A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down? Make that honey.
As we approach flu season, here's a natural remedy for flu prevention that actually works. I've been making elderberry syrup every fall for the past few years, and I swear it's magic. Widely used in herbalism as a flu preventative, elderberry syrup is filled with immune-boosting properties—not to mention antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.
Best of all: making your own is truly simple. This is a DIY that won't try your patience.
Photographs by Erin Boyle.
Above: Dried elderberries ready to be turned into medicine. I purchased dried berries through Mountain Rose Herbal; a 4-ounce package is $4.25.
Above: Use a sieve to smash all the good juices out of the berries after boiling.
Above: Allow your liquid to cool completely before adding the honey so the raw honey doesn't get damaged by the heat.
Above: Bottle your syrup in dark apothecary bottles. A 4 Oz. Amber Bottle is $1.50 from Mountain Rose Herbal.
Elderberry Syrup for Flu Prevention
Adapted from Mountain Rose Herbal
- 1/2 cup dried elderberries (or 1 cup fresh)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup raw honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 to 5 cloves
Place berries, spices, and water in a saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for from 30 to 40 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and strain liquid through a sieve, smashing the berries with a wooden spoon to release any extra juice. Discard the berries and spices. Allow the liquid to cool completely and mix in raw honey. Divide into glass bottles and label. Keep the syrup refrigerated and take a teaspoon daily to ward off germs.
Elderberry Syrup is just one elixir that comes from the elderberry tree (remember Christine's post about Elderflower Cordial?).
N.B.: This is an update of a post published on October 3, 2013 as part of Tree Huggers week.