This isn't normal for me. Usually, if my family gets something, I do too. Without exception. It makes me glad that we all tend to usually stay quite healthy through the seasonal adjustments.
As I study my herbalism now, I've gotten into the habit of keeping in stock homemade elderberry syrup in the fridge during the cold and flu season. I take it religiously: a couple spoonfuls first thing in the morning, maybe one at night. If I feel like something is coming on, I take a couple spoonfuls every few hours that I think about it.
Scientific studies have shown elderberries to be effective against up to eight different influenza viruses. It is believed that flavonoids, which elderberry is very high in, can disrupt the viruses ability to replicate. It is very effective against colds and flus.
Elderberry, on top of inhibiting virus reproduction, also directly stimulates the immune system. They also have an anti-inflammatory action; they've been used effectively to reduce arthritic pain and even strengthen the eyes.
While I've been enjoying adding elderberry to my diet for its immunomodulating powers, none of my family has taken to regularly imbibing the syrup (or really at all). You can bet I rubbed that in a bit as they struggled with not feeling very good! Just a tiny bit.
The elderberry syrup is yummy, to me anyway, and palatable to even young ones. But it still wasn't the kids favorite thing so they largely avoided it. Thinking about this, I found a recipe from my herbal courses to turn the syrup into gummy candies. I enlisted the help of Summer and together we created elderberry syrup and morphed it into gummies.
Summer helped me measure out 1/2 cup of dried elderberries. Elderberries must be cooked before being consumed.
We put it in a pot along with a cinnamon stick, a tablespoon of grated ginger, 5 cloves and 2 cups of water. We brought it all to a boil and simmered it for twenty minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce by half. This is how decoctions are made: the vigorous boiling allows the nutrients to be extracted from tough roots, bark and seeds.
Elderberry syrup can be made without the additional spices; they just add their own medicine to the mix.
The next step in making our elderberry syrup is straining the liquid and adding 1 cup raw honey. This is the syrup and keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
For the sake of gummies, we carried on with our syrup: cooling 1/2 cup in the fridge then adding 3 tablespoons gelatin, while we simmered the rest of it.
We combined and whisked then together (think jello) and poured them into a mold.
And besides, the syrup is so scrumptious. It's a wonderful way to stay healthy!