This garnet-hued syrup – and the berries it’s crafted from – has been a staple in traditional healing for centuries thanks to its potent levels of antioxidant properties and vitamin C.
As the holidays draw to a close, the truest part of winter lies ahead… cold days and the potential for what often comes with them in the form of sniffles and sneezes. With holiday stress blissfully behind us, our immune systems may be feeling run ragged after all the hustle and bustle, gift getting and family frenzy. I know mine is. After spending the better part of December under the weather, my wellbeing is finally on the upswing, thanks in part to an all-natural immune booster that our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers have all likely sworn by: elderberry syrup. This garnet-hued syrup – and the berries it’s crafted from – has been a staple in traditional healing for centuries thanks to its potent levels of antioxidant properties and vitamin C. Ready to learn more about it? Read on, then find out how to make your own elderberry syrup below!
What are elderberries?
Elderberry, also known as sambucus, are small bluish-black berries that grow in clusters on a shrubby bush. Not to be confused with blueberries, elderberries are native to parts of North America and have been a staple in folk medicine for centuries.
Benefits of elderberry:
Elderberries have been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years as an immune supporter and cough suppressant. Elderberries are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C, and could support immune function year-round. Bioflavonoids present in elderberries could soothe inflammation and irritation of the throat, acting as an all-natural sore throat soother and making elderberries a popular ingredient in many over-the-counter medications and cough drops. Elderberries could support immune function with their high levels of antioxidant properties and vitamin C. Potent levels of vitamin A and anthocyanins in elderberries could improve skin health and encourage production of collagen.
How to use elderberries:
Elderberries can be enjoyed in many forms, from wines to jams, but it should be noted, reminded and reminded again that elderberries are poisonous until ripe and should always be cooked to ensure their safety. Elderberry syrup and lozenges are readily available at most health food stores as immune-enhancers, but the DIY route is just as easy. The DIY elderberry syrup recipe below is easy to make and can help support your immune system all season long. This syrup can be taken by the spoonful (about 1 tsp – 1 tbsp daily for most adults) or mixed into oats, chia puddings, or tossed into your morning smoothie. Enjoy!
DIY Elderberry Syrup
1 ½ cups dried elderberries (available in bulk at most natural foods stores)
4 cups water
2 tbsp peeled and chopped fresh ginger
½ cup raw honey
½ cup apple cider vinegar
Place all ingredients except honey and ACV in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about an hour, or until liquid is reduced to half.
Once liquid is reduced, remove from heat and carefully pour mixture into a high-speed blender. Blend on low until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a resealable glass jar (like a Mason jar).
Once mixture has cooled but is still warm to the touch, stir in the honey and ACV. Store mixture in sealed glass container in the fridge for up to a month.
To use: Take 1 tsp – 1 tbsp daily to support immune function all season long. If you’re already sick, take 1 tsp – 1 tbsp up to 4x daily to support the shortening of your symptoms until they subside.
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