Elderberry syrup is a great, traditional way to boost immunity. Our naturopath recommends taking some at the first sign of a cold or flu. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find high-quality organic elderberry syrup that doesn’t contain vegetable glycerin.
We try to avoid foods containing vegetable glycerin as a preservative because glycerin can coat your teeth and thereby prevent the natural tooth remineralization process. It is often derived from corn or beets, which are frequently GMO (in addition to the fact that we have corn allergy issues in our house). In addition, glycerin, along with all sorts of other gums and stabilizers, is linked to disturbing the balance of gut flora. So I decided to make my own.
I found this recipe, which I modified slightly, on Wellness Mama.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe
2/3 cup elderberries
3.5 cups water
2 tablespoons fresh ginger (you can use dried if you don’t have fresh)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup raw honey (optional, add more to taste; up to 1 cup total)
Put water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves into a medium saucepan.
Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 45-60 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
Remove from heat and let cool. Pour the mixture into a food processor. (If you want a really smooth syrup, then pour the liquid through a strainer to remove all of the solids – compost or discard the solids if you won’t be using them).
Add the honey and puree until smooth (if you didn’t strain it, you’ll still have little seeds. I didn’t strain mine, and don’t see this as a problem, but other people are more particular about texture than we are).
Pour the mixture into a glass container of some kind. I used a pint-sized mason jar, but any glass container about that size will work.
Store in the refrigerator, and take at the first sign of a cold or the flu.
The standard dose is ½ teaspoon for children and 1½ teaspoons for adults. You can take if you think you’ve been exposed to something to boost immunity. If you feel the beginning of a cold or the flu, take every 2-3 hours until the symptoms disappear.