It's me! Those of you who follow me on Instagram know I'm alive and well, as I post pretty frequently over there. But I haven't given the blog any love in a long time, so I've been thinking of what I wanted to post.
Some of the most frequent questions I get through Instagram are about the herbal medicines we use in the home to promote health and wellness, so I thought I'd start with a series of posts, featuring our most favorite and most used herbal recipes. I'm a huge fan of herbal medicine, and we use them quite frequently in our home. And as cold and flu season has already started around here, it was time to restock our herbal remedy cabinet. Today we're starting out with Elderberry Immunity Brandy, which is great for treating adult colds and flu, and over the next few weeks, I'll have posts with recipes for Fire Cider, Elderberry Syrup for kids, Garlic Infused Honey, and some other things. (UPDATE - here's the link for the kid-friendly version!)
And follow me over on Instagram to keep up to date with posts and new recipes too!
Elderberries are amazing for the immune system and have been used to prevent and treat colds and flus for many years. They are naturally high in immune-boosting compounds. They have also been proven to shorten the duration of a cold if you already have one. Two weeks ago, my son got sick, and then I got sick, and then my husband (as these things go) and we were able to kick it within 24-48 hours using our elderberry syrup, fire cider, and some other homeopathic things. Elderberry syrup is available in most stores, but it can be somewhat pricey, so I like to make my own. I make a different syrup (one without brandy) for the boy and I'll have that recipe next week.
I like to boost up the elderberry brandy by adding in echinacea, which is another great immune booster. Echinacea encourages the immune system and reduces many symptoms of colds, flu, as well as some other infections and illnesses. And rosehips are a source of vitamin C, aid in absorption, plus they taste really good, so I like to add them in as well.
I happen to have really good Amish stores around me that sell all of these things in bulk, but if you can't find them locally, Amazon has them, as well as Mountain Rose Herbs, which is a fantastic place for great, solid herbal products.
In a pint jar, add 3/4 cup dried elderberries, 1 heaping tbsp of dried echinacea and 1 heaping tbsp of dried rosehips.
I also add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup raw honey. We like ours on the less sweet side, but the brandy can be powerful, so if you're sensitive, I'd add the full 1/2 cup. It will be much more syrupy. And look at this delicious raw honey. It's thick and creamy and just delicious. Plus, raw honey is loaded with all sorts of antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Fill the jar up with brandy. Cheap is fine. I usually pick up a large handle of whatever's on sale, as we use it a lot for tinctures and other herbal things.
Cap the jar and place it into a dark space for 4 to 6 weeks, shaking every few days or so. Strain it, using a coffee filter or cheesecloth placed into a strainer. For dosage, we usually take about 20ml (or one tablespoon) 2-3 times per day when we already have a cold, or one dose per day during cold season. Since it is brandy, I wouldn't recommend taking it before work, unless that's how you roll.
And here's a recipe for a kid-friendly version!
And standard disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical professional, so make sure to consult with your own medical gurus prior to use.