Flu Season Rx: Make Your Own Elderberry Syrup

This is certainly not a post I ever thought I would be writing, and making elderberry syrup is definitely not something I ever thought I’d be doing. But, here’s what I DO know: having an entire family come down with the flu at the same time TWICE (while seven months pregnant) is something I never want to experience again.

Enter elderberries. 

They aren’t new; in fact, they are considered ancient medicine, and they are now all the rage. When I’d previously heard about elderberries, I just shrugged them off. Then, all of a sudden, I kept hearing and seeing more and more about them and decided to do a bit of research. As it turns out, elderberries are among the most antiviral fruits that exist. Studies have proven their effectiveness at curtailing flu symptoms. They are jam-packed with nutrients such as iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, B, and C, as well as protein and fiber. They contain organic compounds that are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. They can help with digestion, heart and respiratory health, bone health, and the clincher — they BOOST IMMUNITY. You can read more about them here, here, or here

After watching a few videos depicting the ease of making your own elderberry syrup, I decided to give it a go. 

Why not buy it in the store? First of all, it is insanely simple to make. (Seriously, if I can do it, you definitely can!)  Second, it is much more cost effective. (Depending where you purchase your ingredients, it can be about a third the cost!) Third, it is healthier. No additives, extra sugar, etc. and you can modify it to suit your family’s needs. 

I gathered a list of ingredients from various resources and created the recipe below. Each ingredient touts myriad health benefits, most of them emphasizing anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and immune boosting properties. There is a reason health experts stress the importance of fueling your body with healthy foods! A tiny piece of my dad’s food scientist expertise worked its way through me as I found myself fascinated by learning the benefits of each of these ingredients beyond just saying “it’s good for you.”

How to Make Your Own Elderberry Syrup

Ingredients:

(Ingredients can be found at any health food store or less expensively through co-ops such as Frontier, Mountain Rose Herbs, or Bulk Herb Store.)

Directions:

Step 1: Soak the elderberries in distilled water for about 30-60 minutes until they are soft. 

Step 2: Add all of the ingredients, except honey, in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer (NO LID) until the liquid cooks down to about half (approximately 45 minutes). 

Step 3: Strain the liquid. (Don’t forget to put a bowl under the strainer to catch your syrup!!!)

Step 4: Pour honey into a jar. (Note: omit the honey for children under 1.) Add the liquid and mix it up. Once cooled, refrigerate for up to six months. 

All in all, I’m glad I tried this experiment. If making this super-easy elderberry syrup with myriad immune boosting health benefits keeps our family from getting the dang flu all at the same time again, call me a believer. If it doesn’t, no harm no foul. Can’t wait to hear how yours turns out! 

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