Cold and Flu’s best medicine

As an herbalist I know of many useful remedies for cold symptoms and flu symptoms. There are so many wonderful sources of  herbs that can bring ease and relief from many of the symptoms. My herbal cabinet holds some of my family’s favorites such as,  herbal teas with echinacea and peppermint, I also have jars of honey, lemon and sage, and herbal muslin bags filled with eucalyptus for head steams.

But our favorite is Elderberry syrup. Just as the song from the 50’s, we love drinking “elder berry wine”, even though we are drinking the syrup, not wine.

Elderberries (also know as sambucus or sambucol) have long been used in folk medicine to prevent and treat the symptoms of the common cold and flu. These tiny purple-blue berries are rich in anti-oxidant flavinoids and anti-inflammatory anthocyanin. Even modern studies have proved the efficacy of elderberry extract.

I learned to make Elderberry Syrup many years ago from a book by Rosemary Gladstar. I have mixed and tried many unique potions, some not so tasty. I stay away from hot veggies and herbs that are very bitter. After many seasons of Elderberry syrup batches, I have found a mix that I like to use. I use this in sweetening my herbal tea during a cold or flu, I have administered by shot glass and tablespoon full. It is delightful as a dessert or added to some red wine.

Elderberry syrup

  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 4 quarter-inch slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cup, raw honey
  1. Add all ingredients except for the honey into a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to medium.
  3. Continue simmering for 30-45 minutes until the liquid is reduced to half.
  4. Before the liquid cools, strain it through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Allow the liquid to cool to about 118F (to preserve the enzymes in the raw honey), and gently combine the warm reduced berry liquid with the raw honey.
  6. Store in a jar in the fridge for a few weeks. For longer storage, freeze into ice cube trays to defrost for later use.

Enjoy this natural yummy remedy to help ease the symptoms of the cold and flu.

Happy Winterherbal honey