Elderberry- The Hero of Cold and Flue Season
Elderberry is one of the most effective plants for boosting immunity and shortening the duration of colds and flus- which is why it becomes a staple in our household this time of year!
In case you haven’t heard of it, the elder plant is indigenous to broad stretches of the Northern Hemisphere including North America, Europe (especially Scandinavia), Asia and northern Africa. Though elder has been an important part of medicine cabinets and holistic repertoires for centuries, what makes elder so special is its amazingly delicious flavored berries and blossoms. And, it’s easy to grow in most climates! It’s definitely time to plant an elderberry bush in the backyard, although be careful deer love it too!
The elder plant has sustained generations as a source of food and medicine. All parts of the elder plant- roots, flowers, berries, leaves and bark- have been used medicinally. Modern research supports the use of elder syrup as a treatment for coughs and colds. According to the USDA, elderberries are exceptionally rich in vitamin C and anti-oxidants, which enhance the immune system. The flowers contain flavonoids and rutin, which are also known to improve immune function, especially in combination with Vitamin C. In addition , laboratory studies have shown that elderberries also have significant anti-inflammatory and antiviral abilities. They can be used to treat colds, joint pain, fever, skin problems and more. In clinical trials, patients taking elderberry extract recovered from the flu earlier and had less severe symptoms than patients in the control group.
We simply add a teaspoon or two of elderberry syrup to fresh pressed juices or take a teaspoon as is- it’s delicious. Syrup can be found in the herbal supplements section of your favorite market.
Take advantage of the immune-boosting properties of this ancient plant with these recipes.
4 Great Ways to Use Elderberries
Combine ½ cup berries such as raspberries and blueberries or pomegranate seeds with ½ cup cooked oatmeal, then top with coconut milk, a swirl of elderberry syrup and hemp seeds or slivered almonds.
Pour 1 teaspoon elderberry syrup into a glass, add ½ tablespoon fresh ground ginger, the juice of 1 lemon and top with sparkling water for an amazing & nutritious sparkling lemonade.
Swirl elderberry syrup into plain or vanilla Icelandic skyr, then layer with whole-grain granola and banana slices for a nutrient and protein rich breakfast.
Combine 1 tablespoons loose green tea, 1 tablespoons dried elderberries, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, and 1 teaspoon fennel seeds in a loose leaf tea bag or tea infuser. Steep in almost boiling water for 5 minutes to create a refreshing, warming, immune boosting tea.