The word is out. Elderberry Syrup can help protect you this flu season.
With back to school behind us, the cold and flu season is underway. While health officials urge us to get the flu shot, wash our hands, and stay home if we have a fever, there is another remedy you can add to your medicine cabinet: Elderberry Syrup.
If I had to choose only one herb to take at the onset of illness, it would be elderberry.
Elderberry syrup has been used for generations, and the latest research supports its use for the cold and flu. One of the ways scientists believe elderberry fights viruses is by stopping the virus from replicating. Studies have shown that compounds in elderberry can coat the exterior of a virus, rendering it non-functional and unable to penetrate our body’s cells. This stops viral replication and shortens the course of the illness. Elderberry is also high in antioxidants and other chemicals that help our immune system fight an illness.
Clinical studies have shown that when taken at the onset of flu symptoms, elderberry syrup decreased the average length of illness by 4 days and decreased the severity of reported symptoms (1). Read a summary of the research done on elderderberries here.
The key to using elderberry syrup successfully to stop a cold or flu in its tracks is “early and often”. Herbalists will often recommend taking 1 teaspoon of elderberry syrup every waking hour for several days. Most of the clinical studies used 1 tablespoon of elderberry syrup 4 times per day.
Elderberry syrup, tincture, tea, dried berries, and extract capsules are all safe for adults and children but do not eat raw elderberries due to cyanide compounds that could be lethal if consumed in significant quantities. And do not give elderberry syrup that contains honey to children under 1 year old.
As flu season progresses, it can be harder to find Elderberry Syrup. Make your own! It’s simple, delicious, and much less expensive than buying off the shelf.
Click here to view and download my top two favorite Elderberry Syrup recipes. One version is a “no-cook” method that involves soaking the elderberries overnight and uses a small amount of alcohol (vodka), and the other recipe is a traditional stove-top cooking method.
My favorite suppliers for dried organic elderberries are: Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herb Store, Pacifica Botanicals, and Frontier Coop.
Once you have made your own, you won’t want to purchase the store-bought version again! Each recipe makes 8 ounces, but you can easily increase the recipe to cover your whole family for the entire cold and flu season. The syrup lasts for 1 year.