I am not a huge supplement person. Emphasis on the huge part, because there are some that I swear by. Cod liver oil, quality probiotic, and elderberry syrup. Everything may come and go, these things are a lifeboat in our house, but especially in cold and flu season. One could argue that they are more food and less supplement, and that’s as it should be.
Elderberries are renowned for their ability to prevent upper respiratory infections, as well as to shorten the duration of a cold or flu. Using elderberries this way has stood the test of time.(1) It is important to note, since there are different varieties of elderberries, some of which can be toxic, that the elderberry variety you want is the European variety called Sambucus nigra.
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.(2)
As elderberries are naturally high in vitamins A,B and C. I often use this when I want extra vitamin C. Although if I need a good food grade vitamin C with out honey, (necessary for 1-2YOs and younger) This brand is unmatched as it is derived 100% from berries/ herbs, corn free, and easily assimalated unlike most brands of vitamin C which contain synthetic ascorbic acid, and as an added bonus doesn’t have any added sugar.
Ever since elderberry syrup has been introduced to me I try not to be with out it in our house. Once Summer ends, however, I make sure we’re stocked up. At the first sign up colds, runny noses, coughs, congestion or flu that always seem to follow the cooler weather, our family will get a dose of elderberry syrup which has always stopped colds in their tracks! Last year we had the misfortune to get a very bad case of hands-foot and mouth with my two tots. Elderberry syrup played a big role in alleviating the symptoms!
When I first started using elderberry syrup, I always bought it, but then I chanced across several articles saying I could make my own. And of course I can, I says! I used several different recipes over the years, but lately I realized I’ve been making my own which was inspired by several others. (Check out the end of the article for a list of similar recipes that inspired me to get started.)
Elderberry syrup has all the benefits of elderberries in a honey based, concentrated syrup. The honey adds an extra immune boost, while also prolonging shelf life.
Why go through the trouble of making your own when you can buy it, you ask?
- It saves you beauco bucks.
- By making your own you eliminate waste in packaging.
- It’s incredibly easy.
- You know exactly what is in it.
- If you have kids, this is a valuable handicraft for them to partake in!
Elderberry syrup is widely available at many health food and supplement stores. You will pay around $15 for a 4-6 oz bottles, depending on the brand you get.
Depending on what you pay for your honey, homemade elderberry syrup usually costs me around $8-$9 /16oz batch.
If you want all the benefits of elderberry syrup and don’t want to make your own, this is a good brand.
Here are the organic elderberries I purchase.
Here are some other great recipes for elderberry syrup with different variations in them and full of great information as well!
And here is my recipe! If you try it let me know! Have any tips to improve on mine? I’m always learning and would love to hear from you!
Elderberry Syrup -Cold and Flu Remedy
Elderberry Syrup (Sambucus nigra) For cold and flu. Can also be enjoyed over pancakes/waffles.
- 3/4 cup Elderberries Sambucus nigra
- 3 cups Water filtered
- 1 TBS Cinnamon
- 3 TBS/tea bags Echinacea tea organic
- 1.5 cups honey
Bring elderberries and water to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Simmer 45minutes -1 hour.
Add in tea last 15 minutes of simmer time. When liquid is reduced to about half, remove from heat and remove tea bags.
Strain and mash berries through a fine mesh sieve. Add cinnamon and whisk to mix well. Let liquid cool. Whisk in honey. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.