Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Elderberry Extract - a helpful extract for colds & flu

I'm sick. I caught a whopper of a cold somewhere in the last week and so I have been holed up mostly inside trying to find things to do that take my mind off of coughing and sneezing.

Through a sad set of circumstances I squeezed the last of the elderberry extract out of the jar on day one - there was no more to be had after that as it takes 6 weeks to make.   Elderberry extract has rave reviews on-line for it's health properties.  It's used to support your immune system so you are less likely to catch a cold in the first place and to help you get better faster when you do - I guess I won't now if that's true this year.  At the very least taking a swig of elderberry/vodka before bed should help you sleep better.

For the OH SO complicated recipe:  Take fresh or dried elderberries - I had dried ones purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs.  Place 2 cups in a large jar - I used an 8 cup size (larger than a quart but I could have used a bigger bottle of vodka) and poured a bottle of 80 proof vodka over the contents.  After waiting 6 weeks while it sits on the counter - drink by the teaspoon full.  I put it i the fridge after that but I'm don't think you need to - it just tastes better cold.  I didn't strain out the elderberries as some recipes recommend - I just assumed the longer it sat the better. Maybe fresh elderberries soaked in vodka taste good enough to eat but the dried ones are rather lacking!  For a family that doesn't drink much we managed to finish the bottle I made in December just in time for me to catch a cold.  Next time I will have to make a bigger batch.

I can't say it tastes great but it's not too bad.  It turns a beautiful shade of burgundy and it tastes a lot better than straight vodka!  I am hoping to find a elderberry bush or two to plant but I'm having trouble finding the right one.

Besides echinacea tea with honey, lots of vitamin C and garlic, fresh squeezed lemon juice and  my daily dose of "Triple Mix"  which is what DH calls a powdered juiced vegetable product that we take as a supplement - actually called Trio Max and some rest I don't have any new solutions for the Cure for the Common Cold - except to not catch it in the first place.

Usually when I know someone is brewing a cold I get out the hand sanitizer and place it in a prominent spot.  I also add a teaspoon of bleach to the dish washing water to kill any germs and spraying counters and cleaning with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide makes me feel better!

Any tips you'd like to add??  I want to make a info sheet to hang on the inside of my kitchen cupboards with all the handy tips about what to do when you catch a cold.  My daughter remembered me telling her about putting Vicks Vapour Rub on the bottom of your feet to stop the coughing...I didn't even remember reading that one!  I'll post the final results if you give me some more things to add!

Now I just have to get better so I can sneak back into the liquor store for more vodka so I can make more extract...says the girl who never even tasted vodka until last fall...


  1. Ooh, so sorry to hear you're sick. It sounds like you're taking care of yourself pretty well with your home remedies, so it should just be a matter of time before you're well again. I always like to take hot lemon and honey or ginger tea.

    Have you checked out Richter's for elderberry plants? They stock American Elderberry and Bob Gordon Elderberry. Planting elderberry bushes is definitely on my list of things to do!


    1. Thanks Mrs. T :) I forgot to check Ritchers! I really wish we had some wild bushes growing somewhere nearby but I am not positive on identification so I probably wouldn't risk it without an expert opinion!

      Tomorrow is another day - hopefully better than today!

  2. I cheated this year and bought some Suro Elderberry Syrup from the health food store.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Sorry to hear you have a cold. Hope you get feeling better soon. According to the Richter's catalogue Elderberry is the herb of the year. Another place that I have seen elderberry plants for sale is Ecology Park. They have been having trouble with their web site but there is a little bit about their plant sale on the Peterborough Green Up site. They usually post a plant list closer to the sale date.

  4. Looks like your elderberry extract is really easy to make... as long as you can wait the six weeks to use it! What's been wrong with the bushes that you've tried? There are a bunch of varieties of elderberry. You might try Elderberry Life (http://elderberrylife.com) for cuttings or plants if you know what kind of variety you need.

    1. The problem with the bushes is I never planted any :) Thanks for the info.

  5. I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this topic.I will bookmark your blog and have my children check up here often. I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else!


  6. Have you tried Rose Hibiscus tea for another source of Vitamin C? I first was introduced to it at the Ten Ren Tea Company, San Francisco. It's a delightful pink dessert tea that is light and sweet if honey or stevia is added. I found the recipe in an old herb book:

    Rose Hibiscus and Ginger tea
    Makes one cup of tea

    Simmer gently in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes, pressing the rose hips with the back of a wooden spoon to macerate them slightly:
    1/3 cup washed wild rose hips (or about 1/4 cup dried)
    4 dried hibiscus flowers
    2 cups water
    Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut into rounds:
    2 ounces fresh ginger root
    Crush the root in a spice grinder until it becomes a paste. Remove to a clean square of cloth.
    Strain the infused water and briefly return to a boil. Pour into your favorite mug and add ginger juice to taste by pressing the juice through the cloth. Add honey or stevia to taste


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