The healing benefits of elderberries were new news to me as of 2018. My crunchy circle of friends had been talking about it as an effective cold and flu remedy, but I'd never heard of it. So I did some digging.
Turn out, there's actually (a lot of) science behind it!
Here's just some of what I found in a quick internet search:
A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods "confirmed that elderberry exerts its antiviral activity on influenza through a number of mechanisms of action, including suppressing the entry of the virus into cell, modulating the post-infectious phase, and preventing viral transmission to other cells."
And a study in the journal Phytochemistry "showed elderberry to be effective against 10 strains of influenza virus." According to Maxwell Crispo, ND, and Michael Traub, ND, DHANP, FABNO's article in The Natural Medicine Journal, "this same study compared its effectiveness favorably to the known anti-influenza activities of Tamiflu."
But if you get an elderberry syrup dropper bottle at the natural foods store, it's going to cost you around $12. And you don't get much.
So, I, being the cheapskate... I mean, clever cook... that I am, found out that A 1 lb bag of dried elderberries, however, costs around $20-25 and makes lots of syrup. So I found a recipe for a homemade version from Wellness Mama. It's a good one, and I haven't strayed from it much, but I do have my own version, and it is below.
To make this syrup, you're obviously going to need elderberries. Easy! Organic dried elderberries are available on Amazon, and even with Prime delivery. So if you've come across this blog post because you're feeling sick right now, you still have time to buy a bag, make this, and get the benefits.
I also wanted to mention that at the time of this post, we're still in the middle of COVID so I did double check to make sure you can get them on Amazon right now... and you can!
1/3 Cup dried organic elderberries
1 3/4 Cup water
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 Tsp whole cloves
1 Cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon), optional
1 Cup molasses or pure maple syrup
Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge. It'll last up to several months if stored this way.
According to the Wellness Mama recipe, "the standard dose is ½ - 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ - 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear."