20 Aug Elderberry Syrup – Immune booster for cold and flu
At this time of the year, full, luxuriant elderberries droop on the branch of the elder tree almost begging to be picked. The rich dark colours indicate that these small berries are highly pigmented and therefore must have lots of goodness in them.
In Irish folklore, the elder tree was considered sacred and prized for its culinary and medicinal uses. August to October is the perfect time for picking elderberries and using them to prepare a delicious concoction to ward off colds and flu coming into the autumn and winter with lots of other benefits to boot.
Elderberries have a high antioxidant status, containing polyphenols that can help to prevent disease. Many studies show the beneficial effects of elderberry on the immune system, blood pressure and reduction in oxidative stress in the body. They are also a source of vitamins and minerals. The recipe below also includes other immune boosting compounds: ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
Good for the immune system and more:
Coming into the colder seasons, it’s great to have a standby remedy to help boost you and your family’s health. Elderberries have been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system, helping to regulate our defense mechanisms as well as other positive impacts.
Researchers have said:
“Plants are rich sources of diverse bioactive compounds with high antioxidant potential, significantly affecting the health status of consumers. Results from many studies point to the beneficial effect of consumption of elderberry (S. nigra) preparations. Their antioxidant and protective potential has been established in respiratory ailments, colds, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity. Moreover, a significant impact on the immune system, antiviral and antibacterial activity, as well as protection against UV radiation has been confirmed.”
Use the simple recipe below to brew your own batch of this powerful syrup. Elder trees are found growing in profusion in the hedgerows.
How much to take:
I take 1-2 teaspoons in water without the honey as a drink and have it more regularly throughout the day when I feel I need a boost.
- 1 cup ripe elderberries
- 3 cups filtered water
- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup raw, local honey optional
- Pull the ripe elderberries off the stems and wash in a sieve.
- Place in a pot with all other ingredients except the honey. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about an hour or until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Pour the liquid through a sieve and squash the berries to extract the majority of the juice.
- Decant into a clean jar or bottle.
- When cool, add the honey, if using, and store in the fridge for 3 weeks or freeze in ice cube trays for longer term storage.
Kong, F. (2009). Pilot clinical study on a proprietary elderberry extract: Efficacy in addressing influenza symptoms. Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics, 5, 32–43.
Sidor, A. and Gramza-Michałowska, A. (2015). Advanced research on the antioxidant and health benefit of elderberry (Sambucus nigra) in food – a review. Journal of Functional Foods, [online] 18(31), pp.941-958. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464614002400.
Ulbricht, C., Basch, E., Cheung, L., Goldberg, H., Hammerness, P., Isaac, R., Khalsa, K., Romm, A., Rychlik, I., Varghese, M., Weissner, W., Windsor, R. and Wortley, J. (2014). An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Elderberry and Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 11(1), pp.80-120.
*The information given is considered general advice and should not be used in place of professional medical expertise or treatment.