The girls have a cough, and since we cannot use most conventional cough syrups due to the artificial colors I have gone back to being a believer in Elderberry Syrup. Years ago Chepe and I bought Sambucol but it is sort of pricey and to really be effective you have to buy a lot of it, which makes "sort of pricey" quickly become just plain "pricey".
After researching online for a recipe and chatting with another preschool mom who is taking a class with an herbalist I found that making your own Elderberry Syrup is not hard at all. And not pricey either; it cost only a few dollars to make a canning jar full of syrup.
Ingredients can be found at your local health food store or online.
1/2 cup dried elderberries*
1 cup raw local honey**
3 cups water
*Most health food stores carry dried elderberries. If you have access to freshelderberries use 1 full cup and be sure they are the dark/black/blue variety, not the red ones. The red elderberries are toxic and should not be used in any preparation.
** Buckwheat honey or an other dark honey is best for use as medicine due to the high antioxidant the darker honeys contain. However, we opted to use vegetable glycerin that we had on hand since it is also sweet and our girls already take honey for their cough in other remedies. Also, if using honey do not give this to children under the one year of age (or age two if directed by your pediatrician).
Add water and elderberries to saucepan.
Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Thoroughly mash the elderberries. I mashed them periodically throughout the simmering process to be sure their goodness was fully being extracted.
Pour liquid through mesh strainer in order to strain out the berry bits.
Add honey to strained liquid.
Stir well to mix the berry juice and honey together thoroughly.
Bottle and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.
When sick you can take a spoonful every 3-4 hours or as a daily maintenance for a strong immune system you can take a tablespoon daily. Add it to tea and it is YUMMY and oh so good for you. We have even added it to juice to make it easy for the little ones to take.
Be forewarned...cooking up this syrup will make your house STINK! I did not notice, but when my hubby came in from outside he said it was terrible and about 10 times worse smelling then the the local brewery. Then my mom came to watch our girls and she said it smelled like vomit in our house. Later I could smell the elderberries on my clothes, which was not totally pleasant. So my advice is to open a few windows while you are making this.
Also, the vegetable glycerin is a little too sweet. My girls will take it, but complain that it sweet each time, so next time I will stick to the recipe and use honey in hopes that it will be a tad bit more palatable.
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