The American Elder, or common elderberry, (Sambucus canadensis) is a shrub that grows up to 13 feet high. It is a member of the honeysuckle family and is found in moist places along riverbanks, roadsides, woods and thickets. We are lucky to have it growing in our brush pile among the blackberry brambles and young volunteer walnut trees in our backyard. It was a favorite herb of Hippocrates; love making medicinals that the great Hippocrates would make for his patients! The berries of the elder are very nutritious. They provide large amounts of potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C. It works amazingly well on colds, excessive mucus, sore throat and the dreaded flu.
Last year when Fauna came down with the flu she took a couple tablespoons the first day and it zapped the fever and all symptoms within 24 hours! Usually, when Fauna gets sick she is sick for 3-5 days. Really amazing stuff!
I use Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe for elderberry syrup because it doesn’t use white processed sugar or alcohol. And it is quite tasty!
What you need:
1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
1 cup raw local honey
Glass jar with lid
1. Heat the berries and water to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30-45 minuets.
2. Mash the berries, strain, and add 1 cup of honey. I add a half cup of the purple liquid to a measuring cup, then pour in honey until the total volume is 1 1/2 cups. Then stir to mix well, and add to the rest of the reserved liquid.
3. Bottle and store. Keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.
4. Enjoy a tablespoon daily to keep the immune system strong. If sick, take more often at first signs of the flu. If you drink peppermint tea along with it, you increase the fighting punch!
*Caution, I am not a doctor and don’t pretend to be one. I am 100% sure of the identification of the plants I harvest and research like mad before posting a recipe. Some books say Elderberry leaves, seeds, bark, stems and root are toxic. Only the berries, which must be cooked first, and the blossoms are edible.Use your best judgement when using plants from the wild. You can also buy already made Elderberry syrup at your local health food store.