Thursday, January 31, 2013

Immune Support with Elderberries!

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I recently read some interesting information about elderberries.    The black elderberry has been used medicinally for hundreds of years.  

The berries are used for their antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis.  The ingredient of focus is the anthocyanins, which are potent purple pigments (say that three times fast!).  They have more antioxidant capability than vitamins C or E.

I actually stumbled upon this information when I found someone flavoring kombucha with the berries.  It peaked my interest, and I read some more about it.  That led to finding a recipe for elderberry syrup that you could easily make.  I thought would be good to have on hand during winter. It is supposed to help shorten flus and colds and even can be taken proactively, a little each day, to help boost the immune system. 

I actually can't recall the last time anyone in our family had the flu (I know Rich and I have not had it since before I was pregnant with Emma and that was 20 years ago).  However, since the flu has reached epidemic proportions this winter, and so many are getting hit, I want to do everything I can to help my family's immune systems fight and to have something to use in case we do get it, to shorten the duration.  While I believe a strong diet, exercise, and a little sunshine are of foremost importance, I figured a boost can't hurt!

So, I made some elderberry syrup.  It couldn't have been easier.  I started with dried organic elderberries which I simmered in water.  I smashed them a bit, and then strained out the berries.  I stirred in organic raw honey to some of this "juice" to thicken it to a syrup (and help it taste better).  The honey will act as a natural preservative, and the syrup will last 2-3 months in the fridge.  I had some extra elderberry "juice" left that I decided to leave plain and have been adding some to our morning smoothies (see my recipe below). 
 
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 the juice and the honey

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labeled jars, ready for the fridge

Here's the recipe I used for the elderberry syrup.  
I found my dried elderberries here.

"Morning Boost" smoothie
 (you will need a high powered blender for this)

1 cup milk (raw whole milk preferred; or use a non-dairy choice like fresh almond milk, or diluted canned full fat coconut milk)

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, or two peeled seedless oranges

1 large frozen banana 

A good handful of frozen berries (I love Costco's frozen organic antioxidant blend -a wonderful mix of strawberries, pomegranate  seeds, raspberries, cherries and blueberries)

A few chunks of frozen pineapple 

A couple generous handfuls of fresh spinach or kale

A handful of ice

2-3 Tbsp. elderberry "juice" (not the syrup)


Blend on high for about 30 seconds. 

Serves 2-3 

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6 comments:

Pur et Simple said...

We have used elderberry syrup for years. It is especially helpful for coughs! (No more Robitussen)
I am amazed at God's creation of plants and all their many, many uses.
Plant extracts can be very powerful. These are the dosage amounts my naturopath has given me for elderberry syrup.
- up to 20 lbs. 1/8 tsp.
- under 2 1-2 dropperfuls 2-3 x/day
- age 3-12 - 1 tsp. every 6 hours
- 13+ - 2 tsp. every 4 hours.
*The dropper is from a 2 oz amber bottle.
I think with elderberry - a little goes a long way!
Thank you so much for the recipe resource.

the e-wife, Karen said...

Thanks, Carol. That will be helpful. I think the "juice" I made is less potent than an extract. I read 1 Tbsp. daily for prevention and a tsp. every 2-3 hours when sick.

Pur et Simple said...

Something else to remember is that the red elderberries are poisonous.

You could grow the right variety in your new wonderful garden! Maybe one side of your perimeter is a medicinal garden. you could grow Echinacea, yarrow and comfrey too. :-)

Pur et Simple said...

Something else to remember is that the red elderberries are poisonous.

You could grow the right variety in your new wonderful garden! Maybe one side of your perimeter is a medicinal garden. you could grow Echinacea, yarrow and comfrey too. :-)

That Girl said...

Where do you get your eldeberries? This sounds like a wonderful idea! (says me as I sit here with a box of kleenex and my nose that thinks it's a marathon day..)

the e-wife, Karen said...

That Girl, there is a link on the post right before the recipe. :-)