With a toddler and an infant at home, a cold feels like an entire month of being stuck in the house, miserable, and sleepless, as the germs get passed around and we each take our turn being sick. In addition to eating a relatively healthy plant based diet, taking our vitamins and supplements, exercising and sleeping (when we can)…we try to incorporate little tricks to boost our immune systems and prevent getting sick. One of our favorite remedies is Elderberry Syrup! I have been making elderberry syrup during the winters for a couple years now and I have definitely found it to prevent and reduce duration of colds in our household (and I think the recipe is pretty good, if I do say so myself).
Elderberries have been used for centuries for numerous ailments, but more recently studies have been alluding to prevention and reduction of duration and severity of the cold and flu. Although nothing is confirmed, it is a low risk addition to your health routine. Similar to blueberries, goji, and blackberries… elderberries are even higher in the potent antioxidant, flavonoids. Additionally, the berries have natural anti-inflammatory properties and high in vitamin A and C. Together these components make the elderberry an immunity powerhouse. On its own, elderberries are not so tasty, my syrup uses ingredients with added health benefits and create a tasty concoction.
I often would share some elderberry syrup with friends or family and started getting requests for more after a recent post on Facebook…I decided to go for it and start making our elderberry syrup and bottling it for sale. Fortunately, we have a commercial kitchen (our restaurant, The Clean Plate Kitchen) and I am a holistic dietitian and an aspiring chef (starting school May 2019), and we are in the process of relaunching Nourish to Heal – creating products, test batches, logo and website reconstruction, creating our virtual and physical store, etc. But rather than holding off and waiting until everything was perfect, we are just going for it and starting with our first product under Nourish to Heal as Elderberry Syrup. We are excited and proud to offer a high quality product, at a very reasonable value.
Only the Good Stuff…
We have created a product using organic ingredients, produced in small batches with additional ingredients to get the biggest bang for your buck in a swig of our elderberry syrup. First and foremost, the elderberries that we use are dried and boiled for at least an hour to optimize usage of the berries. We also include cinnamon, cloves, fresh ginger and turmeric root, a couple turns of black pepper (see my previous post for increasing bioavailability of turmeric), lemon zest and juice. Raw, local (to Central New Jersey) honey and essential oils are added once the elderberry brew has cooled. The honey is added later to maintain the heat unstable enzyme and antioxidant properties. The essential oils that I use are pure food grade and my secret blend for the added wow factor.
Get In My Belly…
Although we can not give you a protocol, I can share with you what I do and how I use elderberry syrup. Usually, I start making and taking the syrup in November (usually after we get one of those never ending colds and I remember that I need to start brewing) and continue mostly taking through April (depending on the weather and the health of those around us). One of the first things in the morning, I take a swig, about 1-2 oz, as I open the refrigerator to get my kombucha. I take it regularly, unless I feel a cold coming on and I will increase to 3-4 times per day until symptoms subside. The jars we make are sealed, but need to be refrigerated. It should last a good month unopened and should be consumed within 2 weeks once its opened (these are loose suggestions and recommend using your judgement).
Elderberry syrup is generally considered safe. Excess consumption (like an entire bottle) could cause digestive upset. The syrup is not intended to babies under the age of 1 year, as it does contain raw syrup. The use of elderberry syrup is to boost your natural immune response, individuals with autoimmune conditions should use their discretion in taking this elderberry syrup, if activation of the immune system is a concern.
At this time, we are selling Nourish to Heal Elderberry Syrup online or at The Clean Plate Kitchen, 49 Main Street, Clinton, NJ 08809. At this time, we are unable to ship and orders are available for pick-up during restaurant business hours. Wednesday – Monday, 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm, closing at 8pm on Sunday and Monday evenings. Check out www.cleanplateclinton.com for business information. Our, Nourish to Heal storefront is coming soon to the location of The Clean Plate Kitchen.