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  • Elderberry Syrup & Tincture – Viral Immune Support

    Elderberries – Photo provided by Pixabay

    This winter’s flu epidemic is widespread across our nation, while the flu shot did not have a positive efficacy in keeping people safe from the virus as promoted. As we all know, the flu shot is a guesstimate of what type of virus might be floating around when flu season actually arrives. There is no promise one will not get sick.

    I used to consume large amounts of vitamin C from September through April to support my immune system, while reducing the amount in the summer. Our family managed not to get sick. This worked for us, along with a healthy lifestyle. Still there was no guarantee one would not get ill, as colds and influenza are viral infections.

    More recently, as I have been working my way towards reducing supplement costs and dependency, I discovered an excellent option for overall immune support, with preventative cold and flu benefits. It is made with fresh or dried elderberries, which can be harvested or purchased, and easily made into a syrup. Once the syrup is made, I store it in the refrigerator, but if made in large batches, it can be frozen in ice cube trays to later put into freezer bags. It has a great flavor that even my husband can attest to, while also sharing that when he had a sore throat, it actually made him feel better within 30 minutes.

    I take a spoonful twice a day, where as my husband takes it in the morning unless he is run down from his day during this season of viruses, where he will consume another spoonful before going to bed at night.

    The European culture has a long history of using elderberries as a medicine as their remedy for flu and cold symptoms. Elderberries have high levels of antioxidants, Vitamin A, B, and C, along with potassium and calcium. Although they can be consumed in their natural berry state, when combined with other herbs and local honey, one is able to make elderberry syrup with additional benefits.

    Although my husband and I consume it as liquid medicine, 1 spoonful at a time, this syrup can be put on toast (as my oldest daughter does), on yogurt, ice cream, etc., as an enjoyable flavor while boosting one’s immune system.

    Please NOTE: When selecting elderberries, please be sure to harvest the blue or black berries, as the red berries are poisonous!!!

    Since my grandson is less than 2 years old, I asked my daughter if she was interested in having some for him, without the honey, that is highly recommended that a young person not consume until they are about two. Some share the age is one, but to be safe, consider 2 years the best age, unless your pediatrician supports your use of honey earlier.

    Don’t have time to make your own syrup or tincture? I recommend the Gaia brand.

    Health benefits of the ingredients in my Elderberry Syrups:

    Elderberries:
    – Minerals: iron, potassium, phosphorus, and copper
    – Vitamins, such as vitamin A, B, and C, as well as proteins and dietary fiber
    – Beneficial organic compounds that function as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents in the body
    – Other great benefits: Aids in digestion, improves heart health, improves respiratory health, boosts immunity, controls diabetes, improves bone health, improves skin health and reduce inflammation.

    Cinnamon (Ceylon is the healthier option):
    – Positive impact on blood pressure
    – Lowers fasting blood sugar levels
    – Helps to raise HDL (good) and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
    – Helps to reduce insulin resistance
    – Contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties
    – Anti-oxidants and protection from free radicals
    – Helps neurons and motor functions for those who suffer from neurological symptoms
    – Anti-carcinogeneic “effects”. It cannot cure, but through animal testing, has proven to slow the growth of cancer cells.
    – Anti-inflammatory – helpful for certain headaches, arthritis and other inflammatory response pain.
    – Boosts circulation
    – Helps manage female health concerns
    Please NOTE: Elderberry syrup is not the answer to these conditions, as it is created to help boost one’s immune system. But knowing that cinnamon has these benefits, more in the line of anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, etc,. makes it an excellent herb to have in one’s elderberry syrup, while fighting any viral condition.

    Cloves:
    Minerals in cloves include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
    – Vitamins include vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K.
    – Better digestion
    – Anti-bacterial
    – Anti-carcinogenic
    – Liver protection
    – Diabetic control
    – Bone preservation
    – Anti-mutagenic properties
    – Boosts immune system
    – Anti-inflammatory

    Honey – Local and Organic:
    – Contains Vitamin C, calcium and iron (healthy sweetener)
    – Helps with weight management
    – Boosts energy
    – Improves endurance and athletic performance
    – Anti-septic
    – Anti-oxidant
    – Skin care and wound healing

    Rose Hip Powder:
    – Contains Vitamin C, A, E, and vitamin B-complex
    – Contains Minerals: calcium, iron, selenium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, silicon, and zinc.
    – Anti-oxidant properties
    – Eliminate/reduce free radicals
    – Helps lower cholesterol and helps to control diabetes
    – Boost ones Immunity
    – Aids in digestion
    – Improves skin
    – Improve circulation
    – Enhance bone health

    Elderberry homemade syrups and tincture

    Recipe 1: Laura’s recipe for Elderberry Honey Syrup (for those over 2 years of age)

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c fresh (1/2 c dried) organic elderberries.
    • 3 cups of filtered water
    • 1 organic cinnamon stick (3-4″ in length) OR 1 tsp cinnamon powder. I prefer the cinnamon stick 🙂
    • 3 organic cloves
    • 1 c raw local honey
    • 1 Tbsp. dried rose hip powder (optional, although I use it for the additional benefits it provides)
    • NOTE: Some recipe’s use 2 Tbsp. organic ginger root. I don’t, only because my husband and I are not fond of the flavor, but if this is your preference, then that is a excellent choice)

    Let’s get started:

    1. In a saucepan, place your water, berries, cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan.
    2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
    3. Now that the berries have had a chance to soften, releasing all their nutrient benefits, smash the berries to release the remaining juice.
    4. Strain the mixture, then mix in your rose hip powder.
    5. Allow to cool, then add in your honey, and mix well.
    6. Pour into prepared, sterile jars, and refrigerate.

    Should last 2-3 months in the refrigerator. For my husband and I, this recipe lasted us about 6 weeks.

    Please NOTE: To boost your immunity, without the symptoms of a virus (cold, flu, etc.) take at least 2-3 times a week. We take it once a day in the morning, but add a second dose if we have been exposed to sneezy, breezy germ spreading individuals who are out and about, or when we feel a sore throat coming on.
    Adult dosage is 1 Tbsp., and a child’s dosage is 1 tsp.
    When experiencing cold and flu symptoms, one can take more frequently, such as every 2-3 hours as needed.

    Recipe 2: Laura’s recipe for Elderberry Vodka Tincture (Adults ONLY!!)

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 full pint jar of fresh (1/4 full of dried) organic elderberries.
    • 1 organic cinnamon stick (3-4″ in length)
    • 1 organic clove
    • 1 tsp. dried rose hip powder (optional)
    • If using dried elderberries, cover elderberries with filtered water.(should be to the 1/2 point of your jar)
    • Vodka, enough to fill jar within 1″ of the top of your jar

    Directions

    1. Fill a jar 1/2 full with your fresh elderberries (or 1/4 full with dried elderberries).
    2. Add remaining dry ingredients
    3. Pour vodka over ingredients to within 1″ of the top of the jar.
    4. Put a lid on the jar and place in a dark cabinet for 8 to 12 weeks.
    5. Shake the jar every few days.
    6. When the infusion process is done, pour into a bowl to crush the berries.
    7. Strain the berries and herbs from the vodka.
    8. Pour strained tincture into a clean jar with tight lid. I prefer tincture bottles with a dropper which I find great for storage as well as for travel.
    9. Store in a dark area, away from the sun.

    Great to use when a cold, flu, cancer sores, or other viral infection rears its nasty head.
    Use 1 tsp, no more than 3 times a day.
    Please NOTE: This recipe is not sweet!! But, for those who cannot have honey or glycerine, it is a alternate option.

    Some people might experience a burning sensation due to the alcohol, if that is the case, simply mix your 1 tsp. in water to tone that down.

    Tinctures have a longer shelf life, due to the alcohol, providing a nice back-up for various viral conditions during the non-cold and flu season, as well as for those who need to have something that can be easily transportable.

    Recipe 3: Laura’s recipe for Elderberry Glycerin Syrup (for those under 2 years of age)

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c fresh (1/4 c dried) organic elderberries.
    • 1 c filtered water
    • 1 organic cinnamon stick (3-4″ in length)
    • 1 organic clove
    • 1/2 c food grade glycerin
    • 1 tsp. dried rose hip powder (optional)

    Directions:

    1. In a saucepan, place your water, berries, cinnamon and clove in a saucepan.
    2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
    3. Now that the berries have had a chance to soften, releasing all their nutrient benefits, smash the berries to release the remaining juice.
    4. Strain the mixture, then mix in your rose hip powder.
    5. Allow to cool, then add in your food grade glycerin, and mix well.
    6. Pour into prepared, sterile jars, and refrigerate.

    1 tsp. for immune support once a day. Every few hours when experiencing symptoms of the cold and flu.

    Please know, that although I love taking care of myself and my family’s health as naturally as possible, I also support the benefits of allopathic medicine. Physicians are not our enemy. A good physician wants us all to avoid pharmaceuticals whenever possible, while we support a healthy lifestyle with natural choices, yet sometimes we really need to benefit from their help in keeping ourselves and our children healthy. Never, ever feel that you are bothering your physician if you, your spouse & family members, or your child’s illness concerns you.

    Some helpful guidelines of when to call the doctor for your child:

    • Under 3 months: Any fever of 100.4°F or higher, even if he shows no other symptoms of illness. If the fever develops after office hours or on a weekend, go to the emergency room. Young babies have a limited ability to fight illness because their immune system isn’t fully developed. Young babies can’t tell you if they are really sick and there are some serious bacterial infections that they are more prone to, like kidney infections, blood stream, and pneumonia.
    • 3 to 6 months: A fever of 101°F or higher.
    • Over 6 months: A fever 103°F or higher.
    • Any age child: 

    • A fever measuring between 104ºF (40.0ºC) and 105ºF (40.6ºC)
    • Fever in a child over three months of age without an obvious source (accompanied by common cold symptoms, diarrhea, etc)
    • Fever more than 3 consecutive days with an obvious source of infection
    • Any fever without an obvious source of infection
    • Any fever and sore throat that lasts more than 24 to 48 hours
    • Signs of dehydration: dry mouth, a sunken soft spot, or fewer wet diapers (less than one every 8 hours)
    • Your child has a fever and pain when urinating
    • Your child is lethargic, refuses to eat, has a rash, or is having difficulty breathing
    • Your child has a febrile seizure
    • Your child has a fever and has recently returned from a trip abroad

    Seek immediate medical help if your child has:

    • A fever and is under 3 months old
    • A fever of 105ºF (40.6ºC) or higher
    • A fever and obvious breathing difficulties
    • A fever and is having trouble swallowing to the point where she is drooling because she is unable to swallow her own saliva
    • A fever and is still lethargic or listless even after taking fever-reducing medication
    • A fever accompanied with a headache, stiff neck, or purplish patches or tiny red spots on the skin
    • A fever and severe pain
    • A febrile seizure lasting 15 minutes or more
    • A febrile seizure and he’s having trouble breathing afterwards
    • A fever and has compromised immunity (i.e. if the child is on chemotherapy for cancer):

    Be well while boosting your immune system,

    ~ Laura

    Laura D. Field – Blogger and paid Freelance writer

    Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com
    Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com
    Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com & www.seamstobeme.davinadawnsewing.com

    RESOURCES:

    https://www.organicfacts.net/elderberries.html
    httos://www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html
    https:///www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/rose-hips.html
    https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/ health-benefits-of-honey.html
    https://www.emedicinehealth.com/flu_in_children_health/page4_em.htm

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  • Nutritious and Delicious – Exceptional Berries and Fruit

    Berries pack nutritional wealth - full of antioxidants and fiber, with natural sugar. Laura - Potpourri of Health
    Berries pack nutritional wealth – full of antioxidants and fiber, with natural sugar.
    Laura – Potpourri of Health

    Nutritious and Delicious – Exceptional Berries and Fruit

    ~ Fruit that are high in Antioxidants and Fiber ~

    By Laura D. Field – Potpourri of Health ~ May 26, 2014

    Summer time is fast approaching, and if you are like me, you look forward to this berry-picking time of year. I can literally spend hours in a berry patch!! And then later, while cleaning and preparing for salads and desserts, I also prepare them for freezing.

    Despite the number of hours of freezing from the prior years sowing, the berries of summer past can only last so long, so you look forward to this new season with a fresh anticipation of fruits fresh from the vines.

    The best part about berries and other fruit from summer and fall harvests, is not only are they nutritious and delicious, they are also full of antioxidants and fiber which support our body’s ability to run efficiently.

    The fruits in which the USDA deems as exceptionally high in antioxidants are:

    The #1 is Wild Blueberries!! One might think that a blueberry is a blueberry, and they taste relatively the same. The main difference has to do with its obvious size variation. The wild blueberries are much smaller, and in comparing how many one can get in a cup, more than 150 of the wild ones vs. 80-90 of the cultivated berries, you discover that there is more surface area (skin) on the wild berries. So, not only do you get more fiber, but you also get more of its nutritional antioxidant benefit.

    Blackberries – another berry with a fiber coating that packs quite a nutritional kick with a great deal of antioxidant benefit. A firm, dark, ripened blackberry is at its peak and the sweetest. Be sure not to consume the red ones until they have ripened. And avoid any over-ripen, mushy ones. Since they are quickly perishable, consume quickly, and if you cannot consume in an adequate time, such as after you have gone out picking, be sure to flash freeze them.

    Raspberries – Similar to that of blackberries, raspberries provide a healthy source of low-calorie sugar (sweetness), and a great deal of nutritional benefit. Raspberries have a great source of vitamins that are high in B-complex, which help the body with the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Select shiny, deep red berries with an attached green cap, which are firm and plump.

    Strawberries – Another favorite of mine, and should soon be ready for picking. Many of the same nutritional properties of the other berries already mentioned, providing a rich source of essential nutrients for our health. For me, strawberries are the kick-start of the berry-picking season. Be sure to pick fully firm, red strawberries. Leave the mushy ones to nurture the ground and avoid the ones that are still white and slightly pink. I wash mine when I get home, then prepare them for flash freezing, as well as use for salads and desserts.

    Other fruits that are quite beneficial for antioxidant properties are:

    • Apples – Red delicious and Granny Smith
    • Cranberries
    • Cherries (sweet)
    • Plums (Black)
    • Prunes

    Since berry picking, cleaning, and prepping can be time consuming, I personally tend to freeze much of what I pick, while enjoying some for a few days. The benefit of picking in large amounts, is that on a day you are home, possibly a rainy Saturday afternoon, you can spend your time making jams, pies, desserts, smoothies, etc. from those frozen berries. Of course, one needs to have a large freezer to put them aside.

    One of the favorite jams I have made over the last couple years is a tri-berry jam that incorporates blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. It is amazing!!

    Laura

    Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com

    Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

    Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com

     

    Online Resources:

    http://www.superfoodsrx.com/healthyliving/wild-blueberries-benefits/

    http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/blackberries.htmlhttp://www.nutrition-and-you.com/raspberry.html

    http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/strawberries.html