Banish the Germs and get Onboard the Elderberry Train

A couple years ago I began my hunt for a natural way to combat all the germs my daughter Mae would bring home from preschool. Mae and her sister were starting to show signs of illness induced asthma issues and were having a hard time getting and staying well during flu and cold season.

Then it happened. The big IT, at least in my book, is vomit. They picked up a stomach bug from somewhere and were vomiting everywhere; including down the back of my jeans and into my underwear as I tried desperately to clean up the other pile that they just laid out on the sofa. As their symptoms started to ebb, my husband and I were just starting to show symptoms. Nothing says FUN like vomiting into the bathtub, while nursing a baby and sitting on the toilet at 3 am. After we recovered from that episode I vowed a promise with such great intensity that it was rivaled only by Ingo Montoya and his search for the six fingered man. I would find something to make that illness as rare of an occurrence as possible.

That is when I found our miracle cure: elderberry.

Elderberries are powerful antivirals and antibacterial. They have been showing to shorten the duration and the severity of flu and colds significantly, almost by half:

A significant improvement of the symptoms, including fever, was seen in 93.3% of the cases in the SAM-treated group within 2 days, whereas in the control group 91.7% of the patients showed an improvement within 6 days (p < 0.001). A complete cure was achieved within 2 to 3 days in nearly 90% of the SAM-treated group and within at least 6 days in the placebo group (p < 0.001). (US National Library of Medicine, 1995)

And:

Sambucol was shown to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days. (US National Library of Medicine, 2001)

And:

For the first time, it was shown that a standardized elderberry liquid extract possesses antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive bacteria of Streptococcus pyogenes and group C and G Streptococci, and the Gram-negative bacterium Branhamella catarrhalis in liquid cultures. The liquid extract also displays an inhibitory effect on the propagation of human pathogenic influenza viruses. (US Library of National Medicine)

Finding this information and fully believing that most of what we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle is found in our environment, I jumped all over it. Elderberry syrup has shown to be safe for pregnant and nursing women, which many over-the-counter drugs cannot claim.

Being sick is a drag, being sick while pregnant or nursing is downright cruel. You feel like you can’t take anything! This recipe has helped us prevent countless illnesses. When we do get sick the severity is much less and the duration is minimal, one day, two tops, with the worst of the symptoms. My kids directly drank out of cups that their cousins drank out of and managed to evade the stomach bug that took down their cousins. When I was pregnant I had the flu and my fever only reached 99-100 degrees AND I was only laid out on the sofa for a day or two. The only time my girls have thrown up since my discovery of elderberry syrup is when I didn’t have any to give them because we were visiting family.

You can buy elderberry syrup in the store, but like everything else in the store you don’t know what’s exactly in it or if it’s gone bad or how potent it actually is. It’s also very expensive. So, to ensure that I have the best possible syrup I can afford, I make my own. It’s relatively easy and hassle free. I, personally, buy my elderberries on Amazon. I’ve used Frontier elderberries for a couple of years now and from the one bag I can usually get about 3 batches of elderberry syrup. I’ve also found that the more organic ingredients I use in my syrup, the better the potency.

Additionally, with my recipe, the term “syrup” is a misnomer; the consistency is pretty juice-like. The smell is for sure odd, but not bad. The taste is acquired, but my girls had no problems drinking it the first time they had it and they are the definition of picky eaters. I hope that this recipe helps other families out as much as it did ours.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dried elderberries
  • 4 cups of water (preferably filtered)
  • Fresh ginger root, about 
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Directions:

Slice up your ginger vertically and select your 5 largest slices. Note: you won’t use the entire ginger root if it’s large. If any of the slices have a bad spot, cut out the bad spot before adding to the mixture.

Place the ginger slices, dried elderberries, water and cinnamon in a medium sized pot. Turn heat on low-to-medium and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, keep the heat steady to ensure that the boil does not become fast. Carefully watch mixture to ensure the water doesn’t boil completely away. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Turn off heat and pour the mixture into a heat-safe jar through a strainer to separate the liquid from the solids. You should have about 2 cups of liquid (If you have a little less than, you can add up to a 1/2 cup of water to mixture).

Discard berries and ginger and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

During those 10 minutes of cooling, juice the one lemon into a separate container and measure out the honey.

Add honey and lemon to mixture. Stir until well combined.

Storage: Store your elderberry syrup in a glass jar, or a sealable container, in the fridge. The syrup is good for three weeks to a month.

Dosing: 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours for a child younger than 6. 1 tbsp every 2-3 hours for kids 6+ and adults.

When to take it: Start taking elderberry syrup at the first sign of illness and continue for 2-5 days or until symptoms disappear.

Here’s to a healthy cold and flu season, good luck!

Elderberry Syrup
A potent antiviral and antibacterial to help your family combat flu/cold season.

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Prep Time
40 min

Prep Time
40 min

Ingredients
1 cup of dried elderberries
4 cups of water (preferably filtered)
Fresh ginger root
1 lemon
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions
Slice up your ginger vertically and select your 5 largest slices. (note: you won’t use the entire ginger root, if its large, for one batch)
If any of the slices have a bad spot, cut out that bad spot before adding them to the mixture.
Place the ginger slices, dried elderberries, water and cinnamon in a medium sized pot.
Turn heat on low to medium and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering, keep the heat steady to ensure that the boil does not become fast. Carefully watch mixture to ensure the water doesn’t boil away. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn off heat and using a strainer to catch the used berries and ginger, pour liquid into heat safe glass or jar. You should have about 2 cups of liquid (If you have a little less than, you can add up to a 1/2 cup of water to mixture).
Discard berries and ginger.
Let cool 10 minutes.
During those 10 minutes of cooling, juice the one lemon into a separate container and measure out the honey.
Add honey and lemon to mixture.
Stir until well combined.

Notes
Storage: Store your elderberry syrup in a glass jar, or a sealable container, in the fridge. The syrup is good for about 3 weeks to a month.
Dosing: 1 tsp every 2-3 hours for a child younger than 6. 1 tbsp every 2-3 hours for kids 6+ and adults.
When to take it: Start taking elderberry syrup at the first sign of illness and continue for 2-5 days or until symptoms disappear.

Mama Say What?! http://www.mamasaywhat.com/

2 Responses to Banish the Germs and get Onboard the Elderberry Train

  1. these recipes sound amazing! I have personally seen the miraculous affects of elderberry syrup in our house. I’ll have to give this a try.

  2. Pingback: Ask the Mamas: Toddler Medicine Tips Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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