Why I'll Be Adding Elderberry Syrup To Everything In 2019
It's wintertime, and that means we're all a little more vulnerable to the seasonal cough, cold, or dreaded flu. It's important to adjust your wellness routine during this time of year to include rituals that help protect your immune system to begin with—as well as help you recover as quickly as possible, should you get knocked down by one of those pesky germs.
There's one ingredient that I've started incorporating into my routine this winter that I wish I'd known about years ago. It's elderberry syrup—and it's super healthy, delicious, and perfect for this season.
What's so great about elderberry, anyway?
According to Aviva Romm, M.D., herbalist, integrative medicine doctor, and mindbodygreen Collective member, elderberry is one of the six herbs she recommends during flu season. "This is my go-to herb for early signs of flu. Studies have shown1 that elderberry extract can significantly shorten the duration of influenza while lowering the need for medication, when compared with placebo," she wrote. Elderberry, also known as Sambucus nigra, is high in vitamin C and other important nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, iron, B6, fiber, and beta-carotene.
I'm not the only one who's recently discovered the powers of elderberry, either. According to Pinterest's 100 for 2019 (a report on the top trends based on an increase in pins over the last year) they've seen a 685 percent increase in pins about elderberry recipes. Brands are coming out with products based on elderberry—like these Nature's Way organic Elderberry Zinc Lozenges, $4.39, and these Zarbee's Naturals Children's Elderberry Immune Support Gummies, $7.69—right and left.
As Rina Raphael at Fast Company wrote, "As Americans become more health-obsessed, their curiosity for new and unique ingredients widens. The lesser-known elderberry is known as a rich source of antioxidants and for its anti-inflammatory effects." No wonder it's becoming more popular by the day.
Why should you have elderberry syrup in your medicine cabinet?
So what's so great about elderberry syrup, specifically? You've probably seen elderberry featured in immune-boosting supplements before—so why is syrup made from this berry trending now? Elderberry syrup is special because of the delivery method. It's versatile and the embodiment of "foods as medicine." You can take this syrup like any other cough syrup at night with a spoon before bed and it will soothe your throat and give you a solid dose of vitamin C. And while it tastes fantastic on its own, you can also add it to hot tea, iced drinks, smoothies, oatmeal, or even salad dressings (hence, the 685 percent increase in pins about elderberry recipes).
If you're looking for an elderberry syrup, reach for one that's certified organic and has no added sugar. My favorites are Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup, $21.99, and Garden of Life mykind Organics Elderberry Syrup, $26.39. According to Dr. Romm, "The typical dose is 3 tablespoons of syrup per day for adults (3 teaspoons/day for kids > 2 years old) starting at the earliest signs of flu. Of course, if you think you have the flu, also seek appropriate medical care."
Gretchen Lidicker is an mbg health contributor, content strategist, and the author of CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness and Magnesium Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide to Epsom Salts, Magnesium Oil, and Nature's Relaxation Mineral. She holds a B.S. in biology and earned her master’s degree in physiology with a concentration in complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University.