There are several varieties of elderberry grown throughout the world, but the medicinal herb we want for its powerful cold- and flu-fighting powers is European black elderberry, or Sambucus nigra L.
Elder is a shrub that originates in Europe, Asia and Africa, and it has dark black berries and small white flowers. Medicinal uses of the elder plant go back centuries. Remnants of the plant have been found in stone age sites, and the plant was referenced in writings by Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates.
Almost all parts of the elder plant were used in ancient times. The wood was used for making instruments. The flowers and berries were used for medicine.
Of course, elderberry can be grown and harvested in your own yard. If you choose to do this, make sure the elderberry plant you grow is the correct type. The varieties native to the United States are not the same as black elderberries that are used in herbal remedies. If you do not have your own elderberry plant, you can buy the dried elderberries and use them to make your own herbal medicines.
Elderberries are high in vitamins A, B and C and have antioxidant, antiviral and other healthy properties.
A Word of Caution
Elderberries contain seeds that contain a toxic chemical, but cooking the berries removes the toxicity. Elderberries can be prepared in many ways, including in teas, syrups and tinctures. One of the great benefits of most elderberry preparations is that they are safe for children as well as for adults.
This winter, why not make your own elderberry medicine? Following are two recipes that can help keep your family healthy.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
Elderberry is easily made into a syrup that can be used not only as a medicine but also on pancakes and ice cream. This syrup can last several months when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In addition to water, it contains only four ingredients.
- 4 cups cold water
- 2 cups dried elderberries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root or dried ginger root
- Raw local honey
- Put the berries, herbs and cold water in a pot and boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer the mixture for about 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat and mash the berries.
- Allow mixture to cool and strain the liquid with cheesecloth, making sure to squeeze out all of the juice.
- Measure the liquid and add an equal amount of honey.
- Gently heat the mixture until the honey and juice are combined. Do not let it boil.
For children, take ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon per day. For adults, take ½ tablespoon to 1 tablespoon per day. If you have a cold or the flu, take the normal dosage every three hours for the duration of your illness.
These gummies are fantastic and are great for children who don’t want to take medicine when they are sick. The little gummies are sweet and tart and are like eating a fruit snack or fun candy. They also can be taken daily to boost your immune system.
- 1 cup elderberry syrup
- ½ cup hot water
- ¼ cup gelatin
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil for greasing your pan
- Glass pan or silicone molds
- Grease molds or pan with coconut oil.
- Put ¼ cup elderberry syrup and gelatin in a 2 cup measuring cup and whisk together.
- Add ½ cup hot, but not boiling, water, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the remaining elderberry syrup and stir until completely smooth.
- Pour gelatin mixture into your molds.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until they are completely set.
- Remove them from the molds and store in an airtight container.
Eat one gummy daily to boost your immune system. If you have a cold or the flu, eat one every 4-5 hours throughout the day.
If you have chronic health problems or are taking any medications, please consult with your doctor before using herbal medicines.
Have you ever used elderberry? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional first about this method.
Bond, Carol. History of Elder. Retrieved from http://www.herballegacy.com/Bond_History.html. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.
De la Forêt, Rosalee. “Elderberry Gummy Bear Recipe.” Retrieved from http://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/gummy-bear-recipe/. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.
“Does Black Elderberry Syrup Really Fight Cold and Flu Viruses?” Retrieved from http://www.homemadehints.com/black-elderberry-syrup-extract-benefits/. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.
“Flu-Busting Gummy Bears.” Retrieved from http://wellnessmama.com/4599/flu-busting-gummy-bears/. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.
“How to Make Elderberry Syrup.” Retrieved from http://mountainroseblog.com/elderberry-syrup-recipe/. Retrieved on Nov. 21, 2016.