We recently avoided a cold that got a lot of our friends. Some of them lovingly called it “the plague”. We are not always so lucky, but one trick that definitely works really well for our family is to take a teaspoon of elderberry syrup a few times a day until we feel well again. This syrup is readily available at Whole Foods for about $20 per bottle. This is worth the investment if it keeps you from being miserably sick, but the homemade version is very, very much cheaper and not to hard to make. There are some extras in paranthesis if you want to make it a little fancy, but plain elderberry, honey, and water will work just fine.
2 tbsp dried elderberries
(a small cinnamon stick broken up)
(some chopped fresh ginger)
(some dried echinacea root-don’t use this if you’re pregnant. Contraindicated.)
filtered or distilled water
1/4 cup raw, local honey
Put elderberries and anything else you’re decocting in a small sauce pan. Cover with water (start with 2 cups). Bring to a boil, then continue to boil gently over medium or medium-low heat (depending on how closely you are able to watch it). Use a potato masher or something to mush up the berries and let more of their elderberry goodness out into the water.
Once it is reduced down to slightly more than 1/2 cup, pour through a tea strainer into a pitcher (I use my 2-cup pyrex glass measuring pitcher, but use whatever’s handy). Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so. It needs to still be warm enough to dissolve the honey, but not so hot as to destroy enzymes and other beneficial properties of the raw honey. Stir to combine well, then funnel into whatever container is easiest for you. I like those cute little medicine bottles because they pour nicely, but those can be hard to come by. Spice jars are fine, or just a mason jar.
Take a teaspoon at a time 3-4 times per day when you start to feel sick, after you’ve been sick for a while, or when you’ve been sneezed on by sick people a lot.
I wish you good health as we head into winter!