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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Another Gratuitous Elderberry Post

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.

Elderberry Elixir

Pint Jar

1/2 ounce of dried Elderberries
appr. 1 Pint Brandy
appr. 1/2-1 Cup Food Grade Vegetable Glycerine or Raw Honey

Place the berries in the jar, cover the berries with Brandy and then add Glycerine/Honey and Brandy to taste until the jar is full. Use at least 50 percent Brandy by volume in the jar to properly extract the Elderberry's healing qualities. You can also had a pinch of fresh Ginger, dried Calamus, Osha or some other warming circulatory stimulant to the mix for add benefit. I also always toss in a small handfull of dried Rosehips for good measure.

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.

Update: I realized that I forgot to add to my recipe that I usually let steep for four to six weeks before using, and then I usually don't decant until the jar is almost empty.


Unknown said...

Thanks for your recipie! I might try that this year instead of syrup, which is so loaded with sugar, but still mighty tasty. the elixir sounds lovely!
now just to find me some ripe berries!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe! I'll make up a batch and see if it works for me my family. That's strange, I'm in the phoenix area and I've had a sore throat for for about four days, but nothing else yet. I guess something's going around...

Anonymous said...

This sounds delightful--how long do you let it sit for the extract? Six weeks?


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