Here we are headed right for cold and flu season, so I thought it would be appropriate to talk about one of the natural remedies I keep on hand for this season, elderberry syrup.
Elderberry syrup has been revered for it’s healing properties since Ancient Egypt but is most known as the “medicine chest” of Hippocrates.
Elderberry (Also known as Elder) is a plant that has white clustering flowers followed by black, blue-black, or red berries most commonly found in temperate and subtropical locations around the world and has been used as an ornamental plant that attracts butterflies and bees. You might also see this plant listed by its scientific name, Sambucus. The ripe, cooked berries are edible and are a rich source of vitamins A, C, B-6, and iron. The syrup and tea offer anti-inflammatory benefits, loads of antioxidants, anthocyanins, is a diuretic, a natural laxative, and calms allergies. The raw berries and other parts of the plant are poisonous, containing cyanidin glycosides. (So don’t eat them right off the bush!)
We use elderberry syrup at the first sign of a cold or flu to reduce symptoms and to support the body in fighting off the virus more quickly. We also sometimes use it as a preventative, as we hear things are “going around”, we’ll begin to take 1 or 2 tablespoons of the syrup a day during the winter months.
Elderberry is available in a wide variety of formulations! You can find it as a wine, an herbal tea, syrup, and it’s in ointments, infusions, sprays, and lozenges. I prefer the liquid syrup, as it’s concentrated and in a natural form. I believe the closer we get to nature, the easier our body can recognize and use it. You can find quality brands over the counter like Gaia, or you can learn to make your own!