A wonderful addition to your herbal remedy collection in this cold and flu season is homemade elderberry syrup. It is really easy to make, here is more information.
Wild harvest elderberries, gathered from the woodland border surrounding my home.
NOTE: the raw berries, bark and leaves of the plant are also known to be poisonous - DO NOT INGEST RAW ELDERBERRIES. The elderberry plant can contain a cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin which must be deactivated by heat prior to ingesting medicinally to avoid adverse effects.
Elderberry refers to several varieties of the Sambucus tree, which has clusters of white flowers and black or purple, blue, black berries. The most common variety is Sambucus nigra, also known as European elderberry or black elderberry. The flowers, bark and berries are all useful. The flowers have been used for pain relief, swelling, inflammation. The bark was used as a diuretic, laxative and to induce vomiting.
You can harvest the berries in mid to late summer. Elderberries are ripe when they droop on the branch. The flowers can be harvested in the spring. You can dry the berries by air drying or in a dehydrator and store for later use. You can also freeze them. Just cut the berry bunches off the bush with scissors and put them in a large paper bag. Place the bag in the freezer while on the stems. Once completely frozen you can shake them to knock the berries off the stems leaving stems in the bag and scoop the berries up and place them in a freezer safe container. If you freeze them in zip lock freezer bags they will not harden together like most berries and you can easily scoop out a cup or two from a gallon bag, even after they have been frozen for months. I prefer to dry mine for long term storage.
High in vitamin C: There are up to 35 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit
A good source of phenolic acids: These compounds are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce damage from stress in the body
A good source of flavonols: Elderberry contains the antioxidant flavonols. The flowers contain up to 10 times more flavonols than the berries. The flowers and bark are often used
Rich in anthocyanins: These compounds give the fruit its characteristic dark black-purple color and are a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects
Homemade elderberry syrup is very easy to make and you have a yummy addition to your herbal medicine collection.
Soapsmith's Elderberry Syrup
1 cup organic wild harvest dried elderberries
3 cups water
2 Tbsp fresh sliced ginger
3 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
A few whole cloves or 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup raw honey
1. Add water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves to a stainless steel pot with heavy bottom.
2. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for about an hour until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. Pour through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into bowl.
3. Discard the elderberries and spices. Add 1 cup of honey to the liquid and stir well.
4. Pour the syrup into a glass jar. Store in the refrigerator.
5. You can take it daily to boost your immune system or just use it when you have a cold or flu. Take ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults daily. If you are fighting illness you can take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day.
As always, herbal remedies are not a replacement for medical care. Always consult a doctor for serious illness. Discontinue use if you have any unwanted reactions or allergies.
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