I wanted to share with you one of the top home remedies that I keep in my arsenal for the winter time. We take this on a maintenance basis throughout the cold and flu season and step up the dose if we develop any concerning symptoms.
Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) is an herbal remedy/prevention strategy that you will want to have on hand for the cold and flu season! It has been clinically studied to reduce cold duration and symptoms and is generally considered safe for the whole family. Prior to taking elderberry, you should consult your practitioner if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have an auto-immune condition, or are taking certain medications such as diuretics. See this page by the University of Maryland Medical Center for more information.
Many recipes call for mixing elderberry with cinnamon and cloves and adding honey at the end. Commercially available products may contain ingredients such as dairy, carrot, hops, or other potentially reactive ingredients. If you have food sensitivities, this one-ingredient tonic will be a better option for you by providing the active ingredient without the potential of adding other reactive ingredients. Also, I find that adding a few cups of honey to my finished product is cost prohibitive and also increases the volume that I must freeze to preserve our tonic.
Instructions to make 1-Ingredient Elderberry Tonic:
- Add 1 cup of dried organic elderberries and 3 cups (24 fl. oz) of purified water to a stainless steel saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh, stainless steel strainer into a quart glass jar.
- Press on the elderberries with the back of a spoon to extract most of the juice from the berries.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 weeks or freeze in glass canning jars, allowing 1-2 inches of head space per jar.
We don’t mix with honey or any other herbs/spices, but you can do that if you like. Some people boil 1-2 cinnamon sticks and 10 cloves in this recipe to add flavor and the added immune benefits of those spices.
How to use: We take 1 teaspoon of this daily for a maintenance dose during cold and flu season or if traveling, and then increase to 1 teaspoon every 3 hours if we feel symptoms of a cold/flu.
You can mix the tonic in water, juice, or a smoothie, or just take it by itself.
(Please note: This information does not serve as a medical guide! Please consult your primary care practitioner to determine if this tonic would be appropriate for your disease state.)
Do not eat the elderberries themselves! They are toxic uncooked and potentially hazardous even when cooked. Even if you read recipes elsewhere on the internet about using them for baking, etc., I would advise against it.
Here’s to Wholesome! (and a cold and flu-free winter!)
Our Favorite Things (affiliate links):
Frontier Organic Elderberries
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 4-Quart Saucepan with Cover
University of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/elderberry
Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travelers: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutrients 2016;8:E182.