Time to take your elderberries!

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Elderberries have been used for centuries to heal ailments, and boost overall health. In fact, it is one of the top antiviral herbs in the World. Elderberries are antioxidant, diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative, immune-boosting, and anti-inflammatory. These properties make elderberries useful for a wide range of consumptions, everything from treating infections to improving vision. 

Elderberries are especially touted for their ability to boost the immune system in a proactive way. They are also effective at treating the flu and common colds. A 2011 study published in Bio Med Central found that Black Elderberry inhibits the replication of influenza A and influenza B viruses as well as some bacteria. In addition, the Department of Virology at Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School concluded that elderberries are an effective flu treatment. The European Cytokine Network also discovered elderberry treats 10 strains of flu, and that 90% of study participants who took elderberry syrup recovered from the flu completely in two days, while those who were not taking elderberry took 6 days to recover. As you can see, elderberries are a household necessity during fall and winter months!

One of the most popular ways to consume elderberries is in a syrup (elderberries must be cooked). Elderberry syrup can be made using the following recipe, or by purchase an organic elderberry kit like the one found HERE.

4 cups filtered water
1 cup organic elderberries
1/2 cup dried rose hips
2 Tablespoons ginger root
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cup honey

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for 50 minutes. After cooling, pour into a large jar through a sieve, mashing the berries to get the most out of them. Once the mixture is completely cool, add the honey and mix well. Keep in the fridge, and take once daily for immune boosting (1 tsp kids; 1 Tbsp adults). If you become sick, increase to taking 4-5 times a day at even intervals. 

If you are looking for exciting ways to add elderberries into your diet, you can also use one of the serving ideas below:

  • Freeze your syrup in small ice cube trays to create convenient servings, and lengthen the use-by date. Thaw for consumption.
  • Pour the syrup over pancakes 
  • Dilute your syrup with water and freeze into popsicle molds
  • Instead of discarding the mix after making elderberry syrup, blend and add to baked goods or smoothies (only after cooking)
  • Mix the syrup with gelatin and put in candy molds to make elderberry gummies
Elizabeth Hood