Homemade Elderberry Syrup DIY Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free - Green Tidings

Homemade Elderberry Syrup DIY Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been a common natural remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa.  High in antioxidants, elderberries also have powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, and help protect cells against damage.
Elderberries are commonly boiled and made into a concentrated syrup, which is said to boost the immune system, and treat coughs, colds, flu, bacterial infections, viral infections, tonsillitis, lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels, improved vision and heart health.  They have also shown to help treat Cancer, HIV, asthma and bronchitis, as well as reduce inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder.
According to Herb Wisdom, “Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby's Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah's Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body's immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual's immune system.
At the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany, scientists conducting studies on Elderberry showed that elderberry anthocyanins enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines. These unique proteins act as messengers in the immune system to help regulate immune response, thus helping to defend the body against disease. Further research indicated that anthocyanins found in elderberries possess appreciably more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or vitamin C.
Studies at Austria's University of Graz found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.” 
You can purchase your own elderberry syrup, but most contain high levels of added sugar (since elderberries are very tart by nature).  It is simple to make elderberry syrup at home, but again, almost every recipe you will find calls for cane sugar or honey, both of which are high on the glycemic index, and contain high amounts of sugar (which wreaks havoc on the immune system, the opposite effect you want from your elderberry syrup). 
Here is a simple, refined sugar-free, honey-free, vegan elderberry and blueberry syrup recipe. 
1 2/3 cups dried organic elderberries (find them HERE)
4.5 cups filtered water
1 cup frozen or fresh organic blueberries
2 tsp ginger (fresh grated)
1 tsp cinnamon
5 cloves (or 1/2 tsp ground) (find it HERE)
1/2 cup organic coconut sugar (find it HERE)
Add Elderberries, water, blueberries, and spices to a pot on high heat.  Bring to a boil.

A word of caution:  Of course, like any natural remedy, elderberries can hazardous to some individual’s health. “The seeds, leaves and bark of the tree may cause toxic effects when consumed, especially if they are unripe or not cooked completely. Ingesting these materials can result in gastrointestinal effects including stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and acute diarrhea, as described by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Other potential hazardous effects include dizziness, headache, weakness, fast heartbeat and seizures.” (source)   Such effects are rare, but it’s always best to consult with your health practitioner before consuming any natural remedies, especially if you are taking other medicines, supplements, or herbs.  
Cover with lid, turn down heat, and simmer for 1-2 hours, or until liquid is reduced by about 1/3.
Turn off heat.  Add coconut sugar, and stir well.  Let cool completely.
Using a nut milk bag, strain cooled syrup into a container.  Compost the remains.
Store elderberry syrup in a mason jar.  Refrigerate.  Use within 2 months.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

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