Elderberry Syrup: 1st Line of Defense

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Being miserable with a cold or the flu is rough but watching your child suffer is even harder to handle. So, what can you do to bring on quick relief that is natural and will shorten the duration of these miserable maladies? The answer is Elderberry Syrup. You can purchase this product from almost any pharmacy, even Wal-Mart, or from your favorite health food store. And the kids will love it.

Elderberry syrup is made from Black Elderberries (Sambucus nigra).  A simple syrup made from fresh or dried elderberries, water, raw honey, and cloves works quite well, and there are several recipes found online.  My grandmother always included me in her routine of making elderberry syrup every fall.  And, it is wonderful on pancakes and ice cream. As good as it is you would never know that it had such powerful medicinal qualities in it. We never fussed if we had colds and had to have some medicine.

Photo: Flickr/Steven Lilley

According to the blog, Wellness Mama, “Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover.”


Photo: Flickr/Susie Morris

Elderberries are easy to grow. In fact, they are almost invasive once they get started. The flowers are white, growing in umbrella type clusters that are quite edible. The clusters of berries are very dark, about the size of a small pea, and have a sweet earthy taste after being cooked. Raw, they are not very tasty. In fact. they are rather sour. Constituents, that can be toxic to some people, from these berries are destroyed when they are cooked. Not everyone experiences problems, but, as always, know how your body reacts to plants.

Photo: Flickr/Kerry Wixted

A word of caution: make sure you know what Elderberry bushes look like. Do not confuse them with large Poke plants that have purple berries similar in appearance.

As always, be sure to consult your physician before using any natural remedies or before changing your healthcare regimen, especially if have allergies, are currently experiencing health problems, or are taking any medication.