Elderberry Syrup…Our “Flu Shot”

Welcome to Fall!  The time of pumpkins, colored leaves, applesauce, wind, frost and firewood.  Here in Central Minnesota there are so many things to get done in the fall so that we are ready for the winter…that garden emptied and “tucked in” for the winter,  firewood split and stacked and leaves raked.  I also make sure to restock my supplies for making Elderberry Syrup.
We take elderberry syrup throughout the fall and winter as an immune system support to help us naturally fight off winter sick bugs.  It is useful as an immune support for a variety of colds and illnesses but especially for influenza.


I have a list of natural remedies that I keep on hand for acute illnesses  but preventing illness is better still! 

About five years ago I learned about the benefits of elderberry syrup — it is very high in antioxidants, its antiviral properties are effective against many strains of flu (including avian and swine) and it’s also a great general immune system support.

image source

That winter, we mixed a spoonful of elderberry syrup into our daily yogurt.  We had only minor illnesses that winter and no bouts of flu!

The next winter I read some cautions about using elderberry syrup daily and we cut back on our usage greatly.  We struggled with our health more that winter and all came down with the flu.  We did start taking elderberry syrup quickly once we were ill, and it did lessen the symptoms and duration of the illness.

Since then, we have decided to take elderberry syrup quite regularly (five or so days a week).  We take a small dose (1 tsp for kids and 2 tsp for adults, once a day) as a preventative for illness.  If we come down with something resembling influenza, I will increase the dosage to four or more times a day.

This is what we have decided to do for our family.  You must do your own research and consider your health history and make the decision you think is best for your family.

You can buy elderberry syrup from many retailers, but it is very easy and much less expensive to make your own!  Here is the recipe we are using; it is adapted from the ebook, Herbal Nurturing by Michelle Augar and from the new recipe from Modern Alternative Mama.

1/2 cup dried elderberries
1/2 cup dried rose hips (very high in Vitamin C)

2 Tbsp astragalus root (immune supporter and also successful at preventing Lyme disease)
4 cups filtered water
Mix together in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2-3 minutes and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about 20 minutes. Stain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the berries gently to remove more juice.
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
When cool add:

1/2 to 1 cup raw honey

I divide this batch into three pint sized freezer jars.  I put two jars in the freezer and 1 jar in the fridge.

Take 2-3 tsp daily for an adult and 1 tsp daily for a child.

I order all our supplements, vitamins and herbs from Vitacost.  I’ve been very happy with the quality of the products as well as the prices…there are often sales and I always have a big enough order to quality for free shipping.  Delivery is also quite fast.  Use this link for $10 off your first order (new customers only).

Now, I add it to our daily smoothies or put it in our breakfast oatmeal.  It tastes quite pleasant on its own (especially if you use a full cup of raw honey) but it also is undetectable in smoothies  and oatmeal so it is just easier for us to take it this way.

Here’s to a healthier winter!

Disclaimer: Even though I am an RN turned Naturally Minded Mom, this is not to be taken as professional medical advice.  I am just sharing what I learned and what we use for our family.  You are responsible to do your own research and make educated decisions for your family.

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