About six months ago I discovered a miraculous immune boosting secret, and haven’t gotten sick since. Not even a sniffle. There were chances, sure. Say, when my boyfriend had a cold and I still kissed him goodnight each evening — or when my coworkers violently coughed six inches from me in a meeting. The germs have undoubtedly been there, but my secret weapon has held strong.
By now, you probably want me to cut to the chase, so here it is: elderberries. Also known as Sambucus Nigra, you might recognize the name from popular drinks such as Sambuca, St. Germain, and Elderberry wine. The flowers, roots, and berries from the plant can be used, but it should be noted that the berries are actually poisonous until ripe. To be safe, they must be cooked. Aside from their easily avoidable dangers, elderberries are full of vitamins A and B, and they contain a very large amount of Vitamin C. They are said to actually stimulate the immune system, and in doing so can help fight off illness, whether it be the flu, a common cold, or infection.
How do you actually use them? I like to simmer my elderberries into an herbal tonic with ginger, cinnamon, and clove. I then add honey to make the mixture into a syrup which I add to morning smoothies and tea. You could also stir it into oatmeal, yogurt, or anything else that you add sweetener to. Other times, I’ll simply add the elderberries to hot water along with chamomile flowers for a settling evening tea. All it takes is just a little bit each day to keep that immune system strong.
To get you started, here is my recipe for elderberry syrup.
2 tbs elderberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 inch ginger, cut into approx. 6 chunks
5 cups water
1/4 cup honey
Crock pot or large pot for simmering
Fine mesh strainer
Glass jars for storing
- Add all ingredients except the honey to a crock pot or large pot and simmer for 1-2 hours.
- Remove from heat, and ladle into glass jars through a mesh strainer to catch all the berries/ginger/etc.
- Let cool for 15 minutes or so.
- Add honey and stir.
- Let sit out until fully cooled, and then store in the refrigerator.
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