Let’s face it, flu season isn’t just upon us. This year, it’s worse than our shadow. We can’t seem to escape it. Everywhere you turn, you hear of more and more flu confirmations. But as bad as it seems, there are some natural things you can do to avoid, prevent and combat the flu. One of which is consuming elderberry, especially elderberry lemonade.
Elderberry is one of the best remedies for shortening the duration of the flu if you do succumb to it. But it is also well known in the herbal world for preventing the flu. Elderberry is an immune stimulant and has been used medicinally as far back as the time of Hippocrates. But for good reason. It contains two active ingredients that fight viruses, including the flu and colds.
The Latin name for elderberry is “Sambucus nigra” and if you have ever taken Sambucol, you’ve taken elderberry. Elderberry is the main ingredient in Sambucol, hence the name.
According to James A. Duke, Ph.D., Sambucol (elderberry) was even tested in Israel against a recent flu outbreak. In his book The Green Pharmacy, he states,
At Kibbutz Aza in Israel, a flu outbreak provided a good opportunity to test Sambucol. Twenty percent of flu sufferers who used it showed significant relief of fever, muscle aches and other symptoms within 24 hours, and another 73 percent felt better after the second day. In three days, 90 percent were reported completely cured. In a similar group that received an inactive treatment (a placebo), only 26 percent were improved in two days, and it took most of them six days to feel well again.
Needless to say, elderberry is our go to herb for cold and flu. The great thing about elderberry is that it is a berry. And other than making sure it’s cooked, it is safe to consume without any known interactions. Since it’s a berry, it can be prepared many ways-elderberry jam, elderberry syrup, elderberry tincture, elderberry tea or even adding elderberry to granola.
But our favorite way to prepare and consume it is elderberry lemonade. It’s super easy to make and tastes great! The great thing about elderberry lemonade is that it can be consumed in large quantities if you have a virus or it can be consumed in a culinary amount to boost the immune system and help avoid infection altogether.
Elderberry Lemonade Recipe
(Scroll to the end for printable recipe)
What you’ll need:
- ginger slices
- lemon juice
- honey or maple syrup
- bottle to store finished elderberry lemonade
- tea ball
Place 2 TBS elderberries in tea strainer and place in 4 1/2 cups water along with 1 inch ginger slice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove elderberries and strain out ginger. Pour into bottle, along with 1/2 cup lemon juice and about 3 TBS honey or maple syrup (to taste). Store in refrigerator.
We will go through a bottle in a day or two if we’re fighting a virus. I usually serve up at least a full cup for each meal time and then before bed. But if we’re just in prevention mode, we’ll enjoy a small (6-8 oz) cup a day or every other day. And it tastes so good, I don’t have to worry about forcing the kiddos to drink it. Many times they ask for it. Especially my HIU boy! He drank a whole bottle in one day recently. He was determined to get well and said it just tasted so good! 😉
- 2 TBS elderberries
- 1 inch ginger slice
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3 TBS honey or pure maple syrup
- 1 mesh tea ball
- 1 32 oz or larger glass bottle
- Place elderberries in tea ball. Place tea ball with elderberries as well as ginger slice in a pot with the water. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Liquid will be reduced to about 2 1/2 cups. Allow to cool until warm and pour into bottle. Add the lemon juice and honey or maple syrup. Cap and swirl or gently shake to mix. Chill and store in the refrigerator. Will last for up to two weeks in the fridge.
For some other great ways to avoid or shorten the flu, check out my FB video I did.
Here’s to your health!
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