I’m going to share my recipe for this easy to make immune enhancing homemade elderberry syrup, using freshly gathered elderberries. Or you can just as easily use dried berries if you’ve left it too late to pick your own 🙂 This is the time of year where we should prepare ourselves against any incoming winter ‘lurgies’. Prevention is best, and I make this remedy for my family to strengthen our defenses in order to protect against succumbing to winter illnesses.

Towards the end of summer is the best time to collect your elderberries! These small, purple-black berries found growing in bunches on elder trees (Sambucus nigra), are high in vitamin C + anti-oxidant rich flavonoids, and have been shown to promote faster recovery from viruses. The berries are also powerful diaphoretics; by inducing sweating, they reduce fevers. According to this 2004 study, ‘flu symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. The berries are also high in minerals, particularly potassium, calcium, and magnesium (study).

Gathered elderberries

My gathered elderberries

My homemade recipe for immune enhancing elderberry syrup also uses the herbs cloves, ginger and cinnamon for an added immune boost. I do also add raw honey for its potent anti-viral properties. I recommend 1 tbsp daily for adults/ 1 tsp for little ones over the winter months, or 3 x daily if a lurgy does strike.

Ingredients

  • 135g fresh elderberries (about 1 cup) or 100g dried black elderberries (I order mine online from here)
  • 850ml of filtered water
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh grated or dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 6 dried cloves
  • 3-4 tablespoons of raw honey (I get from my farmer’s market or local health food shop)

Simmering elderberries

Instructions

  1. Add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to a medium size pan and cover with water (do not add honey yet as heating over 25 degrees centigrade will destroy the beneficial enzymes and dilute the medicinal properties in the raw honey!)
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool until warm. Pour through a strainer, mashing the berries to extract all the liquid into a glass jar or bowl.
  3.  Discard or compost the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 2-3 tbsps of honey (or more to taste) and stir in well. (you can also use 2-3 stevia drops with half of the amount of honey to sweeten- a preferred option if avoiding sugar).
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a glass jar or bottle of some kind.
  5. Store your elderberry syrup in the fridge- mine usually lasts through the winter months without spoiling. Take daily for its immune boosting properties.

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Sources

Milynarczyk, k et. al (2020) The Content of Selected Minerals, Bioactive Compounds, and the Antioxidant Properties of the Flowers and Fruit of Selected Cultivars and Wildly Growing Plants of Sambucus nigra L.

Zakay-Rones, Z et.al (2004) Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections.

Gladstar, R (2008) Herbal Recipes For Vibrant Health.

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