Herbs has been used by mankind since ancient time as natural remedies.There are even verses in the bible that mention about herbs for healing. It is amazing that nature provides us with many herbs and plants that we need for natural healing.
Elderberry is one of the plants that we commonly use medicinally at home for colds and flus and also as a form of preventive measure to boost immunity. Traditionally, people also used them in dishes and beverages. It is also interesting to know that people in the past also used the elderberry plant to ward off witches or evil spirits! I can only attest to the effectiveness of using elderberry for colds and flus but as for warding off evil spirits, maybe someone could share with me if you have any experience in that area 🙂
There are actually different varieties of elderberry depending on the location they are cultivated. They can be found in parts of Europe, South America, Asia and most of the Northern Atmosphere. Despites the species, they all have similar properties. Both elderberry and the flower have great benefits for our health.
Some herbalists have a preference for elderflowers over elderberries. The flowers are high in vitamin C and are antiviral, anti-inflammatory and diuretic and works as an expectorant, inducing perspiration and draining off excess fluids from mucous membranes. The perspiration and draining off action actually purge out the virus/toxin from the body, enhancing the body to better recover. Besides consuming the flowers steeped in hot water for the above properties mentioned, a thick infused elderberry flowers water can be used externally on the skin for skin lightening. It is also soothing to sunburns, boils and can even be used as a hair rinse. Therefore, elderflowers are commonly used in beauty products and skin treatments.
Like the elderflowers, the berries are high in vitamin C and are antiviral, anti-inflammatory and diuretic among other properties. I like to mention that they are also high in antioxidant which protects our cells against free radical, reducing oxidative damage to the cells, and hence prevent diseases of the heart and cancer and also slow down the aging process. Flavonoids, the blue purple pigmentation of the berries are antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antiallergenic. With so much goodness in these tiny berries, its not hard to know why it is effective in strengthening our immune system to aid it to fight against viruses.
In our home, we commonly take elderberry in the syrup form as I usually make about two bottles at one go and keep them in the refrigerator and take these on a regular basis, alternating it with other stuffs that we are taking. If someone at home is having a cold or flu, they can take it up to three times a day, a spoonful each time. They are actually very simple to make and I prefer making them at home over the store bought ones as I realised the store bought ones contain synthetic vitamin C.
This recipe actually yields about 1.5 to 2 bottles of syrup for me.
- 1.5 cups of dried elderberries
- 6 cups of water
- 3 table spoons of ginger powder (you can used fresh grated ginger too or increase the amount of ginger if you like it really spicy)
- 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- 1.5 to 2 cups of raw honey
- Pour everything except the honey into a pot (I use stainless pot or glass pot)
- Bring it to boil and then simmer for an hour
- Let it cool and then strain it over a siever for the dark colour liquid.
- Add in the honey when its cool and stir and pour into glass bottles and I keep them in the refrigerator.
The kids usually take 1 spoonful daily or alternate days to boost their immunity. On days when they are down, I will increase the frequency of intake. Give it a try, its simple and effective.