I believe in seeing conventional doctors when the need arises, but for basic health maintenance I like to use naturopathic remedies. I first came upon elderberry syrup when I called our local health food store for a sore throat and sniffles fix and was told to take a spoonful of this so-called elderberry syrup every hour until the symptoms subsided.
I picked up a bottle and dutifully followed instructions – and to my delight the cold retreated and I woke up the next day feeling right as rain. For awhile, I would go buy a bottle every time I started to feel under the weather – but the pricetag always made me cringe; a 6 oz bottle can run from $15- $20.
The realization that I could easily make it myself with dried organic elderberries (for half the cost!) was fairly exciting.
A one pound bag of dried berries makes more than six pint-sized jars full; the most expensive part of it all is the raw (preferably local) honey.
I keep a mason jar in the fridge all the time now and use it as necessary. Having a “sippy cup” lid makes it really easy to pour.
I’ve heard varied reports on how you’re supposed to use it – some say take a spoonful everyday to keep your immune system in top shape, and others say just to use it when you feel a cold coming on so you don’t become immune to it.
I do a combination of these two methods, mainly because elderberry syrup is a really tasty herbal remedy and I like to pour it into my morning tea or take a spoonful as a treat.
Ready to make some? Here’s the recipe:
- ⅔ cup dried organic elderberries
- 3½ cups filtered water
- 3-4½ inch slices of fresh ginger root
- 1 large cinnamon stick (or 2 smaller ones)
- ½ tsp cloves or clove powder
- about 1 cup raw, local honey
- Put all ingredients EXCEPT FOR HONEY in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer (lid off) for 30-45 minutes or until liquid has reduced by about half
- Turn off heat and press the berries with a large spoon to get all the goodness out, then let cool for 10 minutes
- Strain the liquid into a pint-sized glass jar and fill it the rest of the way with honey; stir until herbal liquid and honey is well-combined
- Syrup will keep unrefrigerated for a few days, then keeps better in the refrigerator
Cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh ginger are available for really reasonable prices at your local hispanic grocery store
Raw honey is available at most grocery stores now, and farmer's markets usually have the local stuff