I finished up a batch of Elderberry syrup. I started learning about herbs during a journey with essential oils. My story is not unique. I feel many people find themselves gravitating to natural options as they start to question and research “a better way”.

Now, I do not pretend to know the answer to it all. You should see my book shelves full of resource and reference books.  One even includes a PDR (Physicians desk reference) of Herbal Medicine! Imagine that, a resource our doctors have access too.

Now I will tell you that I have started a real journey to learn herbs with the world renowned author, herbalist and Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine guru, Phyllis D. Light.  I cannot say enough about the amazing knowledge she shares.  Her background in public health makes her uniquely qualified to teach herbs along with uses within “conventional” medicine practices.  I italicize conventional because one of the many things I remember her telling me was that today’s medicine is not conventional, our ancestors “medicine” is conventional.  Today’s medicine is contemporary.  Intriguing to say the least.  Now mind you I have taken a year off from studies with her because, well you know, family, career, husband, Friday dates at SIP….  And frankly I am still soaking in the first year’s information.  I am constantly looking back through my notes and asking other herb school classmates if they remember this or that.  So if you are interested in learning for real, look her up!  She has people come in from all over the country to learn from her.  AND she is reasonably priced! Just saying….

Ok so back to Elderberry syrup… there are many herbs that do many of the same things.  So elderberry is not unique in this particular use.  I just happen to like how this tastes and when the kids start feeling funky they don’t give me the evil stare of grossness when I administer this syrup to help boost their immune system.  The short of it is this berry has many abilities.  Its latin name is Sambuscus Nigra (yes I have to look these up every time, I just can’t remember names I can barely pronounce) and it can be found right here in the TN Valley.  Bet you didn’t know you could take a little walk on almost any mountain and find it.  I would not suggest just going out to harvest your own as many places are spraying their “weeds” with weed killer of which you do not want to ingest (that’s a whole other rabbit hole).   
What is it good for? Many things, but for today I am just going to focus on indications and uses that happen to come directly from that lovely PDR of Herbal Medicine I was telling you about.  It is used for coughs and colds and “feverish” conditions.  This lovely plant can be used as an infusion, tea, tincture or my favorite a syrup!  In Folk medicine it used for respiratory disorders such as coughs, head colds, laryngitis, flu and shortness of breath.  What I love… there are no adverse reactions!  It should be noted my syrup contains local honey, so I would not use it on infants.
There are many different recipes to make the syrup, but my favorite is this:
1/2 cup dried or 1 cup fresh elderberries
2 cups of filtered water
1 cup local honey
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 TBSP freshly grated ginger
I am thinking of adding Star Anise to the next batch for added uumph to combat the upcoming flu season, but I need to do more research on this particular plant first.   (UPDATE: I actually make a tea with several immune boosting herbs that include Star Anise.  This “flower” is the active ingredient in TamiFlu, but without ANY of those crazy side effects)
Add everything except the honey to a crockpot set on the lowest setting.  Let it simmer covered for about 2 hours or so (not longer as the water will saturated the berry completely and it becomes an act of he-man to squeeze it out).
Strain the berries thru cheese-cloth or the like.  Allow the juice to cool to luke warm then add your honey.  Mix it very well!
This will last you about 3 months in the fridge.  I put mine in 8oz mason jars and freeze or today I actually canned them in a water boil.  This way I can give them as gifts or folks can keep them on the shelf until they are ready to use.  Once opened put in the fridge and use within 3 months.
(these statements have not been approved by the FDA and are meant for educational purposes only, we make no claims to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease)
Heather

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