Elderberry is known for its ability to lessen the duration of the flu, it is also good for alleviating the symptoms of a cold.
If you are interested in making your own syrup for this coming winter, here is how you do it;
1/2 cup elderberries (dried) - sambucus nigra or sambucus nigra sbsp. canadensis
3 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (broken up)
1 pinch of ground clove
1 pinch of dried ginger
1/2 cup raw honey
I normally use fresh elderberries but our favorite spots to find the plant have now been destroyed by development :( We do grow our own but the deer don't share so… this year I purchased elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs. They also have a great video on making elderberry syrup if you prefer to follow that. You do not have to use cinnamon, clove and/or ginger but I think it makes the syrup taste 1000x's better and they contain beneficial properties that aid in relieving various ailments.
Make sure you use RAW HONEY, preferably local and organic. There is a significant difference between raw honey and processed honey. The antimicrobial and antibacterial enzymes found in honey are destroyed when honey is heated beyond a certain degree which is why the processed honey you usually find in grocery stores is not what you want to be consuming. When people tout the benefits of honey they aren't referring to your grocery store variety, they are talking about the honey straight from the hive. If you just want honey to use as a sweetener than go ahead and buy the processed version but if you are looking to benefit from honey's healing properties you'll want to buy RAW - ORGANIC - LOCAL.
This also means you need to keep in mind that honey should never be heated above 95 degrees F. It's the heat that degrades honey. In this recipe you'll probably want to have a thermometer on hand to make sure your liquid is at or below 95 F before you add your honey.
Measure out the water and place it in a sauce pan, then add your berries, broken up pieces of cinnamon, a pinch of cloves and a pinch of ginger.
Bring to a boil and then cover and lower heat to a simmer for 40 minutes. Make sure to stir the contents every 10 minutes as it simmers (to prevent sticking to the bottom of pan).
After 40 minutes remove from heat and strain. I did this by covering a jar with cheese cloth because I couldn't find my strainer. The joys of a disorganized kitchen.
After boiling I was left with 1 1/2 cups of liquid so to make sure the syrup wasn't too sweet or too bland I put in 1/2 cup of raw honey, stirred til it was completely dissolved and the taste was perfect!! (remember: do not add honey until temp of liquid is below 95 F). Pour into a glass jar for storage in the fridge.
Make sure you write the date on the top of your jar since you are going to want to discard any unused syrup after about 3 months.
This recipe makes a liquid syrup that is not the consistency of the syrup most people are use to. It will not resemble maple syrup or have the thickness of Robitussin. This is a watery syrup. Make sure you refrigerate the finished product or it will go bad quickly. This recipe does not contain a natural preservative, if you want to extend the shelf life of your recipe you'll need to add an alcohol like vodka or brandy. Natural Fertility and Wellness has a great recipe with brandy included.
You can take this syrup as a preventative at a dose of 1 tsp a day to boost immunity otherwise if ill take 1 tsp 2x's daily.
**Although a lot of research has been done on elderberry the verdict is still out on whether it is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding, same goes for if you are on other medication or have any health problems so it is best to speak to your health care provider before using.