Elderberry Syrup

Elder (Sambucus nigra, S. canadensis) has been used by many cultures for thousands of years for food and medicine. It belongs to the genus of flowering plants in the Adoxaceae family. In herbalism, both the flowers and the berries are used for medicine, however today, I will be focusing on the berries.

The berries from this shrub are rich in anthocyanins which is what gives them the rich purple blue color and have been used in history as a natural dye.

Before we dive into some of the most common medicinal values of the berries, I'd like to throw out a word of caution. Although the cooked berries of the Sambucus species is edible, the uncooked, raw berries, twigs, seeds, and leaves contain cyanogenic glycosides which are said to have toxic properties that can cause gastrointestinal upsets. 

Elderberries are amazing for protecting and stimulating the immune system. They are high in nutrients, may improve the symptoms of colds and flu, strengthen the cell walls, and are extremely high in antioxidants. Elderberry is often referred to as "the medicine chest for the country people" and has long been used in the 4th century B.C.E by Hippocrates, who recommended Elderberry for an array of complaints.

Elderberries by themselves already pack a punch when it comes to immune health, however adding other immune boosting herbs and spices to the elderberry syrup can take this to another level. This specific recipe is one that is simple to make, and most ingredients can be found in your spice rack, minus the elderberries which I like to buy from Mountain Rose Herbs, or Bulk Herb Store.

Feel free to experiment with ingredients, I kept this recipe pretty simple for those just starting out, however I also love adding ingredients like rose hips, astragalus root, goji berries, or echinacea root to mine as well. 

💜Here's a simple recipe for Elderberry syrup that is a wonderful starting point.

•3/4 cup dried Elderberries
•1 tablespoon grated ginger or 1 tsp dried
•6-8 Cloves
•2 cinnamon sticks
•1-2 tablespoon Orange Peel
•2-3 star anise
•3 cups water
•Raw Local Honey

Place all ingredients into a pot minus the honey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer for 35-45 min and cover. The next step is to strain into a clean jar or glass measuring cup and add equal amounts of honey. For example, if you end up with 1 cup of Elderberry syrup, add 1 cup of honey. If you'd prefer a less sweet syrup, add less.

Label your jar with date, ect and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Because this recipe doesn't contain alcohol, the shelf like is more limited. Take one tablespoon every day to help keep your immune system running in tip-top shape, or twice a day when actively sick. Children over the age of one can take one teaspoon daily. This is not recommended for children under one.  Feel free to compost the plant material or make a tincture out of it, which is what I usually do. 

You can also use this syrup on your pancakes, ice cream, or in sparkling water!

I hope this recipe is helpful and you truly enjoy creating this beautiful medicine for you and your family! Please leave me a comment if you have questions or comments.

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