I remember my grandmother making chicken noodle soup and giving me ginger ale after getting sick as a kid. I rarely took any medicine and the crazy thing is… it worked! You now hear “Get your flu shot. Did you get your shot yet? You should get your vaccine here.”
Flu vaccines are used as a yearly preventative from getting the influenza virus. Getting the vaccination doesn’t ensure that you won’t get sick either. I’ve heard of people still getting just as sick as they would if they didn’t get the shot at all unfortunately. I’m not saying don’t get a flu shot nor am I saying you should hurry and get one. There are ways to help keep your immune system up to par. One way is taking elderberry syrup. Although elderberries have been used for a very long time to provide an immune system booster, they shouldn’t be used as an alternative to seeking a medical professional’s help.
What's so special about elderberries anyway? For starters, they look a little like blueberries and are rich in polyphenols like blueberries too. Polyphenols act as antioxidants which are molecules that stabilize free radicals from causing harm to your body. An example of harm would be free radicals outnumbering antioxidants which could cause you to catch a common cold. You can find elderberry syrup online, a farmer's market or sometimes a store that sells natural products. Let’s talk about making your own elderberry syrup now. It's easy to make once you find everything you need. Here’s what you’ll need according to how I make it:
4 Cups of Water (Filtered)
½ Cup of Dried Elderberries
1 Cinnamon Stick
10 Cloves (Whole)
1 tbs Dried Ginger or ½” Piece Of Fresh Ginger
¼ to 1/3 Cup Raw Honey
½ lemon – Juice Squeezed (Optional)
Airtight Container or Mason Jar
1. Combine all ingredients except the honey and lemon juice in a saucepan then bring the mixture to a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.
2. Carefully strain the mixture and set the liquid aside to cool off. Be careful not to burn yourself or someone else! The leftover berries and such can be tossed away.
3. Once the liquid has cooled down, add the honey and mix it well. Again, the lemon juice is optional.
Note: The amount of honey you add is based on how sweet you want it to be.
The elderberry syrup must be refrigerated and should be kept no longer than a month and a half. It’s also thin and not thick like traditional cough syrup. I give my toddler ½ tsp and my 9-year-old gets 1 tsp in the morning and again around dinner time. If they’re sick, their serving is doubled until they feel better. To change things up, I sometimes mix their serving amount in a cup when I make fruit/veggie smoothies to go with dinner. Give it a try!