September is back to school and the transition into autumn, which means a rash of sniffles shall soon be descending upon your home and workplace.
Elderberry is a daily tonic we use in our home to keep the little munchkin sniffle free. It’s also a great daily tonic for adults, and being of age we can entertain all sorts of fun uses for it (elderberry mimosa, anyone?).
Below is a recipe for an elderberry syrup I adapted from HerbMentor.com, a most excellent website if you wish to learn all things herbal in nature. I’ve used this syrup as a base in gummies, beverages, and even drizzled on pork and chicken.
- 1/2 cup dried elderberries (Sambucus nigra)
- 1 stick of Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum)
- 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
- 6 whole cloves
- 4 peppercorns
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup honey
First put 1/2 cup of dried elderberries into the small saucepan. Add the 5 cloves, cinnamon stick, 1 Tablespoon grated ginger, and 2 cups of water.
Cover and bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
Turn down the heat, leave saucepan covered, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by 1/2. This usually takes 20-30 minutes.
Strain into a bowl using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Squeeze the remaining juice out of the berries. Add 1 cup of honey to the strained juice and stir until dissolved.
Store the syrup in a closed jar in the refrigerator and use within 4-6 weeks.
- 2 tbsp. elderberry syrup
- 6-8 oz. club soda
Pour syrup into a small glass and top with club soda. This is my go-to for stomach bugs!
Astragalus is one of my favorite adaptogens. I put it in all my winter stews and it is a ever-present ingredient in my bone broth. As with all adaptogens, it helps the body more effectively deal with existing stressors, be they mental or physical, thus protecting the immune system from being worn down by changes in schedules, sleep patterns, seasons, and responsibilities. Rich in antioxidants. it also protects cells from damage. It is mild in flavor and contributes no notable taste difference in broths and soups. I use slices of dried root in cooking, which is easy to remove before consumption. This bone broth recipe is the standard in our home.
Sometimes try as one might one cannot stave off a cold or flu. My go to when I feel it settling in is a spicy hot lemonade a client affectionately (or not) dubbed ‘Dragon’s Breath’. Dragon’s breath is potent stuff and is best shared, particularly if you share a bed with someone! This formula has antiviral and antibacterial properties from the ample ginger, garlic, and lemon used. Cayenne and hot water provide heat to the body, facilitating eradication of illness. Get the recipe and protocol here: Dragon’s Breath