Perhaps you’ve heard of Black Elderberry Syrup? It’s basically just what it sounds like- a syrup or cordial type liquid made from black elderberries, and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s the most amazing immune booster no one has ever heard of. I’m not sure exactly how it works. All I can tell you is that the past few years, myself, my husband and my kids have caught every sniffle, sneeze, flu, stomach bug and cough that has gone around anywhere. Until this year.
This year we added another child to our family, so you would assume that there would be some sort of multiplying factor to the illnesses. But that has not been the case. We’ve barely caught anything. While all of my friends miss work or complain of constant illnesses, and my Facebook newsfeed is full of every possible ailment at pretty much any given time….our house has remained blissfully and almost entirely pestilence free. We’ve had one case where my 2 year old got diarrhea, the baby had a day of random throwing up, and both girls had a case of the sniffles that lasted a couple of days. I consider this to be a monumental victory considering, as I said, usually we catch EVERYTHING!
I don’t know how the stuff works. I’m sure you can find that on the internet. You can also buy elderberry products commercially, either at drug stores, natural foods markets, or online. But being the frugal, DIY type, I make it myself. And that’s what I’m here to tell you how to do
You will need:
1 cup of dried elderberries (I buy mine online)
6 cups water
2 teaspoons- 1 Tablespoon ginger powder (to taste, but don’t leave it out, it’s important)
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raw, local honey. The darker the better (you can ask your friendly local beekeeper for super dark- they usually have some on hand)
I also like to add some turmeric powder, and some echinecea tincture to mine- see below for additional information
In a large pot, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the honey. If the honey gets too hot, it loses it’s healthy properties. I use a generous sprinkle of turmeric and 1/4 cup of echinecea tincture, but as i said, these are optional ingredients. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to where the ingredients are steaming but not bubbling, and let it go for 30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes, mash up the berries with a potato masher, spoon, fork, whatever you’ve got. Let sit another 30 minutes or so to cool just enough that you can work with it.
Strain off the berries. They’ve given their goodness and you can throw them in your compost or trash now. I use a regular screen mesh strainer.
Now you’re ready to bottle it up (I use glass bottles- like wine or liquor bottles, or spaghetti sauce jars). You’ll want to keep it in the fridge as it does not contain preservatives, but it will stay good in the fridge for a long time.
I take an ounce a day as I also use it to help boost my milk supply for my nursing baby. I give my 2 year old 1 teaspoon a day. It tastes similar to blackberry juice- delicious! A normal adult dose is 1 Tablespoon per day. You’ll want to double up if you feel any kind of sickness coming on. So far I’ve noted that this either drastically shortens the duration of illness or prevents it altogether. (Naturally, this is just my observation, I’m not affiliated with the FDA, this statement has not been tested in a lab, etc etc etc)
You can also use it to make gummies, if your kids like gummies better.
Cheers to your good health!!
**A note about Echinecea**
This is the powdered Echinecea i use to make my tincture. All I do is put 1/4 cup of the powder in a glass bottle with about a cup of vodka, and let it sit for a few weeks, giving it a good shake every day or 2. The alcohol pulls the good stuff from the powder, resulting in a tincture. The powder will settle to the bottom and when you’re ready to use it, it should be pretty easy to pour off what you need without too much sediment. You can also strain it through a coffee filter or fine seive. The alcohol will evaporate off during the cooking process of the elderberry syrup.