Cold and flu season arrives with the start of the new school year. Even though my children are homeschooled, we still feel the effects of the germ invasion. Preparation is the key to wellness. If you wait until you are sick and then scramble around for a remedy, it’s already too late. Most remedies work to prevent or shorten duration of an illness but work best if taken at the first sign of getting sick. A scratchy throat. A headache. Sore muscles.
Elderberry elixir is one of my favorite remedies to keep on hand for times when I know I’ve been exposed to something icky or I feel under the weather. It’s shelf stable so it can be made ahead and then stored in the medicine cabinet until it’s needed.
Elderberries are renowned for their immune boosting properties and for being able to stop viruses from replicating. Don’t believe that? Google it! They are antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant-rich. They are full of vitamins, especially the all-important Vitamin C! A force for germ-fighting good on it’s own, paired with other herbs it is an immune boosting powerhouse!
If you can find fresh elderberries, great! If not, you can buy them already dried and they work just fine.
I was inspired to make elderberry elixir from a post I read at Cauldrons and Crockpots. I started out with a basic recipe and it’s compounded from there.
You can mix any herbs you desire to the elixir. These are what I chose for my most recent batch.
- Echinacea root and leaf
- Lemon Peel
- Orange Peel
- Reishi Mushrooms
- Juniper Berries
- Rose Hips
Bulk herbs are also available from Mountain Rose Herbs.
I make a big batch of this in a half-gallon mason jar but you can make it in a pint or quart jar to suit your needs. To save us all from having to do math, I’m posting the recipe in “parts”. A part is any measurement that you choose. If your recipe says 1 part elderberries and 1/2 part elderflowers you would choose either a cup, 1/2 cup, teaspoon or whatever for your part and go from there. So, if you chose a cup for the elderberries you would use 1/2 cup for the elderflowers and so on. It’s easy!
Here’s how you mix the elixir:
Layer your herbs and spices in the jar. If you are using fresh elderberries use half the amount as you would dried.
Shake the jar to mix the herbs and spices and fill 1/3 of the jar with raw honey and the rest with brandy. You’ll need to shake the jar or stir the herb mixture as you go to get the honey down in there.
Put a lid tightly on the jar and label it with the date (and with what you put in it). Place on a shelf for 6 weeks and then strain and bottle it (blue cobalt 2oz dropper bottles shown). Store it wherever you keep you other herbal tinctures.
I don’t recommend this for pregnant or breastfeeding mamas or for those with autoimmune diseases. It’s a powerful immune stimulant and while safe for most, if you are any of the above, take caution and consult your own herbalist or healthcare provider. You can always use herbs that are not contraindicated while pregnant and breastfeeding to make it more friendly for you.
The recommended dosage is for adults, at first sign of illness take 1/4 tsp. (or 1-3 droppers full) every couple of hours until symptoms subside. If you are already sick, take it every hour or as needed. Kids can get half the adult dose. I prefer it in a little glass of water as it is very potent!
- 1 part elderberries
- 1/2 part elderflowers
- 1/4 part mullein
- 1/4 part boneset
- 1/4 part reishi mushrooms
- 1/4 part echinacea
- 1/4 part rosehips
- 1/8 part thyme
- 1/8 part juniper berries
- 1 tsp cinnamon per quart
- 1/2 tsp cardamom per quart
- 1 inch fresh ginger, chopped per quart or 1 TBS dried
- Peel of 1/2 lemon or 1 TBS dried lemon peel
- Layer herbs in jar and shake to blend.
- Add honey to 1/3 of jar and brandy to the rest and mix either by shaking or with a wooden spoon.
- Lid and label jar.
- Allow to sit for 6 weeks and then strain and store in an amber or cobalt bottle.
What’s your favorite herbal remedy?
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