Cold weather increases the risk of colds and flu. They are minor illnesses for which there is no effective pharmacological treatment. However, natural medicine offers remedies that boost immunity, speed recovery, and decrease the intensity of the symptoms, without adverse side effects. One of these remedies, perhaps the most effective, is organic elderberry syrup.
Elderberry syrup is a great natural remedy for the flu! I have been using my own organic elderberry syrup for a long time. It is simple to prepare and also inexpensive. This is a very traditional remedy that our grannies probably knew how to make.
Elderberry contains high levels of vitamins A, B, and C, which stimulate the immune system.
As mentioned in eMedicine Health, elderberry is used for influenza, H1N1, flu, and stregthens the immune system. It is also used for pain or discomfort of sinusitis, back, leg (sciatica), and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Science has confirmed the properties of elderberry many times. A study by Doctors Porter and Bode, published in Phytotherapy Research, conducted with 60 people with the flu, showed that taking 15 ml of elderberry syrup four times a day produces an improvement in symptoms and shortens the duration of the disease by 3-4 days.
Other studies have proven that elderberry is also beneficial in several disorders:
- It helps to boost cardiovascular health.
- It has antibiotic properties.
- It can stimulate general immunity.
- It protects the skin against solar radiation
- It improves urine output and urinary salt excretion.
- It has an antidepressant effect.
The properties of the elderberry plant are many, and the whole plant can be used. Berries, flowers, and leaves are used, in one way or another, for colds, allergies, flu, and sinusitis.
1. Organic Elderberry Syrup
With elderberries, you can make several different preparations like extract tablets, tinctures, and infusions, but the syrup has many advantages. One of the main ones is that the syrup is combined with honey or maple syrup, and that way we can obtain a long-lasting product with a very sweet flavor. This is so sweet that it can be used as an ingredient in the preparation of desserts.
I really like using elderberry syrup as an immune system stimulant and as a cough syrup.
Tips for Preparing Organic Elderberry Syrup
We can use organic fresh or dried berries to make elderberry syrup. Dried ones are easier to find in Health shops, and fresh ones can be collected directly in the field if you know how to recognize the plant. Keep in mind that similar toxic plants exist.
If we use fresh berries, the amount indicated in the recipy below with dried berries should be doubled.
On the other hand, there are recipes with a high dose of sugar and a little alcohol that take advantage of its preservative qualities. These syrups can be kept for a long time at room temperature. But recipes with half honey (or maple syrup) and no alcohol are healthier, although they should be kept in the refrigerator.
Below we explain one of the classic recipes, which is mentioned by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, one of the world’s most recognized experts in herbal medicine.
Ingredients to make the traditional organic elderberry syrup recipe:
- 2 cups of dried organic elderberries.
- 4 cups of natural mineral water or filtered water.
- 1 cup of organic honey or maple syrup.
- 2 teaspoons dry ginger root powder.
- 1 cinnamon stick, or a vanilla bean, or a few cardamom seeds.
You can use these aromatic and therapeutic ingredients or others as you like.
- Heat the berries, ginger, and cinnamon (or vanilla or cardamom) with the water in a ceramic or glass saucepan.
- When it starts to boil, reduce the heat, and continue cooking for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let it sit for an hour.
- Strain the mixture using a funnel lined with folded cotton gauze or unbleached organic cotton muslin.
- Mix the liquid obtained with the honey and stir it.
You can double the amount of honey and add a cup of vodka to extend the life of the product, but it will not be suitable for children.
Store the syrup in a previously sterilized glass bottle.
You can take a teaspoon or two of this syrup every day throughout the fall and winter. Remember that children under one year should not take products made with honey.
Where to buy elderberry syrup?
If you don’t have the time to make your own, there are still good products in the market that are certified organic. These are our 5 favorite ones:
- Dakota Organic Elderberry Capsules for Immune Support Booster. With Zinc & Vitamin C, echinacea extract infused syrup.
- Elderberry Syrup 16oz. Made fresh with organic ingredients and raw Florida honey.
- Montain Ridge Elderberry. Organic syrup kit.
- Organic Elderberry Syrup [Double Strength] by MaryRuth Organics. Liquid Sambucol extract for kids and adults. Immune boost with high flavonoid. It is vegan and easy to absorb. It contains NO Alcohol.
- ImmunoTea – Elderberry Syrup Mix – This is a DIY option that makes 20oz of Syrup. The mix includes elderberries, goji berry, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, orange peel, and rosehip. Free steeping bag with your purchase.
2. Elderflower Infusion
The properties of elderflowers are beneficial to treat and alleviate the symptoms of a cold or flu. They are also appropriate to improve allergy symptoms, such as sneezing and itchy nose.
Drinking elderberry tea is the easiest way to speed up relief from a cold or the flu.
What are the benefits of taking elderflower as an infusion?
- Reduces cough: because elderberry has antitussive properties, taking the infusion will reduce throat discomfort and reduce coughing attacks.
- Helps to lower fever: another of the properties of elderberry is making the body sweat, which allows the body temperature to regulate.
- It helps to eliminate toxins from the flu.
To prepare this infusion, we will need:
- A cup of mineral water.
- 2 teaspoons of organic fresh or dried elderflowers.
We put the water in a saucepan to heat, and once it begins to boil, we will add the elderflowers.
We turn off the heat, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Strain the infusion and take it slightly warm.
To add even more beneficial properties to this infusion and help improve cold symptoms, we can add a teaspoon of honey.
We can take up to 3 cups a day.
Please note that this is not recommended in the following cases:
- In pregnancy.
- During the lactation period.
- In children under 12 years.
- People who have allergies to plants that belong to the family “Caprifoliaceae”.
3. Apply elderberry poultices to speed up flu relief
Another way to speed up flu relief from elderberry is to use poultices.
For this, we only need to make the infusion mentioned above from elderflowers and some leaves. We can add ginger or mint.
Once we have made the infusion, we will strain the mixture and put the elderflower leaves and mint in a bandage. We can put the poultice on the chest or on the nose to relieve symptoms.
It will clear the nostrils while calming the discomfort. We can do this three to four times a day, as there are no contraindications.
Before taking or using this plant, it is advisable to consult with your doctor, pharmacists or therapists, as well as follow their advice on how to use and consume it.