Recipe Friday: Elderberry Syrup

Welcome to my second Recipe Friday. (If you missed the first one, click here.)

It’s the season for prevention!

All year long is a good time to build up your immune system. (See my immune system pointers in this blog – along with Wardee’s Elderberry Gummies; some cold and flu remedies here; and a recipe for Vitamin C chews here.) But autumn is a good time to start your remedy-making, to make sure you’ve got medicinal therapies ready, and to give you and your family a boost to prepare for cold season.

Elderberry Syrup is one of the best-known remedies, and for good reason. Elderberries prevent viruses from replicating in the body, and so shorten the duration and severity of a cold or flu bug.

If you grow your own elderberry bushes, high five! You have an organic, natural, and accessible treatment available to you. [Note: Besides the berries, the elder flowers are also beneficial. Be sure to harvest no more than 1/5 of the flowers on any bush, to make sure you have enough berries in the fall.]

If you don’t have elder bushes, try local farmers’ markets. A third option is to buy dried elderberries at a health food store or online (vitacost.com or amazon.com are good sources). Make sure they are organic.

Ideas for using elderberries:

  • Take a dose of 1 teaspoon of elderberry syrup as soon as you notice a cold coming on; you can take it every two hours. Because this is food, you can take it as often as needed before or during a cold or flu.
  • Add some elderberry syrup to your daily drinking water.
  • Boil elderberries (fresh or dried) into a tea with other herbs, and sip.
  • Make elderberry gummies by adding unflavored (organic) gelatin. Pour into candy molds, or into a pan and then cut into dosage sizes. Organic gelatin is beneficial to your overall health and to your gut.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups of filtered water
  • 1 cup of raw local honey (or less, to taste)
  • Optional ingredients:
    • ½ cup dried yarrow leaves and flowers (Yarrow makes you sweat, and tricks your body into fighting the virus, even before it takes hold. It’s also beneficial for the lungs.)
    • ½ cup dried hawthorn berries (very high in Vitamin C)
    • Juice from a 2-inch piece of ginger root (juice it by pressing through a garlic press)
    • Orange or lemon peel
    • Cinnamon stick

ElderberrySyrup

Instructions

  • Simmer the elderberries and filtered water together in a covered pan for 30 minutes. (If you add more ingredients, such as the yarrow and hawthorn berries, add more water, 1 cup for every half cup of extra ingredient.)
  • Mash the elderberries (and optional other ingredients) with a potato masher (remove a cinnamon stick before mashing).
  • Strain the elderberries from the juice:
    • Pour through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, then bundle up the elderberries in the cheesecloth and squeeze out all the elderberry juice.
    • Or use a potato ricer
    • ElderberrySyrupTools
  • Simmer the juice, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, to let it concentrate.
  • Allow the juice to cool until it’s just warm-hot.
  • Add the raw honey and stir thoroughly to incorporate the honey. Do not heat again.
  • (If making gummies, add ¼ cup gelatin for every 2 cups of liquid. Whisk in carefully so it doesn’t clump.)
  • If using, add the ginger juice.
  • [If making gummies, pour into molds or glass pan.]
  • Allow the syrup to cool.

Store in an airtight glass jar (i.e., mason jar) in the refrigerator.

Essential Oils Anti-Ick

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It is no news to those who follow me that I am an enthusiastic user of essential oils. Essential oils are good for your health! [Disclaimer: As with any product, test with a small amount to make sure you are not sensitive or allergic to the substance.] Because essential oils are made from plants, they are part of God’s gift in His creation, intended for our benefit. They work with our bodies, and do not contain harmful chemicals.

Think nothing can kill a virus? Think again: essential oils are proven to kill viruses, bacteria, and funguses. They can also act as anti-inflammatories.

Be sure to use a reputable source for your essential oils. At home, I use NOW brand and Vitacost brand.

How I use essential oils:

  • Diffuse
  • Serums
  • Roll-ons
  • Creams
  • Air freshener
  • Anti-bacterial spray
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning

Essential oils can be mixed with beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, a carrier oil (such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, avocado oil, or almond oil), castile soap, vinegar, witch hazel, vodka, and / or honey to make an unlimited array of health-supporting remedies and treatments.

NOTE: Always use essential oils combined with a carrier oil if applying to skin or ingesting.

Ways to ingest:

  • cook with essential oils (no, cooking does not destroy most essential oils: most are processed with heat) add a few drops of, say, rosemary and thyme into your spaghetti sauce
  • add lemon oil into your smoothie
  • add to treats like frosting (lemon, orange, or peppermint add taste and zip)
  • bake into a dessert (lemon pie or bars, lavender bread, cardamom cookies, peppermint brownies)

Apply to skin:

  • combine with a carrier oil
  • rub on abdomen for quick uptake
  • smooth onto temples, shoulders, or neck for tension or headache relief
  • use as an antibacterial on scrapes and bug bites
  • combine with castile soap for shampoo and body wash

Clean:

  • lemon and orange are great at cutting grease, and smell so refreshing
  • essential oils kill bacteria in toilets, around sinks, kitchen counters, and baby’s room
  • combine with vodka and witch hazel for air freshening and killing germs on surfaces
  • use to wipe down handles, counters, keyboards, and common surfaces during cold and flu season

And you can always diffuse. Get a good-quality diffuser that will last for hours and incorporate a large room. And, get smaller diffusers for smaller rooms. Heck, they even sell diffusers for your car, and to wear around your neck!

Another way to diffuse is to add a few drops to an inhaler (like these: https://www.amazon.com/Aromatherapy-Essential-Portable-Reusable-Aluminum/dp/B07PP1WB4N/); or a few drops to a handkerchief or tissue.

My go-to websites for dependable information on essential oils are

Following is a list of essential oils that are antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory:

Antivirals:

Basil, bergamot, cassia, cinnamon bark, clove, cumin, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, helichrysum, myrrh, oregano, peppermint, rose, rosewood, sage, sandalwood, tea tree, thyme

Antibacterials:

Basil, bergamot, cassia, cedarwood, cinnamon bark, citronella, clove, dill, eucalyptus, geranium, lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, rosemary, spikenard, tea tree

Antifungal:

Cassia, cinnamon bark, citronella, clary sage, eucalyptus, fir, geranium, lavender, lemongrass, marjoram, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, rosewood, sage, spikenard, thyme

Anti-inflammatory:

Caraway, clove, eucalyptus, ginger, lavender, marjoram, oregano, peppermint, roman chamomile, tea tree, thyme, and turmeric.

Natural Medicine Opportunities

Just a quick share on a couple of free web opportunities that I came across, to enhance your knowledge of safe, natural remedies, and healthy ways to live:

https://homemedicinesummit.com/ begins Monday, October 14th. I’ve listened to several of the presenters before, and I believe they have good stuff.

https://essentialoilstransformation.com/ also begins Monday, October 14th. I have not heard most of these presenters before. Upon registration, you are eligible to receive several bonus gifts.