When I’m feeling under the weather, one of the first remedies I turn to is elderberry syrup, and making your own elderberry syrup turns out to be both simple and easy.
According to Rodale’s 21st Century Herbal, elderberry has been called the “medicine chest of the people” because of its many therapeutic uses, and Andrew Chevallier’s Herbal Remedies describes elder as “nature’s cure-all.” It is most widely known as a folk remedy for relieving the symptoms and duration of colds and the flu. It can also apparently be taken to boost immunity, improve resistance to infection, and reduce a tendency towards recurring colds, sore throats, and coughs. According to Kathi Keville’s Herbs for Health and Healing, elderberries even improve circulation, eyesight, and connective muscle tissues.
After years of buying elderberry syrup in the store, which can be expensive, this year I finally decided to make my own. I used the recipe in Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. All you need to do is is boil fresh or dried elderberries and water, simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, smash the berries (which I did with a potato masher), strain the mixture, and add honey. I used dried elderberries, which I ordered through Mountain Rose Herbs. Gladstar recommends using a half cup of dried elderberries to three cups of water, and one cup of honey. This recipe makes a sweet and delicious syrup, and since I made it I’ve been drinking one spoonful in the morning and one at night. It can also be used as a breakfast syrup!
Balick, Michael J. Rodale’s 21st Century Herbal. New York, Rodale, 2014.
Chevallier, Andrew. Herbal Remedies. New York: Metro Books, 2007.
Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. North Adams: Storey Publishing, 2008.
Keville. Kathi. Herbs for Health and Healing. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1996.