Hippocrates, “the Father of Medicine” described the elderberry plant as a medicine chest because of its ability to alleviate a variety of ailments. With evidence of its cultivation dating back to prehistoric man, the elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world. Throughout history, people have used elderberries to treat everything from cuts and burns to digestive complaints, and it is even used to ward off the flu. But what are the benefits of elderberries? Is it worth incorporating into your daily routine, or it is just another natural remedy not worth its weight?
Elderberries are high in antioxidants, which are very protective of the colon. Extracts of elderberry may reduce the amount of oxidative stress on the digestive tract and support the gut.
The high fiber in elderberries can alleviate constipation, reduce gas, and aid in waste elimination. Fiber also slows down digestion. This helps your body absorb nutrients more effectively, helping you get more nutrition from the food you eat.
Elderberry concoctions are used widely for prevention and treatment of the flu. One study evaluated symptoms of people during an outbreak of the flu in Panama. Of those tested, 93% saw significant improvement within 2 days of starting an elderberry syrup regimen. Given that there are no medicines that can cure influenza A or B, the low cost, and the absence of side effects, the authors conclude that elderberry may be an effective treatment for influenza.
Elderberries are also high in flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that stimulate immune response. This is one reason why elderberries can help ward off viruses or colds.
If you are looking to boost immunity this season, a concoction made with elderberries may be a great option. The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties can give your immune system an extra boost to handle seasonal pathogens.
Are you Ready to Try an Elderberry Syrup?
This simple elderberry syrup recipe made with dried elderberries, other immune boosting spices, and agave nectar creates an immune-boosting and delicious syrup.
I chose to use agave nectar to make the recipe vegan, but honey also has immune boosting properties. Feel free to substitute honey if you want. I also find most recipes out there cloyingly sweet, so you’ll see less sugar in this recipe than most of what you see out there.
2/3 cup dried black elderberries
2 tablespoons dried ginger root powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup organic agave nectar
3 cups filtered water
- Combine water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for an hour, or until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Use a spoon or spatula to mash the berries.
- Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve. Discard elderberry mash.
- When completely cooled, add agave and stir well.
- Finally, pour the syrup into a mason jar. Stored tightly sealed, in the refrigerator, this syrup should keep up to 6 months. Shake well before each use.
How to Use
The standard daily dose to boost immunity is 1-2 teaspoons for children under 12 and 1-2 tablespoons for adults.
If illness strikes, it is best take the syrup at the first sign of infection. Take the daily dosage every 2-3 hours until symptoms resolve.
How do you keep your family healthy during flu season?
There are so many options out there, and certainly a ton of opinions. To take the flu shot or not? To take the baby out in the cold or not? Feed a cold and starve a fever?
What is your family’s best solution for winter wellness? Comment below and let me know.
Want more natural ideas to boost your immunity? Try this DIY Immune Booster roller ball or this Change of Season Throat Spray.