The weather in LA has shifted. For the first time in months, the morning air holds a chill and I’ve sought comfort in warm cups of tea. This rather abrupt change in temperature signals that fall is here. For most people that means runny noses and scratchy throats.
See, what many herbalists have know for years is that black elderberry has bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice that destroy the cold and flu viruses’ abilities to infect a cell, thus protecting us from coughs, colds, the flu, and various other bacterial and viral infections.
A firm believer in all things homemade, this year I’ve decided to try my hand at making my own black elderberry syrup. Not only can I guarantee that there won’t be any added sugar, but I can also assure that it’s made with love- which is always the best remedy for anyone feeling under the weather.
How to make your own black elderberry syrup:
2/3 C dried black elderberries
3 1/2 C filtered water
1 C raw honey (preferably local, from the farmer’s market)
A few cinnamon sticks of cloves (optional)
1. Bring elderberries and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add cinnamon or cloves if desired.
2. Simmer gently for about 45 minutes.
3. Mash berries thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Remove the cinnamon sticks or cloves if you used them.
4. Strain the berries. I recommend using cheesecloth or a nut milk bag for this step to ensure that you are able to squeeze out as much of the juice as possible.
5. Allow the black elderberry juice to cool slightly and then add the honey. Stir until fully dissolved.
6. Let the syrup cool to room temperature. Pour into a clean glass jar with an airtight lid. Label and date. The syrup will keep for up to a year in the fridge.
*Standard dose is 1/2 teaspoon for kids and 1 teaspoon for adults daily. If the flu does happen to hit, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.