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Through the Lens

Fight the Flu with Elderberries!

Fri, January 19, 2018

If you haven’t experienced the wickedness that is year’s go around with the flu, consider yourself very lucky.  I won’t reiterate all the ways to help prevent it that the mainstream news media has been throwing at us left and right, I think we all have a pretty good grasp of the importance of handwashing, covering our sneezes and coughs, and staying away from those who are ill.

Tamiflu is frequently prescribed for those with the flu, and some physicians are even prescribing it as a preventive for others in the household who have yet to contract the flu, but there is a cheaper, easier, and non-pharmaceutical way to also treat the flu, winter ick, colds right under noses – ELDERBERRIES!

Elderberries/Elderberry syrup have been proven to work exceptionally well in the treatment of influenza, in controlled double blind scientific studies. Seems that when our grandmas and grandpas insisted that we have a little bit of elderberry wine or syrup each winter were indeed onto something, and it truly does make a good preventative.

Elderberries naturally contain A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. Researchers found that the complex sugars in elderberries support the immune system in fighting cold and flu. Commercially multiple companies have developed formulas based on these complex sugars that have been clinically shown to help reduce the duration and discomforts of all kinds of winter ick and flu.

Elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract.

While commercial preparations are handy, they can be a little pricey, and with just a little time and effort you can easily make your own elderberry syrup that’s just as effective.

I always make a few batches of the syrup each year when harvesting elderberries for jelly, jam, wine etc.  and, either freeze or dry extra elderberries to use throughout the winter. I personally like to stir a tablespoon or so each day into my juice, hot tea, or even on my pancakes as preventive measure in the winter. Once a case of the ick or the flu hits I up it several times a day.

If you don’t happen to have elderberries in the freezer or any dried ones stored, you can buy any number of commercial preparations as well. If you are lucky enough to have elderberries in the freezer or dried – consider making up a batch!

Dried elderberries can also be purchased at various health food stores or online. Just run a simple search for dried elderberries and you’ll be surprised by the number of shops that offer them in bulk.

Here’s the recipe – Don’t forget late this summer, when elderberries start to ripen – be sure to head out and harvest enough to make few batches!

You can take daily for its immune boosting properties, or reserve for the periods of the creeping crud.

Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp. to 1 Tbsp. for adults. If the flu/crud does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

elderberry syrup recipe