September 2021

Everything Elderberry

by gretchen heimsoth

It’s September, and for many of us we are finding ourselves back to in person school with our children, as well as most of us back at work in person. One can hardly check in to social media or turn on the television without hearing about the rise of the Delta variant. So I wanted to take a little time and talk about our dear friend, the Elderberry. Talk about Where it grows, it’s safety, it’’s effectiveness, it’s constituents and how to use it. Elderberry, or Sambucus nigra, Is a deciduous shrub, or small tree. It is native from Oregon all the way to Baja and all the way to Western Texas. It is rapid growing, and loves to find moist soil near stream sides or seeps. It has been used by native people and frontier settlers for centuries. It is used for medicine, for food, for dye, and the flowers are used for infusing flavors in syrups and liquors. 
Elderberry is considered safe in small doses. If you find wild elderberries, they are collected around September and then they need to be dried and cooked. You don’t want to eat raw elderberries. Unripe or uncooked berries or flowers from the plant can cause, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Larger amounts can cause more serious poisoning.. If you buy prepared elderberry syrup or jam at sevet cetera you don’t have to worry about poison poison. And if you prepare items from dried elderberries, you also don’t have to worry. 

Elderberry is high in antioxidants and vitamins. The chemical constituents in the berries please may help tame inflammation and protect the cardiovascular system. A study from Israel has shown that helps shorten the duration of the flu, by up to half!!! The plant contains chlorogenic acid and neochlorogenic acid, as well as several forms of quercetin. Chlorogenic acid helps protect the heart, and modulate glucose metabolism. Quercetin lower’s inflammation, helps fight allergies, also supports heart health and helps fight pain. 

These compounds are what gives Elderberry It’s magic. If you use elderberry and a syrup for food or a jam, you would just use as you would use any other similar item. If you’re using elderberry as a medicine medicine, most common and a honey syrup form, you generally give one tablespoon every 4 hours. Using elderberry this way is generally considered safe.. There are some people who are allergic who are allergic, so if you’ve never consumed elderberry and and finds you have any allergic symptoms symptoms after using it thing may be considered discontinuing. 

I’ve been using elderberry with my children for several years now. I love to make the infused honey syrup with fresh Ginger, cinnamon stick, orange peel and whole cloves. I’ll even infuse thyme in there for extra respiratory medicinal benefit. I use local honey to ensure its real honey, as well as reep some of the subtler benefits of consuming local honey. The syrup is easy to make, and can be modified to suit your needs it’s. If it comes up too thin you can always add a little extra honey for viscosity.. And you can add or subtract the Ginger or the herbs according to your liking. Cinnamon, ginger and cloves are also powerful good based antivirals. I encourage including them! 


Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry is high in antioxidants and vitamins. The chemical constituents in the berries please may help tame inflammation and protect the cardiovascular system.
Author Biscuits and beets


  • 3 1/5 cups Water
  • 2/3 cup Dried Elderberries
  • 1 tsp Cinnamom
  • 1 cup Raw Honey


  • Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
  • Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
  • Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
  • Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool. When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
  • When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a mason jar! Refrigerate. Can be kept for 6 weeks.

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