It’s that time of year when the kids go back to school and the cold bugs come creeping home. When my kids started school they seemed to come home with every creepy, crawly, sick-bug out there. My poor daughter had Pneumonia, Chicken Pox, and Whooping Cough (Yes, she’s vaccinated) all in the same year on top of all the other colds and flu that were spreading around at that time. It seemed to not matter how healthy they ate, or what vitamins they took, it wasn’t enough. I am not one to just stick my kids on antibiotics right away, in fact, I couldn’t even tell you when the last time was that they had antibiotics, it has been so long. I am also not one to give them over the counter drugs right away. I wanted to do things more naturally. To use things of the earth that could help build their own immune systems to fight.
The single most important remedy I have in my arsenal is elderberries. Elderberries are these amazing, dark red-purple berries that come from the Sambucus plant. Other names are Elder Flower and Elder. These berries are an Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Microbrial and Anti-Bacterial fruit that is loaded with anthocyanins. Talk about a Powerhouse for the immune system! Studies have been done on anthocyanins and it shows that they do indeed help the body fight many types of elements, including problems with the liver, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, eyesight and many others, including the cold and flu. (1)
Anthocyanins are what give the berries their deep red-purple color.
Since we started using Elderberry syrup during the cold and flu season, my kids rarely get sick. I give them 1 tsp a day for maintenance and up to 3 tsp a day when they feel like something is coming on. As with anything, there are some warnings that come with elderberries. The Genus Sambucus is mostly toxic berries. You want to make sure that the berries you get are Sambucus Nigra and that you always cook them. It is not recommended to eat them raw because they can contain trace amounts of cyanide which can eventually build up in your system. Cyanide can be deadly, so please, use caution and always cook your berries. It is also smart to make sure you are buying your berries from a reputable store and it’s not wise to try and pick your own in the wild. The toxic ones are too close in identity and it would be very easy to pick the wrong ones.
I have always bought my Elderberries from either Natural Grocers or Mountain Rose Herbs. I have been able to trust these two stores. Below is my recipe for making Elderberry Syrup. It lasts for about 3 weeks in the fridge. Do you use any natural remedies to build your immune system up during the cold and flu season? I would love to hear from you and would love to know what you use, we can all learn from each other.
1 c. Dried Elderberries
3 c. Water
1 tsp cinnamon or half a cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
½ C-¾ C Raw Honey
- In a medium-sized pot bring to boil the Elderberries, water, cinnamon and cloves. Reduce to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until it has been reduced to about 2 cups. Set aside and let cool down to a warm temperature.
- Strain out the berries, cloves, and cinnamon stick (if used), into a bow. I use a cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the juice as possible.
- Add in the honey and stir until dissolved. Pour into a sterilized Mason Jar and store in the fridge.
Adults: 1-2 tsp daily for maintenance and up to 1 Tbs a day for acute care.
Children: ½ – 1 tsp daily for maintenance and up to 1 ½ tsp. a day for acute care.
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: This has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The contents of this post are for informational use only. The contents of this post does not replace the advice, opinion, diagnosis or treatment from a professional. The information on this post should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional care.