Soooo I’m sure you heard by now that the flu has grown to be an epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, every state in the U.S is seeing a “widespread” virus activity. Their solution to this flu epidemic is to take the flu shot. I for one will not be doing that. I’ve heard and seen so many horrible stories and controversial issues regarding the flu shot, that I just don’t trust it. And not only that, but I actually took the flu shot twice when I used to work at the hospital and I got sick both times. But before working at the hospital, I never took it and I was completely fine.
Recently my boyfriend and I took a trip to New York to visit family for the holidays and we got sick almost immediately. I’m not sure if there is something in the air or if New York finally reached its maximum capacity with people, but whatever it was it came with a vengeance and we wanted no parts of it. Now that we’re much better, I decided to look up a healthy alternative to the flu shot so we can better prepared next time.
My solution is Elderberry Syrup.
Have you ever heard of it? Well me either! But here is what I found.
Elderberry Syrup is an anti-viral immune booster that can either be taken to prevent sickness or decrease the duration if you start doses within 24-72 hours of getting sick. It comes from the elderberry plant also known as Sambucus nigra. This plant or shrub has large clusters of delicate creamy-white flowers that emerge into purplish-black berry clusters that are used to make medicine.
A West Branch Elderberries article stated that elderberries were traditionally used as food to make elderberry wine, pies and as a flavoring or dye. However, the extracts of these berries are currently used in western medicine as antiviral agents for colds, influenza and herpes virus infection. Research also shows that it has immune-modulating, antioxidant and insulin-stimulating properties.
Elderberry is known for its bright color, fragrant scent and tartness in flavor. Most people seem to enjoy its syrup more than regular cough medicine. So if you’re worried about keeping cooties away from your husband or kids this flu season, this makes a great alternative. Not only are these small berries known for their delightful flavor, but they contain flavonoids making it an “antioxidant-rich” fruit that is capable of preventing cell damage. It also has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties. According to an Herb Wisdom article, elderberry is used to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, to improve heart health, coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections.
Elderberries are a good source of
- Fiber and vitamin A with 17 % of the daily value
- Vitamin C with 87% of the daily value (more than any other plant besides rosehips and black currants.)
- Iron with 13% of the daily value
- Vitamin B6
So How Does It Work?
The bioflavonoids and other proteins in the elderberry syrup boost the body’s immune system by increasing antioxidant levels, helping to destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Not only that, but the high contents of vitamins A and C in elderberries help the body maintain optimal health, especially if taken daily.
According to a study in the Journal of International Medical Research, patients given elderberry syrup recovered an average of 4 days faster from the flu than those not taking the supplement.
HOW TO TAKE & MAKE ELDERBERRY SYRUP
One teaspoon of elderberry syrup twice daily should do the trick!
You can take it straight or add it to your morning lemon water, which I heard is delicious. It’s not only safe for kids, but for pregnant and nursing women too.
You can also make your own. Real Food RN, has this great recipe, that includes dried elderberry, honey, ginger, clove and cinnamon. It’s been said that making your own elderberry syrup is more fresh and cheap, but I’ll definitely put it to the test sometime this year.
In the meantime, here are two of the most popular forms that I found on amazon.
Nature’s Way Elderberry Syrup:- http://amzn.to/2Do61il
Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup:- http://amzn.to/2F0Wiz1
If you purchase be sure to let me know how it worked out for you!
As a budding herbalist, I will definitely add elderberry to my first aid kit. One thing I learned after catching the flu, other than always wear a hat, was that there isn’t a more important time to take care of your body, than right now. Stress, more than anything is what weakens the immune system and I can attest to that. So just remember to take a deep breath and that your body is strong. Don’t feel pressured to take the flu shot, when there are much healthier alternatives out there for you!
What do you do when you’re sick or have the flu? Do go to the doctor, take over the counter medicine or do you use your own natural remedy? Have you ever took the flu shot? If so, what was your experience? Also, what do you think about the media broadcasting the flu epidemic, like a plague? I want to hear all about it.
Post your tips, advice and experiences in the field below. Don’t be stingy, share your knowledge!