Fall is officially upon us, my friends.
The kiddos are back at school, the days are getting shorter, and the leaves are starting to turn.
And with the fall comes cold and flu season.
Stuffy noses, scratchy throats, achy bodies… ugh. In the words of the YouTube-famous fire-escapee Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Homemade elderberry + manuka honey cold & flu syrup is a delicious way to stay healthy!
My boyfriend is high school teacher which means he carries home a lot of germs. This syrup has already proved effective for us this year (yep, he brought a cold home to me within the first few weeks of school… thanks, sweetie!) and I am so thankful. What I like best about this recipe is that you can store the syrup in your refrigerator for a couple months so it is on hand when you need it.
Each of the two main ingredients of this remedy have powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help you recover from a cold or the flu more quickly.
Elderberries have been used in folk remedies for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. They contain significant amounts of amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamins A, B, and C. Bioflavonoids and other antioxidants in elderberries destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Studies have found that flu patients who took elderberry juice recovered more quickly than those who did not (2-3 days vs. 6). The doctors who conducted the study concluded: “Considering the efficacy of the extract in vitro on all strains of influenza virus tested, the clinical results, its low cost, and absence of side-effects, this preparation could offer a possibility for safe treatment for influenza A and B.”
Because of their proven medicinal value, elderberries have been included in the Mosby’s Nursing Drug Reference for the treatment of colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever.
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush. It is used in both traditional and modern medicine for its potent antibacterial properties. In addition to containing hydrogen peroxide, manuka honey is high in the antibacterial methylglyoxal (MG). MG is found in most types of honey in small quantities. However, manuka honey contains up to 100 times more MG than normal honey.
Here are a few recognizable bacteria and viruses that MG has been shown to kill when tested in a lab environment:
- Helicobacter pylori (i.e. H. pylori): The bacterium known to cause many stomach ulcers and “leaky gut” syndrome
- Staphylococcus aureus (i.e. staph infection) and MRSA: These “super-bugs” are known for their resistance to many antibiotics
- Escherichia coli (i.e. E. Coli): Known to cause serious food poisoning
- Streptococcus pyogenes (i.e. strep throat): A virus that causes sore throats
Pretty amazing, huh?
On to the recipe!
Homemade Elderberry Syrup with Manuka Honey
- 3 ½ cups filtered water
- ¾ cup dried elderberries
- ½ cup manuka honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- Combine elderberries and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 45 minutes or until the liquid has halved.
- After simmering, remove the pan from heat and let it sit until cool (about another 30 minutes).
- After the mixture has cooled, strain it using a mesh sieve. Press on the berries with a fork or spoon to squeeze all the syrup out.
- Stir in the manuka honey, cinnamon, and ginger to the mixture, and funnel it into a sterile bottle.
And there you have it!
A suggested preventative dose is ½ tsp daily for kids and ½-1 tbsp daily for adults. If you come down with a cold or the flu, take every 3 hours until symptoms disappear. And of course, pay attention to your body and symptoms — seek medical attention if symptoms are severe or worsen.
Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 months and give it a good shake before taking any.