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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my sweet friend, Raia, author of Raia’s Recipes. Raia is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom of five crazy kids. After the birth of her third child, she was diagnosed with celiac disease. This discovery turned her bread and pasta-filled life upside down and set her on a mission to find out what healthy meant for her family. Aspiring to encourage other moms, she started her blog filled with simple, easy, healthy dishes. Stop by Raia’s Recipes to get plenty of real food, gluten-free recipes and much more!}

Elderberry syrup has long been known for its medicinal benefits, but many of the syrups on the market are rather expensive and contain unnecessary additives. You can still benefit from this traditional remedy, save your wallet, and make it even healthier by making your own!

Even though I was raised on the more natural & holistic side of healthcare, it wasn’t until last year that I was introduced to elderberry syrup. I’d seen many articles about the benefits of taking it during cold & flu season, but honestly, since going gluten-free my family hasn’t really struggled with sickness that much.

Last winter, though, we all came down with the sniffles and one of my friends offered me an extra bottle of elderberry syrup she had on hand. I took it thankfully, even though I wasn’t really sure I needed it.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

When I got home and tried a little, it was love at first sip. I didn’t care if I was getting sick or not. My pregnant immune system started craving elderberry syrup! I went through the 8 oz. bottle in a few weeks.

(Please note that some doctors suggest pregnant or nursing women should stay away from elderberries, but I tend to listen to my body more than most doctors, and I haven’t experienced any negative effects from drinking the syrup while pregnant.) 

Now, I’m not saying that you should binge drink it like I did, but elderberry syrup actually is good for your immune system!

Traditionally known for its antioxidant benefits, the bioflavonoids in the elderberries actually destroy a virus’ ability to infect a cell, protecting against infections.

The berries also contain vitamins A & B6, potassium, iron, betacarotene, quercetin, amino acids, and more vitamin C than oranges!

If you are planning on drinking it, remember to go slow, as some people find that too much can have a laxative effect.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

When I had finished my bottle and went online to replenish my new addiction herbal remedy, I scoffed at the prices!

“This has to be cheaper to make than it is to buy.” And yes, it is. Not only is it cheaper, you have more control over what ingredients are in your syrup. Notice the extra ingredients on the label of this popular health store brand:

Glycerin, deionized water, natural raspberry flavor, citric acid, cellulose gum, cranberry juice powder.

Necessary? Not by a long shot. And who knows how helpful those extras really are. I love making my own and being able to add in whatever healthy herbs and spices I want!

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

For information on ingredients for this recipe, check out my Resources page here.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ⅔ c. dried elderberries
  • 3½ c. filtered water
  • 1-2 t. ground ginger
  • 1½ T. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground cloves
  • 3-4 T. red raspberry leaf
  • 6-8 T. honey
Instructions
  1. Combine everything but the honey in a 2-quart saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  3. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half (1-2 hours, depending on your stove).
  4. Turn off heat and stir red raspberry leaf.
  5. Let syrup cool to room temperature.
  6. Stir in honey, then strain syrup into a pint-sized jar.
  7. Store in the fridge.
Notes
Serving size: 1-2 teaspoons a day, as needed.
 

Learn More About Basic Herbal Preparations

If you’re new to herbs and are feeling confused about all the different preparations for them, don’t be! Let me help you out with this Basic Herbal Preparations post. You can also watch the videos below to learn more about a couple herbal preparations and about my favorite source for organic, sustainably harvested herbs.

Supporting a The Adrenals, Thyroid, and Whole Body Through Herbs

When it comes to supporting overall wellness, herbs are a great tool to have in your toolkit, especially those who may be dealing with chronic illness of some type. Since 2009, when I started this site, I have met thousands upon thousands of people through my work and by far, the #1 health complaints are:

Because of this, I wanted to add in a section into this post about the benefit of using herbs with chronic illness.

If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, I’m sorry to break it to you, but caffeine may not be your best friend. 🙁 While you can find lots of info online in both the pro- and the anti-coffee camps, the fact of the matter comes down to the fact that are a lot of people dealing with chronic illness, especially thyroid and adrenal problems, that simply cannot tolerate coffee and caffeine.

While those with sluggish adrenal glands tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. I go into the “whys” around caffeine and your adrenals in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can further exacerbate the toxic load on the body.

When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue, one of the first things that had to go was coffee. In addition to dealing with these issues, we suspected that I was having some detox pathway sluggishness so we wanted to also focus on supporting the liver and lymph systems. Most people who are dealing with chronic illness are also going to have issues with detoxification of the body, which is why herbs can play such an important role. 

To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.

But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.

And it sucked.

I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store’s shelves.

Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs.

Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body’s function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. All of the herbs used in my “coffee” blends have been used for thousands of years to support the body’s normal functions and help everything work a little better — something we all need in today’s toxic world! (psst, dandelion is one of the herbs!)

When it came to creating these blends, if I could get something to not only tasted amazing (and helped me recreate my dearly loved ritual), but also did amazingly supportive things for my body, then it’s a no brainer!

I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for awhile and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.

After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home. 

That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief.

Now in its second edition, this ebook features:

  • All of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.
  • A ton of researched information about coffee’s impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.
  • Information about all of the herbs used, why I selected them, how to source them, how to prepare and store you “coffees”, and much more.
  • Access to your own personal coffee shop where I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here. Only real food.

This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2015 // deliciousobsessions.com

 

References on elderberries:

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