Elderberries – A tasty way to fight viruses
Posted by anke under General
Ripe elderberries (Sambucus) in Rochester, Min…
After the recent spade of sickness in our house I have decided it is time to stock up on disease fighting remedies. Surely I am not the only one who always leaves things to the last minute and then finds that the very thing they need takes 6 weeks to make?
Traditional and scientific research indicate that elderberries promote disease resistance and that they also have the ability to prevent and even treat a virus. Elderberries have been used for centuries in the treatment of colds, viral infections and upper respiratory conditions including asthma. These little powerhouses are said to build the blood, cleanse the system, ease constipation, enhance the immune system function, fight inflammation, increase perspiration, lower fever, soothe the respiratory tract, and stimulate circulation – oh and they are a powerful antioxidant! Did I mention they taste great too? In the old days a syrup or a hot cup of elderberry wine would be often be prescribed before bed to ward off cold and flu related symptoms.
I popped over to The Medicine Woman’s Roots for her Elderberry Elixir recipe. I took Kiva’s suggestion and added some rosehip as well plus 1/2 a cinnamon stick. As this recipe takes a good month (and more) to mature I have also put some elderberries to soak for an Elderberry Syrup. I understand Kiva’s preference for the elixir but when compared to the elixir the syrup is much faster to prepare and contains no alcohol – which of course is a bonus when treating small children. While the elixir is soaking I can fall back on the syrup in the meantime. It may not be as powerful but it does still possess a lot of the virus fighting benefits.
2 cups dried elderberries
1 litre of boiling water
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 lemon juice
Put the elderberries in a non reactive saucepan, add boiling water – cover and leave to soak overnight. The next day simmer berries for 30 minutes, cool a little then blend. Once blended add honey and lemon juice. Cool, then pour into a clean bottle. Store in the fridge. NOTE: I havent decided if I am going to blend all the berries or whether I will strain the pulp out as I have seen in a few other recipes. I might do one of each and see if there is any added benefit from keeping the pulp. Will keep you updated on results down the track.
As with the elixir I chose to add a small handful of rosehips as well. We love the taste and it is high in Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C & K – helpful in the treatment of colds and infection.
Updated to add: If you are going to add dried rosehips like I did do add some extra water or else you will end up with slush in the morning as all the dried plant material has soaked up the water and there is nothing left to simmer.
SIMPLE ELDERBERRY TINCTURE RECIPE
Clean Quart Jar add 1/4 pound dried elderberries (Must be Sambucus nigra)
Now fill to top with vodka. Put lid on tight.
Store in a dark cupboard and shake once every few days.
Label and date your jar.
Let it sit for at least 30 days before you strain it.
You can use it without straining it too and it will just continue to get stronger.
Preventative – Adult – 1 teaspoon in water once a day
Children scale back by weight.
From LoveToKnow Herbs
Elderberry tincture has long been known as the ‘poor man’s medicine chest’ for its usefulness, but especially its efficacy in treating cold and flu symptoms. Long used throughout Europe and the Americas, elderberry has a long and respected history as an herbal remedy. Both Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates mentioned and recommended elderberry as a medicinal herb in their writings.
Research indicates Elderberry fights the flu.
The Poor Man’s Cure
Elderberry(Sambuca nigra) grows throughout Europe, North America, parts of Asia and Africa. Other names for elderberry include elder, black elder, elder flower and sambucas. The berries and flowers of this tree are used to make herbal medicine as well as flavors to enhance beverages. The berries taken straight from the tree are poisonous, but when properly cooked, are safe to eat. You may even come across recipes for elderberry pie in older cookbooks as many housewives made special pies after properly preparing the berries.
The plant parts must be prepared properly to eliminate potentially poisonous toxins, but elderberry purchased through a reliable supplement or herbal products manufacturer should be fine for most people to take. Unless you have a known allergy to elderberry, simply consult your doctor to ensure no potential drug interactions or other negative impacts on your health before using elderberry tincture. The only known potential side effect of elderberry is that it acts as a diuretic, so if you are taking diuretics or have bladder or kidney problems, discuss using elderberry with your physician before taking this herbal remedy.
Uses of Elderberry
Elderberry has a very long history in herbal medicine as a cure for colds, coughs and flus. Elderberry tincture, capsules or dried powdered are often taken along with several other herbs when a cold or flu threatens. According to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, the European elder is most commonly used for supplements. It’s also the elderberry tincture most frequently studied for its effect on cold and flu viruses.
The most common uses for elderberry tincture include treatment for:
* Common cold
* Influenza (flu)
* Sinus infections
Scientific Research on Elderberry
Promising scientific research has begun on the use of elderberry tincture to shorten the duration and severity of colds and flus, but no reliable conclusions may be drawn from the preliminary studies.
According to Prevention Magazine, elderberry “fights (flu) virus and speeds recovery.” Scientists from Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem conducted a study in which 60 men and women who were suffering with the flu took either elderberry tincture or a placebo. Those who took the elderberry got better faster, on average about twice as fast as those who received the placebo. They also used fewer pain medications such as aspirin and other medications to control flu symptoms.
Another study conducted in Oslo, Norway, showed similar results. In this study, those who received the elderberry recovered more than twice as fast as those who did not receive elderberry, on average three days as compared to seven days for the placebo group.
Combining Elderberry Tincture With Other Herbs To Combat Flu
Two studies are too small a research pool for serious scientists to draw conclusions and make recommendations. The results, however, neatly back up many centuries of folkloric use of this wonderful herb.
If you choose to use elderberry tincture to combat a cold or flu, you may wish to combine it with other healing herbs useful to boost the immune system. Echinacea and goldenseal, for example, are recommended for infections, particularly upper respiratory infections. Other herbs may be comforting herbal teas, such as chamomile, and herbal remedies for bronchitis. Whatever natural remedies you choose, be sure to see your doctor for advice and especially if symptoms persist for several days.