This article is by Karen Gay, the Mirror’s health and wellness editor.
Elderberry syrup is making a comeback these days and it is very simple to make but very expensive to buy. Back in the days when herbalists ruled the day for health care, Elderberry syrup was a standard winter tonic used to repel the flu and colds. With the advent of today’s medical system, the old ways have been lost or forgotten. Most doctors don’t recommend elderberry syrup even though there’s a small study in PubMed entitled “Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections” which concludes that flu symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier. The authors recommended a larger study but stated that “Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.”
I am drawn to traditional remedies and the keynote speaker I heard at our Weston A. Price Foundation conference in November brought home tome why this is. The speaker was Tom Naughton and he is a comedian and producer of the movie, Fat Head. In his hilarious talk to almost 800 people he drew upon the book The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki positing that large groups of people are smarter than the “anointed” few. Naughton pointed out that traditional remedies were developed over a long period of time, by trial and error. Diverse groups of people exchanged ideas on successes and failures and as a result over generations remedies became better and better. An example was a diabetes cookbook written in 1920 which advocated butter, cheese, meat, fish, and eggs.This diet represented the wisdom of the crowd over generations and now even the American Diabetes Association is beginning to gently backtrack about such ideas as reducing carbohydrates. It still is on the low-fat kick even though ancestral (read wisdom of crowds) low-carb high fat diets combined with intermittent fasting have been shown to greatly improve Type 2 diabetes. Now I’ll get off my soapbox and get to the important part about how you can make your own traditional syrup.
As I’m not a fan of flu shots I’ve been making my own elderberry syrup and gummies for several years now using recipes I found online. I order dried elderberries from Amazon and I get my honey locally from W.T. Wilkins, who also has his honey at Watson’s Hardware, or from Matt Cormans at the Onancock Market. My favorite syrup is from the Wellness Mama blogger. Her recipe includes a tea made from dried elderberries, raw honey, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. One tablespoon for adults and 1 teaspoon for children each day is the recommended dose. https://wellnessmama.com/1888/elderberry-syrup/.
A great elderberry gummy recipe comes from Sarah Pope, the author of the Healthy Home Economist. In this recipe she uses date sugar instead of honey because children under the age of one should not eat honey. Pope points out in another article that raw elderberries should not be eaten by children or adults. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/elderberry-jello-shots/.
If your child is older and you’d like to use honey and the same dried berries as you use when you make syrup for your gummies, then try this recipe from Real Food RN: https://realfoodrn.com/healthy-gummies-cold-flu-sleep/.
Are you tempted to buy elderberry syrup at the store? If you do, read the ingredients. Many syrups contain sugar or even fructose instead of honey and citric acid as a preservative. Be aware that most likely these products are pasteurized, eliminating most of what makes raw honey so beneficial.
There are literally hundreds of recipes out there on the web. Do some research on colds and flu or other health problems. You may find a diversity of opinion out there, but this is where all solutions start. Keep reading and reading until you begin to form an opinion yourself. Then test it out on someone else and have a gentle debate on the good and bad points. Then find another person and discuss and before you know it you’ll have shaped other lives and your life will be forever changed.
If you’d like to see the Tom Naughton keynote address that I referenced earlier, we will be showing the video at the February chapter meeting of the Weston A. Price Foundation. We meet in Exmore every other month. If you’d like to attend the meeting, send an email to email@example.com or join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/esvawapf/.
Here are some interesting links:
PubMed study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016
Dangers of raw elderberries: https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/raw-elderberry-dangers/