Mary Poppins knew what she was talking about when she sang “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”
While I try to stay away from refined sugar I do agree that a spoonful of honey makes the medicine go down...especially when trying to get wiggly toddlers to comply. Not only is this easy elderberry syrup recipe helpful for colds and flus, it also tastes delicious.
The dark blue or purple berries on the elder tree contain antiviral properties that can help fight off and reduce the duration of a cold or the flu. Sambucol, a compound found in elderberries, is one of the only compounds known to kill influenza.
As an immunostimulating herb, the berry helps the body resist infection by stimulating the immune system. This category of herbs works quickly and fades fast.
Don’t forget about the creamy white flowers. The flowers are diaphoretic, which means it helps the body break a sweat. This is key during a cold or flu because sweat is one of the ways the body eliminates pathogens. It’s also useful for upper respiratory sinus infections and hay-fevers.
The elder tree is also a majestic & significant plant in the folklore of old Western Europe where it served as the doorway to the Underworld or magical fairy realm. It was referred to as Queen of the Elders. It’s said that if you fall asleep under the fragrant tree in full bloom you will be transported to the realm of the fairies.
MAKE IT NOW
September is a great time to whip up a batch of elderberry syrup. This way you’ll have it ready to grab when your kid comes home from school with a runny nose. So have some ready to go BEFORE cold and flu season ramps up.
HOW TO WORK WITH ELDERBERRY SYRUP
The key to preventing or shortening a cold or flu is to work with elderberry at the first sign of a cold brewin’. When the lymph in your throat starts to swell, your feeling achy, super fatigued or have a runny nose. This is the time for elderberry syrup plus some rest.
HOW MUCH TO TAKE
Take 1 tbsp every few hours at the first sign of a cold, until symptoms subside. For children, you can give 1 tsp every few hours. If you want to stimulate your immune system so you don’t catch what’s going around you can take 1 tsp daily as preventative medicine. It’s also delicious on pancakes or swirled into yogurt!
*Since this recipe uses honey it’s not safe for children under one.