Elderberries, natures little helper.
Elderberries grow on bushes, and you will find them growing the lower 48 states. The berry is the size of small grape and so deeply bluish/purple it almost looks black. A strong word of warning though: Never eat a raw elderberry. Doing so will leave you with terrible digestive pain and you will be quite ill.
Elderberry syrup uses are variable and diverse, including topping onto waffles and pancakes, mixing into teas, or using solely for these medicinal purposes:
1. Fights the Flu
While elderberry may not prevent the flu, it may be an effective treatment option if you got hit with the virus. Research shows the use of elderberry could shorten the duration of flu by about three to four days, along with lessening symptom severity if taken within the first 24 hours of having the flu.
2. Reduces Cold Duration
Along with being a supportive agent against the flu, elderberry is well-known in its fight against the cold, particularly related to its vitamin A and C content. In fact, a 2016 research article published in Nutrients found a significant reduction of cold duration and severity in air travelers. Travelers using elderberry starting 10 days before travel until four to five days after arriving overseas experienced, on average, a two-day shorter duration of the cold and also noticed a reduction in cold symptoms.
3. Manages Diabetes
The berry has been traditionally explored in its treatment of diabetes, with evidence published in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrating the presence of insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity in the proclaimed anti-diabetic plant, Sambucus nigra.
4. Promotes Mental Health
Extracts from an elder plant have shown to act as a natural antidepressant source. Though more research is still warranted in elderberry’s role in mental health, there is no denying pouring elderberry syrup atop a short stack is sure to crack a smile.
5. Acts as A Natural Diuretic
Diuretics increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body in the form of urine and are mostly used to treat high blood pressure. There has been some indication elderberry offers diuretic properties, along with acting as a laxative in the treatment against constipation.
6. Supports Skin Health
Elderberries have shown to support skin health thanks to its anthocyanin content, or the compound that gives the berries their vibrant color. Anthocyanins have shown to combat the internal consequences of natural aging, therefore improving the external appearance of skin tone and glow. Elderberry is also a rich source of vitamins A and C, each showing to moisture the skin and maintain its integrity.
7. Reduces Inflammation
Elderberry displays numerous anti-inflammatory activities, particularly related to its anthocyanin and vitamins A and C contents. Inflammation has shown to be the root of many chronic diseases, which may label elderberry as a contender against the fight against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
HOW TO MAKE ELDERBERRY SYRUP
While elderberry syrup is readily available for purchase, you can also prepare it in the comfort of your own home! Here’s how:
3 ½ cups cold water
1 cup dried elderberries
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
1 cup raw honey
Add water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer 45 minutes to an hour, or until the liquid has reduced to almost half. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool. Carefully mash the berries then pour syrup through a strainer into a large bowl. When the syrup is completely cooled, add the honey and stir well.
Pour into a seal-able jar and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.Enjoy!