I don’t find the idea of magic bullets to be very effective in healing, and find that the most successful therapy always originates in tailoring the treatment to the individual person and situation. For this reason, you’ll rarely see/hear me recommending a set formula or list of herbs for any given diagnosis. In fact, my answer is almost always, “it depends” to any question asking about herbs to treat a disease or disorder. This is because I work with people, and with the unique ways a virus or pattern may manifest in each person.
For an overall tonic approach to modulating and enhancing the body’s native immune system though, I’ve seen Elderberry really shine, even in people with excess inflammation and/or autoimmune disorders. This elixir is one of only a few herbal preparations I would never want to be without. Although most people use it primarily to ward off or quicken healing from acute viral issues (influenza, primarily), I have found it useful in a variety of situations, especially chronic hyper or hypo immunity, extended illness and other depletion syndromes. The elixir is generally safe for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers taken in the moderate amounts suggested here.
Gentle, safe and very effective, Elderberry is one of our most important immune tonics, and is especially notable for its viability for children. Not only does it work extremely well, it also tastes good, which is certainly a plus when trying to convince your four year old to take her medicine. Elder Mother Elixir is safe even for small children, a food-like medicine appropriate for all ages. It’s also easy to create, making it a fun project for the whole family.
Elderberry does not simply stimulate the immune system, instead, it modulates the immune system to more appropriately respond to environs and circumstance. It also disarms the some cold and flu viruses and helps them 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.
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).
▪ Several large pinches to a handful of dried Elder flowers (or a few ounces of Elderflower tincture added to the mix), this is optional, but my experience indicates that it makes the elixir more effective.
▪ 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. Likewise, staying well hydrated will assist Elder in its work.
▪ Warming spices such as fresh Ginger, Osha, Calamus, Orange peel, Cinnamon powder/sticks or Cardamom pods can add flavor and zing to the elixir.
▪ Rosehips make a very helpful addition, I usually add a small handful or more of fresh Rosehips per pint of elixir.
▪ Soothing lung herbs such a Licorice root, Peony root or Mullein can be extra helpful for people with a propensity towards lung weakness.