The makings of my family’s first line of defense against colds and flu.
It. Has. Begun.
On Thursday, we were all walking around in t-shirts. By Friday, my daughter was home sick with a runny nose and a low grade fever. The vast majority of my plans flew out the window, and I spent the day watching movies, drinking tea, reading and making this seasons’ batch of Elderberry syrup.
Elderberry is my favorite first line of defense against colds and flu… We drink the dark, flavorful elderberry tea almost every day during the fall and winter as a preventative measure. However, when the symptoms actually hit, I find the syrup to be even more effective. (The University of Maryland Medical Center has some good literature about Elderberry and how it works, if you want to go deep.)
This season, I found a recipe (from Wellness Mama) that includes ginger, cinnamon and cloves, three herbs which add a pleasing sweetness and complexity to the syrup, as well as their own immune boosting and antibiotic properties.
Here’s the recipe in all of its glory:
Black Elderberry Syrup, from Wellness Mama
⅔ cup black elderberries
3½ cups of water
2 Tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon cloves or clove powder
1 cup raw honey (we get from our farmer’s market)
Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
Here’s our fresh supply, ready to do battle against the evil viruses that plague us all this time of year…
Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.