Flu season is here and it seems that it’s going to be a rough one. Luckily, there are many ways to fight off the flu naturally, and I’d like to share one of my favorites with you: black elderberry extract.
Black elderberry, or sambucus nigra, has been used in traditional cultures to boost the immune system for centuries. It's typically found in North America and in Europe and contains a slew of immune boosting and antiviral properties. Science is finally catching up to this ancient cure, whose potency has been observed in several recent studies. One particularly exciting observation: a 2004 study found that people who had flu-like symptoms and used elderberry syrup instead of a placebo syrup experienced 4 fewer days of symptoms.
There are many standardized formulas of elderberry syrup that you can purchase at your local healthfood store, compounding pharmacy, or on Amazon.com. Some of these brands include: Sambucol, Nature’s Way, Gaia, and Swanson.
Or you could make your own—it’s easy and fun!
Flu-fighting Elderberry Syrup
Adapted from a recipe found in Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
In a large pot, combine:
- 1 cup dried black elderberries (if you can’t find them locally, you can order them here)
- 4.5 cups of filtered water
- 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger
- 1 tsp of clove
- 2 cinnamon sticks!
- Bring to a boil and then simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
- Add honey to taste (between ½ cup to 1 cup) to remaining liquid.
- Store in a glass jar and refrigerate.
To fight off the flu
- Adults: take 1-2 tablespoons every 3-4 hours
- Children (older than 2): take 1 teaspoon every 3-4 hours
And please, get checked out by your doctor if you if you are experiencing:
- Shortness of breath
- Cough with yellow, green or brown sputum
- Chest pain
- High fever (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Severe earache
- Have chronic medical problems like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or pulmonary disease
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