Oct 14, 2014

Elderberries & Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry - [Gouache & Pencil]
So if you've known me more than 15 minutes, you probably know how much I like plants, and herbal medicines, and yes, tinctures and ointments (so fun to say) and salves (also fun to say but more fun to make). Well, I'm learning all about ELDERBERRIES - and made my first batch of elderberry syrup last week.

And then I got to thinking - is this just a folk remedy thing? Don't get me wrong, I think folk remedies are awesome and I completely value the knowledge of those who have gone before me - but I was curious about recent studies done on the herb. Does elderberry really help with the flu and sinusitis and colds?

Turns out, several studies may show elderberry to be helpful with all these things! A small study in Norway found that those participants taking 15ml of elderberry extract 4 times a day had relieved symptoms an average of FOUR DAYS earlier as compared to those using placebo. Watch a short video about Elderberry by Tierana Low Dog, MD here.

Have you ever been sick? Do you remember wondering what it was like when you felt normal? Four days shorter!? That's like an eternity when you have a cold!

This summary from the University of Maryland says that elderberry probably reduces inflammation of the mucus membranes and also decreases nasal congestion while boosting your immune system. YES, sign me up. Now, read further in that summary as it mentions a couple of cautions: like if you're pregnant or taking immuno-suppressant drugs (in both of these cases the possible immune stimulating effects of elderberry would not be recommended). Always remember that plant compounds can interact with presciption drugs - so you really should check into that before you use herbal preparations.

However, the berries (cooked first and made into a syrup) have been used for a long time in Europe to treat colds and flu, so my family will continue to make use of this amazing berry!

Here's how I make my elderberry syrup. Super simple.

3 1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup elderberries (dried)
Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Cool a bit and then filter through whatever you use to filter things. (I use a muslin cloth.) Squeeze out the berries at the end to get the last of your 'tea'. I compost the spent berries or feed them to my chickens.

I put everything in a quart jar and sweeten to taste with raw honey. I use between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of honey.

I keep the concoction in the fridge and give my family about 2 tsp several times a day when they're sick.

And one of the best things about elderberry (syrup)? My kids LOVE the taste! One of them asked if she could even have it on her plain yogurt for breakfast!







And now, because I am not a doctor, my disclaimer!
The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Discuss this information with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you.  All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I can not and do not give you medical advice. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad consumer understanding and knowledge.  The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your physician or other health care provider.

ARToberfest / day thirteen

Fall Leaf
Not much to say about this leaf except that the colors were amazing!

Oct 13, 2014

ARToberfest / day twelve

Hanging Lamp
Had fun on an 'art date' with my girls. It was really fun for a couple of reasons. 1) They didn't fight and 2) We didn't spill ANY water all over the booth this time!

Here's my contribution.

Oct 11, 2014

ARToberfest / day eleven

pumpkins & apples
I threatened pumpkins and here they are. This was super fun and I even surprised myself with how well it turned out.

What's your favorite fall flavor?

Our tradition: pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!

Hmm.

Oct 10, 2014

ARToberfest / day ten

Fall is Finally Here!
Fall is finally here and I love it. My clogs are out - my scarves are prepped.

I think of cozy candles, hot cocoa with a titch of orange oil in it, Christmas music (but not yet) and pumpkins all over the place.

Fall is my favorite of all favorite seasons!

[gouache & watercolor]