This post on the benefits of elderberry (with an elderberry syrup recipe!) has been sponsored by Sweet’s, but all opinions are my own.
Last fall at the start of flu season, I was preparing to have a baby, which meant that I was doing anything and everything possible to keep my immune system functioning as best it could. I worked out regularly, drank green smoothies, ate very clean, and took some supplements like my prenatal vitamin, probiotics, and elderberry syrup, to name a few.
I remember my last few weeks of pregnancy so clearly. I went out to eat with a friend and I kept telling her how worried I was that I would get sick. After lunch, I sprinted to a local Marietta market called Nature’s Pick Market and picked up my favorite elderberry syrup. You see – I had done a lot of research when it came to elderberry syrup and I knew that the blend of ingredients in my favorite syrup (Sweet’s, by the way!) was formulated to help promote a healthy immune system.
While elderberry syrup has become increasingly popular over the past few years, a lot of people still do not take advantage of it…which is the point of this post! If you have been wanting to learn about the benefits of elderberry syrup or if you have been looking for an elderberry syrup recipe to try out, look no further!
The Benefits of Elderberry Syrup
First of all, what IS elderberry? Simple enough: elderberries are fruit that come from the elderberry shrub. Some common names are Sambucus Nigra, Elderberry, Black Elder, European Elder, etc. etc.
No matter what you choose to call it, elderberry is one of the top medicinal plants in the world. Rich in anthocyanins + bioflavonoids (antioxidants that boost the immune system) and other proteins that can disrupt a virus’ ability to infect cells, elderberry has been around for a long time – it definitely did not just become a new health trend over the past few years. In fact, Hippocrates, the Greek Father of Medicine, called elderberry his “medicine chest” for its variety of healing powers.
Since elderberries have antiviral properties that can disrupt a virus’ ability to infect cells, it can help shorten the duration and severity of colds, flu bugs, and sinus infections, as well. Anthocyanin also helps clear the body of free radicals that damage cells at the DNA level. Pretty cool, huh?
There have been a few studies that have shown great results, so it is not all talk and no show. Here are a few examples:
This clinical trial in Norway found that patients who used elderberry syrup were relieved of symptoms four days earlier (on average) compared to those that did not take elderberry syrup. In addition, it found that the patients who utilized elderberry syrup used less medication compared to the group of patients that took the placebo.
This meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials came to the conclusion that the findings present an alternative to antibiotic misuse for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections. In addition, they also came to the conclusion that the use of elderberry is a “potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza.”
But what about those who are not currently ill? Well, it looks like there are not a ton of long-term studies that have been done on healthy patients, BUT I did find one from 2012, which gave promising results! It concluded that elderberry stimulated an immune response, preventing viral infections.
My takeaway? There are so many benefits of elderberry syrup, especially when it comes to building a healthy immune system and reducing the severity and duration of illnesses.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
Sweet’s makes it simple to make elderberry syrup from the comfort of your own home. When you order an all natural elderberry syrup kit from Sweet’s, you get a bag that includes everything you need in it! All ingredients that they provide you with are high-quality, sustainably sourced, and organic. It will make 32 ounces of syrup and you can even freeze some of it for longer storage, which is amazing!
So, for this elderberry syrup recipe, you only need Sweet’s elderberry syrup kit and your sweetener of choice (I love local honey for the added benefits!). Plus, a few things that you should have sitting around the house like a cooking thermometer, funnel, and large pot, etc.
Here is everything you will need:
- Sweet’s elderberry syrup kit
- Large pot
- Large metal spoon
- Large bowl
- Fine mesh strainer
- Candy/cooking thermometer
- 5 cups of filtered water
- Hot, soapy water in the sink
- 1 1/4 cup sweetener of choice
- Two 16-oz jars with lids
- Add filtered water and contents of the kit to the large pot
- Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer
- Let syrup simmer 30-45 minutes, or until syrup has reduced by about half
- While syrup simmers, wash glass containers and lids in hot, soapy water. Rinse well with hot water and allow to drain and dry
- Meanwhile, place fine mesh strainer over the bowl
- Carefully pour contents of the pot through the strainer. Optional: add a cheesecloth, as well. Discard everything in the strainer
- Before you add your sweetener, allow the syrup to cool to 110° before adding honey (if that is what you are using!) as your sweetener- this protects the live honey enzymes and it is one reason that Sweet’s stands out from other brands
- Add sweetener of choice to syrup stirring with a metal spoon until completely blended
- Pour syrup through funnel into glass containers
- Put in the fridge or freezer immediately
The great thing about Sweet’s elderberry syrup kit is that it has everything you need in it to make your syrup and it gives you awesome tips along the way! I won’t give those away — you have to grab one for yourself to find out their tips and notes! You do not have to worry about what ingredients you need to find and buy or finding a good recipe online. They have it all for you and it makes it so easy to make elderberry syrup at home.
By now, you are probably wondering Why Sweet’s? I have been using Sweet’s for a long while now. I cannot remember exactly how I found out about them (somehow on Instagram), but my first visit to Nature’s Pick Market (located in my town, Marietta) was specifically for Sweet’s elderberry syrup. I remember looking in the supplement aisle because that was the type of elderberry syrup that I was used to. Turns out, it was in the refrigerator section…which makes so much sense now, ha!
Once I started purchasing Sweet’s myself, I never turned back. I have yet to pick up a new syrup because Sweet’s is just THAT good. But, don’t just take my word for it because I know that all preferences are different. Here are a few reasons why I LOVE Sweet’s – aside from the awesome taste!
They use QUALITY ingredients and their blend of ingredients supports and promotes a healthy immune system.
In the premade syrup, there is raw, local honey that has been harvested seasonally. This is fantastic for everyone, but especially people in the SE. Why? Because raw, local honey contains pollen that is common to the area. There are studies that show that regular use of local honey can help fight against specific seasonal allergens.
In addition to elderberries and raw, local honey, Sweet’s also contains cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, which all have amazing benefits when consumed! Here is some information on each ingredient (provided by Sweet’s!):
- “CINNAMON: Fights bacteria and fungus, supports the immune system, helps prevent colds and flu, improves digestion, boosts memory, and protects the brain. We use only Ceylon Cinnamon, which is finer in texture and difficult to find. It’s considered “true cinnamon” and contains more disease-fighting proanthocyanidins. Ayurvedic medicine has long used cinnamon for its antimicrobial qualities. Cinnamon boasts one of the highest antioxidant levels of any spice.
- GINGER: Contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which boost immunity, fight infection, and reduce inflammation. Ginger contains over 25 different antioxidants, making it very effective against free radicals that accelerate aging and contribute to chronic diseases.
- CLOVES: Have strong antiseptic and germicidal qualities that help fight infection, along with very high antioxidant levels. Cloves relieve pain, ease digestive problems, lower glucose levels, and improve the
function of insulin.”
Each bottle of Sweet’s will contain these powerful, immune-boosting ingredients that are all organic and high-quality. You never have to worry about compromising with Sweet’s. The ingredients are also TASTY. Even the pickiest of picky kids will love the taste – perfect for school starting back!
Another reason I love Sweet’s is because of their kits. They are easy to use, they are super fun to do with kids, and you will get more syrup for the price, compared to their pre-made syrup. Plus, I love the fact that I can add my own local honey to the mix, which boosts my syrup, for me specifically, even more. If you are concerned about your health with the upcoming flu season headed our way, I highly suggest grabbing a kit so that you can make your own elderberry syrup. Pick one up HERE, or at Lucy’s Market, Nature’s Pick Market, Karma Farms, and Westview Grocery (all in Metro-Atlanta), and if you still have any questions, find FAQ’s on the Sweet’s website HERE. If you shop online, use the code ALEX10 for 10% off!
I hope you enjoyed the elderberry syrup recipe and all of the insight on the benefits of elderberry as a whole!