July 19, 2015

Elderberry and Echinacea: Double the Healing Power

Your Natural Medicine Cabinet: Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup Recipe

 Would you like to know what’s in elderberry-echinacea syrup? Water, elderberries, echinacea, ginger root, cinnamon, honey.

Why are all those things in there, you might ask?

The Healthfulness Behind Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup

Quickly, let’s break it down and see what other people say about all the ingredients in elderberry-echinacea syrup.
Elderberry: A study done in 1992-1993 in Israel showed that black elderberry treated/cured flu symptoms faster than Tamiflu. Elderberry contains a litany of healthful properties (including antioxidants, tannins, vitamins A, B, and C, flavonoids … and the list goes on), which could help strengthen the immune system. But it’s best known for knocking out the flu right when it starts, so it’s important to take it immediately upon having symptoms (if you’re not taking daily supplementation).  While there’s no research to back up the claims that elderberry, taken regularly, can prevent the flu, there’s research all over the place stating that it effectively helps quash it when it starts.
Echinacea:  Like elderberry, the research just isn’t there yet supporting echinacea as an effective preventative supplement for the cold and flu. However, even the National Institute of Health admits that it’s shown to be quite effective when taken immediately upon experiencing symptoms of the cold or flu. They even state that it’s used effectively to treat: urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.
Honey: Favorite. Home. Remedy. Ever. Nothing beats honey for a cough (in fact, it’s  been shown to be more effective at soothing coughs than cough medicine itself). It’s also, of course, wildly antibacterial. And a fun little fact? Studies show that honey is as effective of a preservative as EDTA (a questionable preservative widely used in food). 
Cinnamon: Not only does cinnamon help control your blood sugar and blood pressure, it’s been historically used to treat the cold and flu. It’s approved by the German Health Authorities approve cinnamon for treating gastrointestinal distress and stomach spasms. 
Ginger Root: SO well known for defeating nauseousness, ginger root may not only treat your symptoms of stomach yuckiness, but it may very well help beat your other symptoms, as well. It’s, by far, one of the most popular medicinal herbs – and again, it tastes absolutely amazing in this syrup.

How to Make the Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup Recipe

Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup Recipe

  • 1/2 c. dried elderberries (or 1 cup fresh)
  • 2 Tbsp dried echincacea (it’s perfectly fine to open an echinacea tea bag and use that)
  • 1 Tbsp dried ginger root (or 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root)
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 3 c. distilled water
  • 3/4 c. raw honey
Before you really get started, you might want to consider sterilizing, at least, the jar you’re going to keep your syrup in. Just boil it in a pot of water for 10 minutes, and you should be good.
After you’re done with that, start with a very clean small pot and pour in all your ingredients – except the honey.
It’s important to use distilled water, just so you know. Because your tap water (and even most filtered water) already contains small bits of bacteria, heavy metals, and other untoward things that may “taint” your syrup. And you want your syrup to last at least a month – if not two to three months.
Distilled water. It’s what’s for home remedies.
Now that you have all of your ingredients (except the honey) in the pot, turn the burner to medium. Wait a while. Eventually you’ll start to see a simmer.
Now turn the burner as low as you can, while still maintaining a small simmer, and leave the whole thing alone for 45 minutes (or until the liquid has reduced by half).
Stir occasionally, and smush the elderberries around with the back of your spoon to release their healthy goodness.
Once your liquid is at about half as much as you started with, you need to strain all of the ingredients from your almost-done syrup.
Now you should have pretty clean, non-leafy, dark brownish-red liquid. It will smell good, but it’s not quite done yet.
Let your liquid cool for about 10-15 minutes. It needs to be cool enough not to harm the honey’s delicate healthful properties, but still warm enough to dissolve all the honey within. Again, 10 minutes should be just fine. 
Once you have your warmish-coolish liquid, add it in your desired jar with your honey and stir.
Keep this in your fridge, tightly covered, for up to two months, and take it when you feel like you need it.
Take 2-3 teaspoons a day (or maybe even a bit more) at the first sign of a cough, cold, or icky feeling.
Before you take or make this, though, please make sure you’re not allergic to one of the ingredients. That may be the only potential downside here. Know your allergies.

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