Deborah J. "DJ" Martin

A Witch and a Bitch with an Herbal Itch - and an overactive imagination

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Feeling Fine on Elderberry Wine!

Well, not wine (although that gives me some ideas) …

Despite my best efforts, I managed to pick up my husband’s cold.  Coupled with the (usually mild)  fall allergies, I haven’t been feeling my best.  The worst part was the coughing.  I’ve managed to wake myself and the cats with my middle-of-the-night hacking (husband will sleep through anything).  It was time to get to work in the kitchen!

It’s been known for years (centuries?) that Elder Sambucus nigra helps fight the colds and flu.  No wonder – it has anti-viral properties as well as vitamin C.  So last night I decided it was time to make Elderberry Rob, a traditional spiced fruit syrup for coughs or to ward off colds or the flu.  (I know a Rob is a “vegetable juice thickened by heat”.  If anyone can tell me how a syrup became known as a “Rob”, I’d love to know!).  I don’t have any fresh elderberries so grabbed some dried ones from my stock.  One-half cup dried berries equates to about two ounces. So, the recipe from Herbs, the quarterly journal of the Herb Society (UK):

One-half cup dried berries or one cup fresh, crushed
Three cups water

Cover; bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Strain, pouring liquid back into a pot, measuring as you pour. For each pint of liquid, add

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
12 whole cloves

Cover and simmer again 30 minutes. Strain out the cloves, pour into sterilized bottles and refrigerate.

One teaspoon of the syrup in one cup warm water once a day for preventive measure or two to three times a day to get rid of an infection is a good rule of thumb. I can tell you that after one dose, I slept the night through last night and feel a lot better today.

In 2006 a study showed that Black elderberry was 99% effective in destroying the H5N1 virus … a relative of the current H1N1 “swine flu”. Most recently a study showed that it was effective on the H1N1 as well. Bear in mind that these studies were all done in the lab but it seems to me that science is just catching up with tradition.

For once, this is a very tasty way of taking your medicine!