Elderberry Syrup: An all natural home remedy for cold and flu season!
Here we are, in the thick of it. Cold and flu season is here and it is worse than ever! I am literally scared to go to public places with my kids for fear of the germs they might pick up while there. This winter, we have had a couple of stomach bugs move through our house but moreover, we have had several colds. Then it hit me-- DUH! --- Make some elderberry syrup!
Elderberry syrup is something that I have been making for the last couple of years. It's easy to make, kid-approved flavor, and is high in antioxidants!
If you are anything like me, in order for a home remedy to enter my home, I need the proof. I like to research. So, I'll save you some time and hook you up with some interesting information I found:
"Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover"
Boom. That's enough proof for me to give it a try. And I think we can all agree that when you are down and out with a cold, you will try just about anything to get better. ;)
How to Make Homemade Elderberry Syrup:
First of all, if you aren't the type of person that likes to make things from scratch (or perhaps you are in a pinch and need that elderberry syrup NOW), you can certainly purchase pre-made elderberry syrup at your local natural foods store or online. These tend to be quite a bit more price-wise, which is one of the reasons why we prefer to make our own.
We purchase our elderberries on Amazon (I typically search for organic dried elderberries and then find the cheapest option with the best reviews...and prime shipping of course). I usually purchase 16 ounces at at a time and pay around $25 for that amount and it makes around 3 batches. If we are taking the syrup daily, 1 batch will last a month easily- maybe less if someone gets sick and we have to use it more (see recipe for recommended doses).
So, gather up your ingredients and get started. Here's what you need:
- 1 cup of dried elderberries
- 5 cups water
- ground cinnamon
- ground cloves
- ground ginger
**Note if you have Young Living Essential Oils, you can use Thieves essential oil in place of the spices (about 15 drops) BUT do NOT add the thieves oil until the step where you add the honey! If you need oils, see the "oils" tab at the top of the page and click "How to Become a Member"!
- Medium Saucepan
- Measuring cup + measuring spoons
- Fine mesh strainer
- Quart size canning jar
Something new I tried this month is to turn the elderberry syrup into gummies! This makes getting your kids' daily dose even easier, plus it has all the added benefits of the collagen from the gelatin. Win-Win!
How to Turn Your Elderberry Syrup Into Gummies:
First of all, you certainly do NOT need a fancy silicone mold to do this in. If I have patience, I grab those cute silicone gummy bear molds and tediously squirt the juice into there and then tediously pop each one out once they are set. It's ridiculous really. Unless you have a lot of patience and time. I do not have those. You can simply pour the prepared gelatin into a 9 x 13 pan and cut them into squares once it is set up.
Here's the super quick method I use:
1. Grab some grass-fed unflavored beef gelatin powder. I buy whatever is on sale on Amazon that fits this description and gets high ratings.
2. Pour 2 cups of your prepared elderberry juice into a medium saucepan then sprinkle 4 tablespoons of gelatin over the juice. Do NOT mix. NOTE: I find that it works best if the liquid is cooled before adding the gelatin. If the liquid is warm, the gelatin tends to clump.
3. Allow the juice to sit until the gelatin "blooms" (basically it will look like a brain, ha!)
4. Once the gelatin has bloomed, grab a whisk and stir gently until smooth.
5. Heat on the stove over medium-high heat until the liquid starts to steam (do NOT boil).
6. Remove from heat. At this point you can dump it into a 9 x 13 pan and then put it in the fridge to set OR if you have patience + time + silicone molds you can make them cuter ;)
That's it! You can get more detailed instructions on how to do the gummies HERE OR you can just follow the dosage recommendations in the recipe and take it in liquid form.