Good Morning everyone! As we are bogged down by the arctic freeze that has hit the East Coast, I know that some of you may already be suffering through the flu or a cold. I have to tell you – I hate being sick! Since I have asthma, any cold I get goes right into my lungs and can set me back for weeks, if not months, if not treated right away.
When I started working as a nurse in a pediatrician’s office (in December, of course!) the other nurses told me that I would most likely get strep right away because pediatric germs are very different from adult germs. So even if you’re generally healthy and don’t get sick that often, you usually catch something when you first start working with kids (beware all of you first-time teachers out there!!). I had never had strep in my life so I wasn’t too worried about catching it. And I was right! I didn’t get strep – I got pneumonia instead! It took just 3 days for me to wind up in the emergency room with pneumonia from the time I started with a cough and fever while at work, and it took me a month of recovering before I could return to work!
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This is why I am very proactive when it comes to staying healthy and avoiding the germs that are passed around during cold and flu season. Nobody wants to miss work or school because they’re sick – it’s not like you get to enjoy those stay-at-home days when you feel miserable. I know I’d rather save those sick days to actually enjoy them when the weather is warmer.
I think that I got my love of homeopathic medicine from my mother.
She has used vitamins and supplements for most of my life and it’s just become part of the normal every day to me. I will admit that I rebelled against vitamins and didn’t take any for several years during my twenties, but after my bout with pneumonia I switched back to being on the offensive. I take a daily vitamin and use Mucinex and my inhalers if I start with any kind of cough, wheeze, or tightness in my chest. I also use Cold Eze and Airborne regularly to prevent and shorten anything that’s currently floating around either at work or in my circle of friends and family.
I am very proud to say that it was my mother who introduced me to elderberry syrup just in the past year or two. She told me she had read that elderberry syrup can help to ease the symptoms of a cold and shorten how long you’re sick, and that it could also help to keep from getting sick if you took it every day as a preventative step. She quickly bought the ingredients and made a batch and passed it along to the family.
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Benefits of Elderberry Syrup
Now I’ll be honest – even though I use these things, I’m still always skeptical of new treatments until I can find out more about them and try them myself. Due to my medical background of being a nurse for more than 20 years now, I’m also very picky where I get my information so I don’t just believe any random site that puts an article out about a topic.
During my research, I found a study conducted by NIH (National Institute of Health) that occurred in 1999-2000 where they gave 60 patients either elderberry syrup or a placebo (a fake treatment) 4 times a day for 5 days. They found that people who took the elderberry syrup got better and had relief from symptoms 4 days faster than those who received the placebo. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Pubmed.gov, posted 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40, date accessed: 1/8/2017] This was enough to convince me that it was worth trying elderberry syrup, especially during the winter when cold and flu season is usually running rampant.
Elderberry syrups, tonics, and gummies are known to boost your immune system, relieve congestion, soothe a sore throat, calm a cough, and fight allergies. It can also act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-influenza treatment. It contains vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C and will provide relief of symptoms and discomfort during an illness and speed your recovery up. And if taken every day prior to becoming sick, it can even help you to avoid becoming ill in the first place.
Cost Comparison for Making Your Own
Now, I know that some of you might say that you don’t have the time to make your own elderberry syrup. Thankfully, they sell it pre-made online and in health food stores. Unfortunately, you’re going to pay for that convenience as it is pretty expensive to buy pre-made. The average cost I found for buying elderberry syrup and gummies online was between $15 – $25 a bottle for 2 oz to 8 oz when I looked at Amazon.
By making your own elderberry syrup or gummies you will be able to spend just a fraction of that cost for a larger batch so for those who are looking to save some money, I’m going to give you the recipes for making elderberry syrup and elderberry gummies. After all, we know how tough it can be to get the kids to drink a syrup when they think it’s medicine! Gummies are just more fun to take!
Recipes for Elderberry Syrup and Gummies
Making Elderberry Syrup-
Makes: 2 cups
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup dried black elderberries (do not use red berries)
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp fresh or dried ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or two cinnamon sticks)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup raw honey**
- Combine elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and water in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for 30-45 minutes (should reduce to half).
- Pour mixture through a strainer into a bowl and discard berries.
- Allow liquid to cool to lukewarm.
- Add the honey and mix well.
- Store in a mason jar or 16 oz jar in the refrigerator.
Elderberry syrup will last 2 weeks in the refrigerator. You can also freeze elderberry syrup in an ice cube tray and defrost the amount you wish to use as you need it.
Take 1/2 to 1 tsp a day during cold and flu season (1/2 tsp for smaller children). If you are sick, you can take 1 tsp every hour (1/2 tsp for smaller children).
**As a sugar substitute, you can use maple syrup or agave nectar in place of the honey**
Making Elderberry Gummies-
- 1 cup elderberry syrup (cooled)
- 1/2 cup hot water (not boiling)
- 1/4 cup gelatin powder
- cooking spray or coconut oil for molds
- Spray or grease molds with cooking spray or coconut oil.
- Mix elderberry syrup and gelatin powder thoroughly in a small bowl.
- Pour hot water over mixture and whisk together.
- Pour mixture into silicone mold or mini muffin tray**.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until firm.
- Pop gummies out of molds and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Elderberry gummies will last about a week in the refrigerator. Take 1 gummy a day for prevention. If sick, take 1 gummy every hour.
**You can use candy molds for the gummies. This will make it even more fun for the kids to take these gummies if you choose molds that are fun shapes.**
I hope you are excited to start using elderberry syrup or gummies to keep your family healthy this winter! Do you have tips and tricks for elderberry syrup? I’d love to hear them so comment below. Pleas share this post so everyone can enjoy the benefits of this wonderful homeopathic treatment!
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