It's autumn! My favorite time of year when the morning and nights are cool and cozy and the days are sunny and warm. It's also the season for coughs, colds, and flus and boosting immunity is important. Keep reading for a simple and delicious recipe to help boost immunity.
One way I stay healthy during cold and flu season is by taking Elderberry Syrup. It's super tasty and a small amount each day goes a long way.
The immune system is always working and when you feel symptoms of a cold or flu it means your body is actively working to fight off pathogens. Pathogens include: viruses, carcinogens, pollution, germs, toxins, fungus, bacteria, and parasites.
The botanicals in this recipe work together to fight pathogens and promote resilience.
Elderberry, botanical name Sambucus nigra, is known for general prevention of colds and flus. It helps the body relieve congestion by clearing infection and inflammation. You may find dried elderberries at your local health food store. My three favorite sources for elderberries are:
Flower Power Herbs and Roots organic herb shop based in the East Village of NYC
Foster Farm Botanicals organic farm based in Vermont
Mountain Rose Herbs online source for organic bulk herbs
Ginger, botanical name Zingiber officinale, is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral. This rhizome (not a root) is so popular it can be found fresh in most grocery stores.
Cinnamon, botanical name Cinnamommum spp, is antiseptic. It is also widely known and carried in most grocery stores spice section in powder and stick form.
Cloves, botanical name Eugenia caryophyllata, is antiseptic and another kitchen spice easily found in the spice section of grocery stores.
Honey is a natural sweetener with antibiotic and antiseptic properties. To maintain the antibiotic properties of honey avoid boiling water, pour into your syrup (or tea) when it has cooled to the touch. For most potent results get a local honey at the farmers market or your favorite local food store.
Elderberry syrup is a herbalist staple and many make it with just elderberries and honey. I like my herbal preparations to be tasty so I've added ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, you can omit them if you like.
2/3 cup of dried black elderberries
3.5 cups of water
2 tbsps chopped ginger root
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
1 tsp cloves
1/2 cup - 1 cup raw honey (taste for sweetness)
(Optional) 1 oz of elderberry tincture
*Vegan: substitute honey for vegetable glycern
Pour water into a medium saucepan, add dried elderberries, chopped ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. **Honey goes in last (when liquid has cooled)
Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour. Liquid will reduce by about half.
Pour liquid through a strainer into a glass jar
Discard botanicals and or compost them
Allow liquid to cool to lukewarm
Add honey and stir well
Optional: Add elderberry tincture to super boost syrup potency
Store in fridge and take a tsp daily for immune boosting properties (will keep for months if refrigerated)
What are you doing to boost immunity this cold and flue season? How do you make your elderberry syrup? Is this the first time you ever heard of it? I'd love to know, comment below.