How do we build a rock hard immune system? Well… I don’t know! But I do know that I feel a teensy bit more nervous each day that the news discusses the Coronavirus. And the flu. And the lack of masks. ;-) . This elderberry syrup recipe is my go to right now.
Simple idea: Make your own Elderberry syrup
I was watching Shawn in the grocery store yesterday buying an extra rice, an extra can of beans, more frozen food, and it caught my attention because the two of us are usually very laid back about things. But living post-tsunami in Japan did shape us when it comes to humanitarian “disasters”. Safe food was really hard to come by. And some food was nearly impossible (butter for example). The store was sold out of butter for weeks! Maybe even months.
“Disasters” do have a way of sneaking up on us and although I haven’t been fraught with worry about the Coronavirus, I am interested in boosting our immune systems and giving us the best fighting chance we have. Even if Coronavirus doesn’t make its way to us, plenty of other viruses have, and will. I think it’s impossible to avoid some of this stuff, but why not try? At least that’s my opinion.
So over the years, I’ve tried tons of different ideas for natural immune boosters, but here are my favorite: homemade elderberry syrup, Thieves® oil, oranges. If you’re looking for something, hopefully these will help.
1. Elderberry Syrup Recipe:
I make my own homemade Elderberry syrup. I learned this from my sister, and it’s much more affordable and better tasting than the store bought kind. Plus, you know what’s in it. If you’d like to read up on elderberries from a “medicinal” point of view, there’s a great article on Healthline. I like the kid-approved elderberry syrup recipe from Proverbial Homemaker best. Here is how I adjust it for myself.
- 1 cup Elderberries – I like this brand (it seems expensive, but this lasts for a long time)
- 2 cups Water
- 1/2 cup (or so) Apple Cider Vinegar – I just pick this up at the grocery store but here it is on Amazon
- 3/4 cup (or so) Raw Honey – I also pick this up at the store, but I try to find a small local company for it (an article that convinced me of that). If you’re vegan, I have used pure maple syrup for this, and the flavor was different… but the kids still gobbled it up. Agave would be another option to try.
- 3/4 Tbsp Cinnamon – from my spice rack
- NOTE: Play with the amount of apple cider vinegar and honey you add to bring this to your own sweet and sour tastebuds
- I rinse my elderberries in a fine mesh strainer (I couldn’t find a definitive answer about this online, so I just rinse them.)
- Combine elderberries, water and cinnamon in a saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer, cover, and leave for one hour. Raw elderberries can be toxic, so make sure these truly do simmer for an hour.
- Remove pan from the heat and mash the berries with a potato masher. Let the mixture cool until warm. Add honey and apple cider vinegar and mix well, then test the taste. I think the flavor is a little different for every family, so strike the balance between honey and vinegar that works for you.
- Place a fine mesh strainer on top of another saucepan in the sink and pour your mixture into the strainer (collecting the liquid in the saucepan below). Use your masher again to get out all excess liquid.
- Put the finished syrup into glass jars and store in your refrigerator.
- We take a tablespoon a day, or a smaller spoonful in the morning and again at night.
- When we feel sickness coming on, or know that someone around us is sick, we up our game to a tablespoon in the morning, and a tablespoon at night.
- The original elderberry syrup recipe says that it can last 2-4 weeks in the refrigerator and up to a year in the freezer.
I am not a doctor, nutritionist, health coach or anything of the sort. This post is simply for sharing ideas, not to take the place of professional medical advice. Please consult a doctor if your child is sick.
Also a heads up that some of the products linked to in this post are affiliate links. I use affiliates to help me continue my mission of building this brand and making life a little better for animals and the earth. I would never share a product I do not believe in and use myself.
2. Young Living Thieves Oil:
The second thing I do every night during cold season is apply Young Living Thieves® Oil to our feet under our socks. I believe it helps us, but of course I do not have evidence for this so please don’t take it as a medical claim. ;-) . It’s just something I want to share because it works for me. I dilute it 50/50 with olive oil before applying.
If you don’t have a Young Living distributor near you and want to learn more about essential oils and becoming a member for discounts, I suggest connecting with Brooke from Essentially Infused Home. If you already know you like essential oils, you can grab Thieves® at the retail price here.
Ok maybe this one is common sense! But I still swear by oranges. We like the Cuties® brand. They’re easy to peel, even for the kids. And they almost always taste great. You can find them at most grocery stores in the US. Outside of the US, look for Japanese “mikan”. These little orange mikans are even better! I’m not sure how hard they are to come by outside of Japan, but hopefully with Cuties® and/or mikan you’ll be set. Good old oranges would clearly do the job too. We just up our consumption of these to 2 a day too if we’re feeling worried.
So that’s our cold season trifecta: homemade elderberry syrup, Thieves® essential oil, oranges. I hope it helps! Please share your favorite natural ways of preventing illness in the comments below. The more ideas we have the better chance at all of us finding something that works at for us.