Of all the natural cold and flu remedies, elderberry stands out as being one of the most effective and safest herbal medicines. It has a variety of benefits from being a potent anti-viral to having significant antioxidant qualities. It can be easily supplemented as a syrup or tincture, or it can be used to add immune-boosting properties to a variety of recipes.
Elderberry is proven to fight viruses and shorten the length of illnesses such as the flu without any of the negative side effects that may result from non-natural medicines. In a randomized and placebo-controlled study of the efficacy of elderberry to treat Influenza, researchers found that,
“Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016
There was another study done during an outbreak of Influenza in Panama, where some people were given elderberry extract (called Sambucol or SAM) and others were given a placebo. After the study, researchers discovered that,
“A significant improvement of the symptoms, including fever, was seen in 93.3% of the cases in the SAM-treated group within 2 days, whereas in the control group 91.7% of the patients showed an improvement within 6 days. A complete cure was achieved within 2 to 3 days in nearly 90% of the SAM-treated group and within at least 6 days in the placebo group.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9395631
Elderberries also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits due to their high levels of anthocyanin, which is the compound that gives the berries their dark color! These benefits combined with elderberry’s natural anti-viral properties make this natural remedy an ideal solution to not only fight viruses, but also to help boost your body’s own natural healing response.
Elderberry extract is very easy to find in tincture, syrup, or even gummy form at health food stores like Lori’s, but it’s also incredibly easy and inexpensive to make yourself!
All you need is:
1 cup of dried elderberries
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
and 1 tsp grated orange rind
1 cup raw honey
Bring all of your ingredients to a slow boil in about 3 cups of water for 30 minutes. Then strain the liquid with a fine-mesh strainer or a cheesecloth (a cheesecloth is easiest because you can squeeze out every last drop of liquid.) Then add about a cup of honey and stir until it’s mixed together. Store it in your fridge and take a tablespoon every day to boost your immune system and fight viruses! Try adding a spoonful to your tea or drizzle it over pancakes for a delicious and immune-boosting treat!
Another way to utilize the health benefits of elderberry is to make my favorite hydrating health drink, which I call Elderberry Health-Aid.
One of the most important things to do when you’re not feeling well is to stay hydrated, not just with water, but with a proper balance of electrolytes too. I created this drink because I wanted a yummy beverage that refueled my electrolytes but that wasn’t full of the synthetic dyes and other chemicals found in your typical sports drink. This drink not only balances your electrolytes, but it also is infused with the anti-viral and immune system boosting powers of ginger, cinnamon, and elderberry. No cold has a chance against this stuff!
For this recipe you’ll need:
1/3 c dried elderberries
A 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated or 1/2 tablespoon of dried ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 c raw honey or 1/4 organic, raw sugar
3-4 organic lemons
1tsp sea salt
Trace Minerals Concentrace Mineral Drops (optional)
The first thing you want to do is make a strong tea from about 1/3 cup of dried elderberries, a good chunk of peeled and grated fresh ginger (about a three-inch-long piece) or 1/2 tablespoon of dried ginger, and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Simmer all of these ingredients in about 3 cups of water for 20-30 minutes. Then strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Return the liquid to the pot and add 1/3 cup of honey or 1/4 cup of organic, raw sugar and stir until completely dissolved.* Then, add the juice of 3-4 lemons (I squeeze them over the strainer to avoid seeds), a teaspoon of sea salt, and about 30 drops of Trace Minerals Concentrace Mineral Drops and stir until dissolved. Finally, pour your health-aid concentrate into a container and add about a liter of water. Shake. Chill. Enjoy!
*Don’t fear sugar with this recipe! Glucose is a critical component of allowing sodium to enter your cells and keep you properly hydrated! That’s why gatorade and pedialite contain dextrose. For this drink, we are using a healthier form of glucose like honey or organic sugar. If you have a sensitivity to sugar, you can reduce the amount in the recipe, but having some glucose along with the mineral salts is important for proper hydration, especially if you’re sick
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