• Tag Archives Vitamins
  • 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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  • What Is Up With Gummy Supplements?

    What Is Up With Gummy Supplements?

    By Laura D. Field – July 27, 2015

    The other day while walking through the store, searching for a supplement I take which I normally purchase online, I was completely shocked over the number of available “gummy” type vitamins that are now available and for all ages. The aisle on one side was full of various gummy supplements, and not just a multivitamin for children or the calcium chews for women. My first thought was the effect it can have on ones teeth. My second thought was whether these supplements provided an individual enough nutrition to make it worth the sugar that would be in these delectable treats.

    Those who provide these to their children, elderly parents, or even take them themselves might be offended by my use of “delectable treats”, although my intent is not to insult. My point is that when we make nutrition all about the “sweetness” and not about actual nutrition, we might be getting away from why supplements are even available. Sometimes we over compensate by being “safe” in taking a multi-vitamin “just in case” we are not getting sufficient nutrition through the foods we consume.

    Eating healthy with plenty of vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes, etc., is in reality the best medicine we can provide for our bodies. Teaching our children to enjoy these foods at a young age, will allow them to enjoy what naturally is available to us, and not under the guise of supplements. We must remember that supplements are also a medicine, which can affect how your physician might treat you and your children when one is ill.

    Children are influenced, at a very early age, as to their choice in foods. If they are presented with sugary substitutes, they will continue to crave them. When their diets are balanced with a variety of natural flavors and textures, they will be drawn to them as they grow as a preferred food source.

    In all transparency, I do take natural supplements, but I do not consume gummy brands, as I do not feel I need to complement a supplement with sugar to “make the medicine go down”. I once did take a multivitamin, and although it was natural, I stopped taking it because I knew that I was eating healthy and getting the bulk of my nutrition through the foods I chose to eat. After I was off that multi-vitamin for a month, and noticed no change in my health or how I felt, I realized that there was no need to continue with it. That was when I also stopped taking other supplements, and as long as my annual blood work comes back normal and I feel healthy, then I do not feel I need to return to consuming them. There are very few supplements I take, such as Vitamin C, E, D3, B12, and Fish Oil with a few specialty supplements, all of which were suggested by my physician, that I take due to health needs.

    I do realize that some supplements that one might need, such as calcium, are quite large, while chewing on a tasty supplement is a bit more palatable, there are other options that might help to acquire this nutritional need such as: leafy greens, seafood, legumes, and fruit.  In addition, I do realize that some have health conditions that make it difficult for a person to swallow any size pill and/or unable to consume certain foods, so supplement drinks or chewable supplements make it easier for those patients.

    If one finds that they need to supplement, and decide that the gummy formula’s to be preferable, it might be wise to consider reading the labels and viewing the label to educate yourself on what is added for sugar content, preservatives, artificial colorings and flavors, in order for the pleasing taste you acquire by consuming them.

    In order to not pick on any one particular supplement brand, I do recommend that one look at the ingredient list. If the first ingredient consists of corn syrup followed by sugar, then you might want to reconsider why you would even consider consuming that product or giving it to your child. These are common ingredients within the gummy supplements. And if one is confortable in consuming these products, one should be sure to brush their teeth after, as the sticky, sugar residue will aid in the need for additional dental visits. Also, excess sugar, even in small doses, can have an impact for other and/or additional health complications.

    Be sure that what you are supplementing your body with, is in fact what your body needs. Since supplements are sold over the counter, they are basically safe given the dosage amounts that are recommended, but the danger comes in when the flavor tastes like candy, that one can easily overdose, such as with a child who sees them as a treat (if you give them after breakfast like you would dessert). They can also be dangerous if you are taking them to self-treat an illness. In addition, taking supplements do not guarantee protection for disease or illness. They are meant as a supplement vs. a substitute for ones nutritional needs.

    Be safe, be healthy, and eat your veggies.

    Laura – Blogger and paid Freelance writer

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

    RESOURCES:

    • http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09338.html
    • http://www.forbes.com/sites/marijkevroomendurning/2013/09/12/medicine-or-treats-gummy-vitamins-and-chocolate-calcium-chews-blur-the-line-2/