My mother used to make fresh elderberry juice, and I was lucky enough to love it long before I knew of any health benefits. I remembering visiting during grad school and sneaking in far more than my fair share during a home stay. If you've never had elderberries they taste like intense strong tiny blueberry-ish/cherry-ish/black currant-ish gems. When I moved out west, away from local wild elderberries and my mother's kitchen, I'd buy elderberry syrup and dilute it with water in an attempt to make my own "juice," still unaware of what a nutrient dense powerhouse they are. When I became a mother and our son came down with a stubborn cold at age 2 our doctor recommended elderberry gummies as a simple way to boost his immune system. Elderberry syrup stains everything it touches so some parents are cautious in serving it to young children, yet in a little gummy form he was happy as a clam to eat 1-2 a day (size of the gummy depending) and I had no additional mess to clean up.
Elderberries naturally contain vitamins A, B, and C and researchers found that the complex sugars in elderberries support the immune system in fighting cold and flu. This syrup provides the concentrated immune-supporting benefits of black elderberries in a great-tasting way. Although you can certainly buy pre-made syrup and gummies, making your own is really quiet simple and VERY cost effective. A pound of dried elderberries will run you about $17-22 dollars, and yet from that you can make about five 16 oz batches of elderberry syrup, usually one 8oz bottle of elderberry syrup will run you $11-15 dollars alone, and the store bought gummies, although tasty as ever, cost about $12-18 a jar, when you can make your own with just 1/2 a batch of this syrup and control the quality of the sweetener and gelatin used. For the past 12 years I've lived between 7-8,000 ft where winter's cold season lasts some 7-9 months of the year. I love knowing we can make a batch of syrup in under and hour and have a bit any time we're feeling run down without worrying over the cost or quality.
2/3 cup dried elderberries (organic or pesticide free)
3 1/2 cup water
1 cup raw honey
1-3 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional, I love it, our 3 yr old prefers it without)
Bring the elderberries, water, and ginger, if using, to a boil. Turn down to simmer on medium low for about 45 min until it's concentrated a bit. Mash up the berries into the liquid to release the pulp from the seeds. Strain this mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any seeds. Once it's no longer hot, add in the 1 cup of raw honey. You want to do this off the heat do the benefits of the raw honey remain. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for about a month, although ours never lasts that long. I love to have 1 tbsp mixed with some water as a refreshing boosting drink during the winter. Our son, loves them in gummy form .... recipes for gummies here.
Standard dose is ½ - 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ - 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear. If you have any questions on this though, please first consult your doctor.