Many of us are in the throes of the winter cold and flu season. Colds and the flu can be at best a nuisance, and at worst downright miserable. When you are sick, it can be difficult to do much of anything. It’s disruptive to your life and it takes time away from the things that are important to you. There are plenty of other things that you’d probably rather do than be sick with a cold! The good thing to know is that there are ways to prevent both colds and the flu and you can do it right at home!
Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberry or Sambucus nigra is from the honeysuckle family. It is very common in the northern hemisphere. In fact, once I’d identified it myself, I realized that it was everywhere around me in Switzerland. The flowers are often made into a cordial. Add water to the cordial or syrup and you have yourself a tasty drink.
Elderberry has been used medicinally in Europe for many centuries. And, as recently as 1995, it was used to treat the flu pandemic in Panama. (1) Researchers found that elderberry extract inhibited many strains of the flu virus, and recipients improved very quickly with no adverse effects from the treatment.
You can forage and freeze the berries yourself. I did that but it wasn’t enough to last us through the season, so I ordered organic elderberries online.
How to Make Elderberry Syrup
Making your own cold and flu tonic or syrup at home couldn’t be easier. There are some versions of elderberry syrup that can be bought commercially, but I didn’t find them to be as effective as the homemade version.
Here’s what I use in mine:
Why do I add these additional spices to the elderberry? Ginger, cinnamon and cloves are loaded with antioxidants.
I prefer the whole spice as opposed to the ground version because I think it’s a bit more potent, but ground spices can be used, as well.
Why This Syrup is Different
I have researched many different types of homemade elderberry syrups. There were similarities between most of them, but I was looking for something that was sugar-free. Most of the homemade syrups contain honey or agave. Honey is a wonderful food and has many benefits. It has antimicrobial properties, but the sugar (fructose) in honey can feed pathogenic bacteria and yeast in your gut. I have a candida issue so it was important for me to find something that didn’t have sugar. This one has stevia so it’s perfect for me!
- 4 whole cloves
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/3 cup of dried elderberries
- 3-4 fresh ginger slices
- stevia to taste (find it here)
- Bring 2 1/2 cups or 20 oz. of water to boil. After the water starts to boil, add all of the ingredients except the stevia. Turn the stove down and let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes. Let the mixture cool and add the stevia. Drain and store in a glass container in the refrigerator.
I made it a goal of mine to try and make it through a single cold and flu season without getting sick. I’m going on two years now with no cold or flu. Once I sneeze or get the sniffles, I make sure to take this along with some apple cider vinegar and it’s gone by morning.
I hope this helps you, too!
Wishing you and yours peace and health,
This post contains affiliate links.