DIY Elderberry Syrup for Wintertime Wellness
Today I am sharing with you guys the /wellness-gold’ that is Elderberry syrup, including how to make it on your own and the myriad health benefits of one daily dose! This ancient plant has been used as an all natural supplement for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. In general, it is known for it’s powerful cold & flu fighting properties but this complex plant was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat infections, by Egyptians to improve complexion and to heal burns and even today it is still used in many parts of Europe in folk medicine.
Elderberries are the product of the ‘Sambucus nigra’ tree, also known as the European elderberry or black elder. This tree originates in Europe but it is widely grown in many other parts of the world as well. The flowers and leaves of this tree have been used for relieving pain, swelling and inflammation. The dried elderberries or juice has been used to treat influenza, infections, sciatica, headaches, dental pain, heart pain and nerve pain and are also known to work well as a laxative or diuretic.The berries can easily be cooked and used to make syrup, juice, jams, chutneys, pies and elderberry wine, which I will be describing how to do in this post! Here is a quick recap of the many health-benfits of elderberries, which I compiled from an article found on Healthline.com. Elderberries are:
High in vitamin C: There are 6–35 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit, which accounts for up to 60% of the recommended daily intake.
High in dietary fiber: Elderberries contain 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fresh berries, which is over 25% of the recommended daily intake.
A good source of phenolic acids: These compounds are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can lead to the development of diseases like type 2 diabetes and cancer.
A good source of flavonols: Elderberry contains the antioxidant flavonols quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. The flowers specifically contain up to 10x more flavonols than the berries
Improve Heart Health: Elderberry may have positive effects on some markers of heart and blood vessel health. Elderberry juice may also reduce the level of fat in the blood and decrease cholesterol. In addition, a diet high in flavonoids like anthocyanins has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease in general.
Rich in anthocyanins: These compounds give the fruit its characteristic dark black-purple color and are a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects
May Improve Cold and Flu Symptoms
High in Nutrients: 100 grams of fresh berries contain 73 calories, 18.4 grams of carbs and less than 1 gram each of fat and protein
Black elderberry extracts and flower infusions have been shown to reduce the severity and length of influenza: One study of 60 participants with confirmed influenza found that those who took 15 ml of elderberry syrup 4x/day showed symptom improvement within 2-4 days, while the control group took 7-8 days to improve! Another study of 64 people found that taking 175-mg elderberry extract lozenges for 2 days resulted in significant improvement in flu symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches and nasal congestion, after just 24 hours. Furthermore, a study of 312 air travelers taking capsules containing 300 mg of elderberry extract 3x/day found that those who got sick experienced a shorter duration of illness and less severe symptoms.
Helps fight cancer: Both European and American elder have been found to have some cancer-inhibiting properties in test-tube studies
Fights harmful bacteria: Elderberry has been found to inhibit the growth of bacteria like Helicobacter pylori and may improve symptoms of sinusitis and bronchitis
May support the immune system: In rats, elderberry polyphenols were found to support immune defense by increasing the number of white blood cells
Could protect against UV radiation: A skin product containing elderberry extract was found to have a sun protection factor (SPF)
May increase urination: Elderberry flowers were found to increase the frequency of urination and amount of salt excretion in rats
May have some antidepressant properties: One study found mice fed 544 mg of elderberry extract per pound (1,200 mg per kg) had improved performance and mood markers
Now on to the good stuff… I mentally prepared myself for a long, annoying process of making this Elderberry syrup but it honestly was one of the easiest homeopathic remedies I’ve made! The entire process from start to finish took all of an hour and a half and that was only due to the process of waiting on the syrup to cool enough to handle. The first step will be to find yourself a bag of dried elderberries. I was thankful enough to have a patient’s grandmother sell me a bag that she purchased through San Fransisco Herb Company. They cost about $12 for a 1-lb bag which made roughly 4-16 oz. pint jars full.
For a double whammy effect, I also opted to use LOCAL (York, SC) raw honey for my sweetener so that I could combine the powerful effects that local honey has on allergies. When you eat honey produced by local bees, you’re eating some of the allergens that make your eyes water and your nose run. Over time, your body builds up immunity to these allergens so your seasonal allergies won’t be as severe!
3/4 cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
1 teaspoon dried cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon dried cloves or 4 whole cloves or 1 drop clove essential oil (I left this out of mine because I am not a huge fan of the flavor of clove)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon dried ginger or 1 drop ginger essential oil
1 cup raw honey (*local if you’re looking to soothe your allergies!)
In a large pot, bring the elderberries, water, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to a boil.
Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 40-45 minutes.
Allow the liquid to cool, and then drain the liquid using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
Press all liquid out of the berries using the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the raw honey and mix well.
Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to two months.
If you store your syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will last for about two months. For adults, take 1 tablespoon daily and for children, 1 teaspoon daily. If you or your children are experiencing sickness or feel something coming on, that dose should be repeated up to four times daily.
I would love to hear if any of you attempt this recipe so please comment below if you decide to give it a go and let me know your thoughts!
Thanks for reading!