After a lifetime of loving herbs, I finally did something about it. I’ve enrolled in the Intermediate Course at the Herbal Academy of New England and am happily learning all about the difference between adaptogenic, anticatarrhal and carminative herbal actions (among dozens and dozens of others) and whether or not the person in front of me is a vata, pitta or kappa body type. I know! It’s bit more complex than just distinguishing between thyme and sage. 🙂
But before that happens, here’s one of the seven recipes I made today: Elderberry Syrup. This is the stuff that’s supposed to keep colds and flu at bay, and they had me at “stuff that’s supposed to keep colds and flu at bay.” For the past three years, I succumbed to peer and doctor pressure and got a flu shot, and the past three years, I had the most severe flu of my life. You might be thinking, “Had she not had the flu shot, she might be dead.” But I’m thinking, “Let’s try something else.” Like feeding my body the nutrients it needs to fight its own battles
I sure hope this doesn’t start a big argument about inoculations. There’s so much fighting in the world already … let’s leave this one to personal preference.
ANYway, here’s the scoop on elderberries:
- Elderberries are said to be an organic cure for colds, the flu, sinus issues, allergies, nerve pain, chronic fatigue and immune deficiencies.
- Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” called elderberries his “medicine chest” because of the long list of ailments it addressed
- People who swear by elderberries say it works within hours and minimizes the duration of cold and flu by four days if taken within 48 hours of symptoms’ appearance
- Studies have shown that the flavanoids in elderberries bind themselves to the H1N1 human influenza virus and the H5N1 avian influenza virus, which helps minimize and alleviate the symptoms of those flus
- Some have claimed that because they are rich in anthocyanins, elderberries are a natural cure for cancer. Studies have shown that elderberries have chemoprventive properties, which give them potential as a natural cancer treatment
How’s that? Also, if you add enough honey, it’s delicious. 🙂
You can make this on the stove, but this first time, I made it in the Instant Pot.
- 1 2/3 cups dried elderberries (I’m sure fresh would be fine too, but who has an elderberry tree? If you do, talk to me!)
- 7 cups water
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- Honey, to taste
- 2 TBSP brandy or vodka, optional, but it will keep it viable longer
If using the stove top, combine ingredients 1-4 in a pan and cook until mixture has reduced by half. Cool slightly, strain liquid into a fresh pot, add honey and brandy (if using) and bottle.
In the Instant Pot, combine ingredients 1-4 and set to High Manual Pressure for 9 minutes. Allow to naturally depressurize, then strain into a pot and simmer until reduced by half. This can take awhile. Add honey to taste, cool, add brandy (if using) and bottle.
We plan on having a spoonful a day to get us through the flu season. I’l keep you posted!