The Magic of Elderberries

a heap of dried elderberries on dark background

By Rachel Hoeing

I have the worst immune system ever. I seem to catch everything. At least once a month I usually find myself fighting some sort of cold or virus for a few days only to end up in bed sleeping it off for a good day or two. We all know that as moms, there is no option of a sick day! Add on your career, your household chores, your pets, your obligations to others … and a sick day just means a week’s worth of make-up days for the day you took off. Am I right?

You would think after teaching Elementary School for eight years that I would have built up a solid immunity to anything, but that has not been the case. Over the past few years I went through phases where I tried eating healthier, taking vitamins, exercising more, you name it. I have tried just about every remedy imaginable when I started to feel a cold coming on. A few things worked and seemed to either shorten the sickness, or at least put it at bay for a day or two, but I still seemed to find myself fighting off that run-down-sore-throat-stuffy-head feeling way too often.

My friend, Jill, suggested that I try Elderberry syrup. What-a-berry syrup? I had never heard of an elderberry, but if it kept me from getting sick, I would try a thousand of them! She gave me her recipe for homemade elderberry syrup back in February. I have been drinking one tablespoon daily and guess what?!?! I have not been sick once! Not once!

Could it be coincidence? Sure. Could it be that I have been eating healthier and that has built up my immune system? No, lately I have been eating worse than ever. Could it be that I have been more physically active? Nope, Netflix time has increased this year. Could it be that I just had allergies this whole time? Possibly. But regardless of the reason, I will not stop drinking my magic elderberry juice anytime soon. Hooray for no sick days!

Are you ready for the recipe? Most items can be found at local farmer’s markets, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, or on Amazon.

Elderberry Syrup

1/2 c dried elderberries
2 c filtered water
1 stick cinnamon
6 whole cloves
2 TBSP freshly grated ginger
1 TBSP Echinacea (optional)
1 TBSP rosehips (optional)
zest of 1 lemon
1 c raw, local honey

1) In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except honey
2) Over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 min,
3) Remove from heat and strain (I use the spoon to really push the mixture into the strainer to get all the juice I can)
4) Mix honey into strained juice and stir until completely combined
5) Store in glass jar in frig for up to 6 months

*Children 2+ 1/2 TBSP hourly at onset of symptoms
Children 12+ and adults 1 TBSP

Jill advised me to take 1 TBSP daily as prevention, which has been amazing. If you give this a try, I would love for you to come back to this blog, leave a comment, and let us know if it worked for you! (Just type “elderberries” into the search box at the top of the page and this blog will come up.)

*I feel like I should include a disclaimer to not take anything without your doc’s permission. Or in other words, don’t sue me if you try this and something crazy happens 🙂

6 thoughts on “The Magic of Elderberries

  1. Linda Biscombe

    Hi, Rachel. Aunt Linda here. As a child, I used to pick elderberries in the woods behind my childhood home along with my mother and siblings. Mom would make elderberry jelly and sometimes some wine. We loved the jelly. I will definitely make the syrup and show it to my doctor. I, too, have been getting frequent upper respiratory infections even though I no longer work at the germ factory (school). Since my trip to the ER in mid April, I have had a battery of tests and will find out on June 7 what ails me. It is probably allergies hopefully and not mild COPD. I never smoked. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
  2. April

    Sounds like it’s worth a try to me! Does this mean we’re getting old if we’re resorting to something named elderberry? Elder??

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Gonna give it a try!
    Elderberries are what make the liqueur St. Germain. Ummm, it is delicious in Champagne.
    Just sayin’
    Thanks

    Reply

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