If your holidays were anything like mine, you were a little out of routine, shorter on sleep and chowing down on the carbs on the buffet. And it was all glorious until the ol' immune system said "enough!" At least that’s what mine said after several days of the above scenario.
So when I got home, I made sure to rest, take some antimicrobials that saved my butt and drink some “Feel Better” tea that made a noticeable difference in the way I felt almost immediately.
In this week’s episode of The Less Stressed Life podcast, I interviewed Mary Purdy, president of Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine on cold and flu busters.
Know when you hear about something 15 times before you actually do it?
Yeah, that was me and elderberry syrup. I knew it was highly touted to be good for you, but I half-heartedly used it when my kids were already sick. Until I met Lesly of episode 20 and tried her Elderberry syrup.
1. My kids begged for it.
2. It worked. If you used it. Consistently. And due to #1, it became a nice little habit of “Give me my purple juice!” Demands from my minions. 1 teaspoon syrup in a splash of water made a NOTICEABLE difference in my kid’s (and MINE! And my clients!!!!) immune health this fall when we were diligent.
Then I ran out, got lazy, you know. The usual.
But I’ve made more and am back on track.
You don’t have to be the pioneer woman. You don’t have to make everything. Your best bet when you feel overwhelmed but just want to stay healthy is to make a friend that is a pioneer woman and just buy elderberry syrup (with this recipe—obvs) from her.
I made that friend. Her name is Lesly and I order her syrup. And because shipping syrup from Idaho to South Dakota adds up, I bought kits from her with everything you need so you can just throw it in a pot, turn on the stovetop, add honey (or whatever) and then strain.
Baby steps. You can get Lesly’s stuff by checking her out on FB here.
Or you can check out Mountain Rose Herbs and gather up your ingredients like a medicine woman over here.
You won’t regret it. If you do, you probably needed to add more water and sweetener. It can be a lil’ bitter if not. 😖
*Full transparency: This is an adaptation to Lesly’s recipe, my edits, and others. The added ingredients have benefit, but you may proceed without if you wish. The best store-bought brand of Elderberry syrup that I've found is Gaia brand. But at $20 for 2 ounces, you’d be better off at $50 for 16 ounces or getting a kit for $25 to make your own for 16 ounces. Good luck!
1 cup dried elderberries
4-5.5 cups filtered water (if it cooks down too much you can always add a touch more!)
4 quarter-inch slices of fresh ginger
1 Tbsp anise stars
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup raw honey (less or more to taste)
Add all ingredients except for the honey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium. Continue simmering for 30–45 minutes until the liquid is reduced to half.
Before the liquid cools, strain it through a fine mesh strainer. Allow the liquid to cool to about 118°F (to preserve the enzymes in the raw honey), and gently combine the warm reduced berry liquid with the raw honey.
Store in a jar in the fridge. Use daily for best effects. Elderberry syrup is really a functional “food” so it would be hard to overdose. I use it 3x/day when immune systems are under duress.
Christa Biegler, RD, integrative nutritionist specializes in reversing symptoms of eczema, IBS, Crohn's, Colitis, digestive issues, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue and autoimmune symptoms, especially Hashimotos.
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