So, elderberries. Wow. Where have I been? I am just learning about this amazing plant, native to Oregon. Elderberries have been used for centuries for their medicinal benefits, and elderberry juice was even used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. Studies have shown elderberry extract to be effective in preventing the H1N1 infection in vitro. This stuff is impressive!
I prefer natural remedies to any ailment. I am so not a pill popper for any reason. There are so many limitations to medications that are safe with breastfeeding, so my stance has just been to eliminate it all. There is a time and place for modern medicine, but for the most part I haven't needed it in my life (for that, I am thankful). I came down with a cold a few weeks ago, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was really sick! I chopped up several cloves of raw garlic, ate them right up, and literally 24 hours later my cold was all but gone. I can't saw for sure it was the garlic, but I can say for sure that I have never recovered from a cold that quickly before. More on garlic later.
Simply put, you make elderberry syrup by de-steming then juicing (potato masher works well) the berries over a heat source (plus one cup water). Once you have juiced, let it all simmer for an hour. This helps release of all of the healing properties in the berries. After an hour, strain the berry/juice mixture through cheesecloth or pressing bags (this involve squeezing and squeezing to get all of the juice out). Measure the amount of juice you have, pour in equal amounts of honey or glycerin. The honey/glycerin are what help preserve the juice. It is good in the fridge for 1-2 years.
We added other herbs to our elderberry recipe: ginger, eleuthero, and osha roots. All of these are also healing herbs for sickness. Oh, and did I find another new love...Osha! This herb I had never heard of before that day. That is some potent stuff. Perhaps another blog post to come...
Elderberry juice can be used daily as a preventative tincture or as a medicine for sickness. Our fridge is stocked for this cold and flu season. We have syrup with honey for us and syrup with glycerin for baby, since she is too young to be eating honey. Not to mention that this stuff tastes excellent. Other than taking it as a cold syrup, you can put it on ice cream or on your waffles for breakfast, seriously. Yum. I'd drink it all in one day if I could.
Here's to a Winter season of health and prosperity for the whole family.