In recent years as herbalism has gained popularity, one remedy in particular has become very familiar, Elderberry Syrup. But this wonderful remedy is far from new. The elder tree has a long and beautiful herbal history, every part of the plant has been used medicinally, and the flowers and berries have wonderful flavors and healthful benefits to match. But the history of this herb is not only medicinal, the tree’s wood was once prized for making harps and flutes, and the juice of the berries was commonly used as ink and as a dye for fabric, or even hair.
Medicinally speaking, elderberries are very high in vitamin C, and also contain high amounts of antioxidants and minerals. The berries are perhaps most famous as a cold and flu remedy, due to their high vitamin C content and support of healthy immune function. They are known to work especially well in preventing or shortening the duration of upper respiratory infections. Modern medical studies continue to support this traditional use and elderberries have definitely earned their fame as an excellent immune boosting herb. Historical uses and some recent research suggests that elderberries can strengthen eyesight, and the berries are also known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which is reflected in their common historical use as a remedy to relive arthritic pain and inflammation.
Elderflowers contain slightly different medicinal properties than the berries, and are chiefly known for two benefits: lowering fevers, and promoting healthy skin. Warm elderflower tea is an excellent remedy for lowering fevers and helping cool the body, especially when combined with similarly cooling herbs such as peppermint and yarrow. Taking elderflower tea regularly while sick has also been reported to shorten the duration of feverish cold or flu, much like elderberries. But the delicate lace flowers also promote beautiful skin. An elderflower tea wash or an elderflower-infused oil or lotion gently detoxifies the skin and soothes any skin inflammation, such as acne or sunburn. Some studies also show that elderflowers can help protect the skin against damage from UV light, making it the perfect herb to add to a summer lotion.
An old English rhyme says that summer begins with elder flowers, and ends with elder berries. The season of elderberries is upon us, so it’s the perfect time of year to preserve the healthful benefits of this herb for the winter season. And when summer begins again with elderflower, remember that legend claims if one waits patiently under an elder bush on midsummer’s eve, one might see fairies dancing at their midsummer’s feast.
Basic Elderberry Syrup Recipe
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