Everyone, or nearly so, in our small village has a terrible hacking, icky cold. All of us here at the Sanctuary have been a bit run down and short on sleep so it was no surprise when Loba woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat, low grade fever, muscle aches and copious phlegm and other face fluids…. She was miserable and overtired and begging for something to make it go away. First, I assigned her to extra sleep, instructed her to pour Fire Cider on everything she ate and drink lots of Ginger tea to enhance the body’s own virus fighting techniques of fever and sweating. She also ate easy to digest foods in small amounts in order to not further tax her system. AND, I dosed her up good with Elderberry Elixir, not that I don’t love Elderberry syrup, but I have found time after time that Elderberry is MUCH more effective when not heated in any way… my two favorite ways of preparing are the Elixir (see recipe below) and a honey paste with whole dried berries ground into raw local honey. I also had everyone else in the household start sucking down Elderberry Elixir.
And sure enough, after a good solid nap, and six or so doses of Elderberry she started to feel much much better. By the time she went to bed last night, she mostly just had some bodyaches and extra face fluid. By this morning, she just felt a bit run down and tired with just a little extra phlegm. I expect she’ll be all better by tomorrow morning. I want to point out that the average run time of this particular virus on other people in the village is at least a week, often with bronchial complications. And, none of the rest of us caught it. I started to feel a little bit off with a sore throat yesterday morning, but by the afternoon, I was fine.
To top it all off, Elderberry does not simply stimulate the immune system, which would make it somewhat dangerous to those with autoimmune disorders or certain other chronic diseases. Rather it modulates the immune system to more appropriately respond to environs and circumstance. It also disarms the virus and helps it flush through body quicker, while strengthening the mucus membranes, supporting the body’s natural fever mechanism without overheating, improves energy and stress handling AND last but certainly not least, it tastes great too.
I have tons of the Elderberry stories, I like this most recent one especially though because she was already sick, most of the time we just prevent the virus and never see many symptoms of it. Here, Loba was clearly manifesting signs of the same virus that was running around town.
If I had a snake bite, you bet I’d reach for the Echinacea. But for viral afflictions and general immune support, there’s no better herbal ally than the bounteous and lovely Elder!
As an aside, I don’t think that averting a virus is always the best course of action, sometimes we just need to get sick so we can spend a day in bed. Even so, I think Elderberry is a wonderful supportive therapy. Listen to your body and act accordingly.
For your elixir, it’s helpful to have on hand:
▪ A pint canning jar (or other glass jar that seals well)
▪ Fresh elderberries (dried can be used as well, simply use about a third of the amount, or about 2.5 oz to follow the 1:5 proportion method for dried plants).
▪ About a pint of high quality brandy (the better the brandy, the better your elixir will taste), depending on whether you’re using fresh or dried berries.
▪ Appr. 1/3 pint of raw honey (or to taste, as you prefer)
▪ A good stirring spoon
Step by Step Instructions
• First, fill your jar all the way to the top with fresh elderberries.
• Now, pour the honey in slowly, stirring as necessary, until the berries are well coated.
• Next, fill jar with brandy, stirring as you go, until all air bubbles are released.
• Now cover the jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake carefully to finish the mixing process.
• Let macerate in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks (or as long as you can stand to wait.
• Strain, reserving liquid. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Take 1/4 – 1/2 dropperfull of Elixir every two to three hours at the first sign of illness. You MUST take the Elixir frequently rather than having a bigger dose further apart, it just won’t work that way. Use the same dosage if you are actively ill. For a general preventative dose, I suggest 1/3 dropperfull every four hours or so.
Be sure to rest extra as well, the Elderberry has a much harder time with your immune system if you’re really worn down. A little extra sleep will increase its benefits tenfold.