Discovering Elderberries

July 25, 2015

A few years ago, I noticed my son was having frequent “little” colds. As moms, we expect the occasional runny nose and seasonal sick days – we bring out the pink medicine and it’s done! Well, my son seemed to be very sensitive to catching colds and it happened often. Coughing wasn’t that serious but I wanted to relieve the overall discomfort he experienced.  I finally learned that he had allergies…

organic elderberriesI gave him the usual over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines for children. Nothing seemed to really work. What they did do was make him tired and miserable. My instinct was at war with the practicality of using pharmacy shelf medicine. A good friend of mine mentioned that Echinacea was great but I wanted to try something else for those horrible gripes. Since I am always seeking out the healthiest and safest remedies for my family, I began doing some research on natural cold and allergy remedies. I specifically wanted to find herbal immune system boosters. I knew the benefits of Vitamin C as an immune system booster, but what else was out there?

I asked around and browsed my favorite health food stores, in-store and online. The obvious herbal cold remedy was echinacea. I had plenty of that at home so I continued to do my research. I ultimately discovered the benefits of elderberries. This berry sounded amazing as I educated myself about its properties. Elderberries or Sambucus nigra grows in sunny, moist, and open areas. The shrub produces a blueberry-like fruit. Elderberries have long been used as a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Available in health food stores are elderberry extracts, syrups, powders and organic elderberries.

Benefits of Elderberries (Sambucus nigra):
-enhances immune system
-Vitamins A and B
-Vitamin C
-relieves cold/allergy symptoms

The syrup itself is made with a base of elderberries and raw honey. I also came across a variety with added goodies such as ginger or echinacea. I always buy the certified organic brands when available. The best part of it all? They are divinely delicious! Children will not have a difficult time loving these berries. When nature provides, she truly provides!

I came across several recipes for homemade elderberry syrup. I have not personally tried any of them. Several species exist in the Sambucus family and I have read that the safest berries for consumption are those of the Sambucus Nigra family. If not prepared properly, the berries can be toxic. Several parts of the berries including the skin and leaves may be poisonous if handled incorrectly. Please read more about the toxicity of elderberry here. At the moment, I just feel safer buying the pre-made syrup. Whole Foods Market carries it but also check your local health food stores. This amazing syrup is a must-have for the natural remedies cabinet. Learn more…

Elderberry Syrup Recipes:
Mountain Rose Herbs
Frugally Sustainable
Wellness Mama

Where to Buy Elderberries and Elderberry Syrup:
Honey Gardens (Syrup)
iHerb (Syrup)
Gaia Herbs (Syrup, Extracts)
Mountain Rose Herbs (Elderberries, elderberry syrup, extract and powder)
Starwest-Botanicals (Elderberries)

*Please remember to seek the advice of your healthcare professional before trying alternate or new herbal remedies. Immune-enhancing elderberries are said to counteract with immune-suppressing medications such as those taken by transplant recipients.