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Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu Prevention

Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu Prevention

Cold and flu season is fast approaching! You may not be surprised that we don’t get flu shots and I never run to the doctor before trying natural ways to prevent or treat illnesses first. It must be paying off because we haven’t been to the doctor for a sick visit in 3 years. Sure, we’ve had a few sniffles here and there, even some fevers which have left us curled up on the couch for a few days, but I always treat them at home with natural remedies.

Elderberry syrup is my go-to prevention aid for cold and flu season. Elderberries contain high levels of vitamin A, B and C and are used to boost the immune system, improve heart health, fight coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections, and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was even used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. And while you can purchase Elderberry syrup online, even the organic versions have some preservatives and flavorings I find undesirable, as well as set you back $15 for a 4 oz bottle! This recipe will make roughly 16-24 oz and is easy and inexpensive to make at home with a few simple ingredients.

Elderberry Syrup Ingredients

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Elderberry Syrup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 32 oz
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 half-inch pieces of ginger root
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cup raw honey
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil then cover and lower to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 35-40 minutes until the liquid is reduced to half.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Let cool to about 115 degrees (just slightly warm to the touch)
  6. Add the honey and stir until it's dissolved.
  7. Store in a glass jar in your refrigerator.
  8. If you won't use it right away, freeze in ice cube trays for later use.

Usage:

  • Children: Take 1/2 – 1 tsp daily.
  • Adults: Take 1/2 T- 1 T daily.
  • Take a day or two off each week.
  • In the event a cold or flu does strike, take your normal dose 2-3 times per day until symptoms disappear.

Check out my post 12 Ways to Beat Your Cold or Flu Naturally for more ideas! How do you ward off illness when it sets in?

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag us @realfood_life or hashtag it #realfoodlife. I’d love to see what you make!

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

This post is shared at Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Hop

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Medical disclaimer: Although I am a sucker for a great fashionable coat, especially white ones, I am not a doctor. This post is not intended to treat, diagnose or take the place of taking prescription medication when necessary. Always check with your doctor first if you have any questions or concerns about your health or the health of your family.

12 Ways to Beat Your Cold and Flu…Naturally

12 Ways to Beat Your Cold and Flu

Last week I was feeling slightly under the weather. Thanks to my home remedies, I am feeling a lot better, thankyouverymuch. However, Kaiden developed a nasty cold which always progressses into a cough for him. It’s a typical chain of events that I can pretty much guarantee will happen every time he gets a stuffy nose.

When he was little, Kaiden seemed to ALWAYS be fighting cold. Probably due to the fact that everything goes in a kid’s mouth at that age. And wait, didn’t I just see that other kid chomping on the same puzzle piece 2 seconds before mine? Geesh. A stuffy nose turned into a cough which then turned into an ear infection. Every. Single. Time. Off to the doctor we would go for a round of antibiotics. It got so bad, by the time he was 20 months, we had tubes placed in his ears after he had roughly 8 ear infections in a 5 month time frame. It was frustrating and I hated that he had to be on so many antibiotics since they can really take a toll on your body.

According to Dr. Fuhrman in his book, “Disease Proof Your Child,” he states:

“The unnecessary over prescription of antibiotics during past decades has been blamed for the recent emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of deadly bacteria. Besides these potential risks, in every single person who takes an antibiotic, the drug kills a broad assortment of helpful bacteria that live in the digestive tract and aid digestion. It kills the “bad” bacteria, such as those that can complicate an infection, but it also kills these helpful “good” bacteria lining your digestive tract that have properties that protect from future illness.

If you take antibiotics repeatedly when you are young, you further diminish the population of good bacteria that protects you against harmful bacteria. In addition, the harmful bacteria become more resistant (harder to kill with antibiotics the next time). Over 100 different helpful intestinal bacteria are lost with the use of antibiotics, which then give pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes and yeast the chance to proliferate and fill the ecological vacuum created by the repeated administration of antibiotics.”

He’s had a few ear infections here and there after the tubes came out which put me on a quest to seek out natural alternatives, because there was no way I wanted him to continue to have antibiotics time and time again. Since then I have learned a thing or two and I can thankfully say that we have not been to a doctor for a sick visit in well over 2 years for either of my kids (knock on wood). Sure, we have been ill a time or two. A cough here, a sniffle there, maybe even a fever, but nothing that has required a visit to the doc because I have learned how to treat sicknesses early and naturally.

I am in no way saying that there isn’t a time and place for prescription medications when absolutely necessary. But who says that you need a prescription for every illness? Sometimes a home remedy is all it takes to feel better in a few days. I want to share my list of top 12 natural cold and flu remedies I turn to at the onset of sickness in hopes that you, too, can help facilitate you or your child’s body to heal itself.

  1. Eat a balanced diet consisting of mostly real food.
    This goes without saying, but fueling yourself with real, healthy food will allow your body to work in tip top shape.
  2. Drink up.
    This seems pretty obvious, but water, fresh squeezed juices (I don’t buy juice anymore), green smoothies, fresh juice popsicles, coconut water or broth are all great for hydration. If you or your child is dehydrated you might need to turn to a Pedialyte or Gatorade type of drink to replace your electrolytes. Please, whatever you do, do not buy the commercial varieties of these. Have you ever seen the ingredients in them? It’s frightening. Look here and here at your own risk. Instead make your own ORS solution using 1 liter of clean water, 2 T sugar, 1/2 tsp salt. Add some fresh orange juice or mashed banana to improve the taste.
  3. Drink ginger tea. Check out my recipe here.
  4. Take elderberry syrup.
    Elderberry is used to boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was even used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. I started making homemade elderberry syrup about 2 years ago. We use it all throughout cold and flu season to increase our chances of staying healthy. Take 1 tsp daily for prevention or 1 tsp every 2-3 hours while symptoms persist once a cold or flu has set in. I am not a fan of the store bought varieties since they often contain preservatives and/or added flavors in them. I buy my elderberries here along with cinnamon, raw honey and whole cloves.
  5. Take colloidal silver.
    This is my all time favorite alternative treatment for anything and everything. Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent. It’s been shown to kill bacteria that were resistant to all known antibiotics with no undesirable side effects. Pathogens do not become resistant to silver over time, unlike antibiotics, and even has the ability to eradicate antibiotic resistant microbes like MRSA. On the onset of a sickness I give my kids 1/2 tsp twice a day and adults 1 tsp twice a day. It can also be used on skin wounds, dropped in the ears, eyes and nose or used in a spray for the throat. I use the Sovereign Silver brand.
  6. Use a sinus rinse.
    I just recently bought these Nasopure nasal wash systems for my kids. I like the smaller size for them. At the first sight of a cold I have them rinse twice a day. I use this NeilMed rinse but like this larger Nasopure for adults as well. It takes a little getting used to, but actually it feels really good after you rinse. Just make sure you use warm water as opposed to cold.
  7. Try honey and lemon to soothe your throat and cough.
    Honey helps coat the throat when it is painful, dry or itchy. Honey and lemon both have the ability to kill bacteria while lemon cuts through the mucus. Together they are a force to be reckoned with. Always use raw honey, but not for children under the age of 1.
  8. Use a humidifier.
    Breathing moist air can help ease nasal congestion, soothe dryness, irritation or itchiness in the nose, nasal passages, sinuses, mouth, throat and eyes. Make sure to empty the water each day and clean the humidifier often with vinegar and water. We currently use this Crane model.
  9. Get enough sleep.
    This goes without saying, but sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function. Which, in turn, decreases your body’s ability to respond to cold and flu germs. Get a good 8+ hours of shut eye.
  10. Sweat it out.
    It takes a lot for me to muster up the energy and make it to the gym on days I am not feeling in tip top shape, but a good sweat always makes me feel better.
  11. Steam inhalation.
    Fill up a bowl with boiled water, add 2-3 drops of essential oil and lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head so as to catch the steam. Do this for 10 minutes or until the water has cooled and there is no longer steam. Some of my favorite essential oils to use are eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree or lavender. Be careful and read up on using essential oils with children under the age of 10. I use just a steam with no oils for my kiddos.
  12. Eat raw garlic.
    Okay, here’s the deal. Admittedly, I have not had the guts to try this one. Garlic is known for it’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties. It’s like a natural antibiotic that supposedly works like a champ. But, in order for garlic to knockout cold or flu symptoms, it needs to be consumed raw. *shutter* While I love cooked garlic, I am a bit squeamish about chomping on a raw clove of garlic. Despite my lack of courage, I promise to give it a go next time I get sick and give a full repot. If you are braver than me, mince a clove or two, add a teaspoon of honey and whack it back. Just don’t expect your loved one to want to kiss you after. Take it on the first onset of a cold to prevent it from getting worse. If you didn’t do this early and you get sick, then consume it every 2-3 hours on an empty stomach.
    (UPDATE: Both hubs and I tried this for a cold and it, surprisingly, was not bad at all. We took it once in the morning for 2 days in a row and felt considerably better by the end of the day)

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any favorite home remedies that help keep you healthy? Comment below.

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Medical disclaimer: Although I am a sucker for a great fashionable coat, especially white ones, I am not a doctor. This post is not intended to treat, diagnose or take the place of taking prescription medication when necessary. Always check with your doctor first if you have any questions or concerns about your health or the health of your family.

Sources:
http://www.naturalnews.com/042769_antibiotics_healthy_gut_flora_immune_system.html
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/06/18/antibiotics-bacteria.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/23/garlic-health-benefits.aspx
http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/healthy-food-prescribed-antibiotics-and-you.html
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/immune-system-lack-of-sleep
http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-elderberry.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22280901
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11697022
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9395631
http://thesilveredge.com/becker.shtml#.VNuvYfnF-So

Immunity Boosting Ginger Tea

Immunity Boosting Ginger Tea

It’s cold here in Pennsylvania. Winter is officially in full force with snow, ice and all the other annoyances of living in the Northeast in the middle of February. I am dreaming of summer sun, sand between my toes and an ice cold lemonade in my hand. But since good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Monday, indicating six more glorious weeks of winter, then a dream is all it will be. For now anyways.

In the meantime, I need to bring my A game to fight cold and flu bugs that try to set up shop in our home. Have you ever witnessed a 1st grade class in the middle of winter? Kids coughing, sniffling and sneezing all over each other. The school classroom is like a giant petri dish making for a perfect breeding ground for the flu and the common cold viruses to have a hay day. Despite me nagging my kids one or 143 times a day, I constantly find them rubbing their germy little hands all over their eyes, sticking them in their mouth and knuckle deep up their nose. Aren’t kids cute?

Making ginger tea is often my first course of action when we are already sick or we feel the beginnings of a pesky cold coming on.  And while you can add ginger to your green smoothies and cooking, I prefer to sip some warm tea when it’s cold outside. Be careful, though, a little bit goes a long way.

Benefits of Ginger

Ginger is used to treat various stomach problems including nausea, diarrhea, gas and motion sickness. It can be used to treat pain from arthritis, menstrual pain, upper respiratory infections, cough and bronchitis. It has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for cold and flu. Recognized for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is a natural immune booster, warming the body and riding it of toxins.

Ginger Tea
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
Ingredients
  • 1-2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into large slices
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Optional: cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil water.
  2. Place ginger into a mug and pour boiled water over top.
  3. Let the ginger steep for 2 minutes.
  4. Add honey and the juice of lemon.
  5. If using cayenne, sprinkle a small dash or as much as you can tolerate.
  6. Drink and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag us @realfood_life or hashtag it #realfoodlife. I’d love to see what you make!

Need more natural cold and flu remedies? Check out how we treat sickness in my house here.

Until next time, keep it real.

Medical Disclaimer: As always, check with your physician before taking herbs if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking medications, suffer from any disease or giving to children.

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-961-GINGER.aspx?activeIngredientId=961&activeIngredientName=GINGER
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/961.html
http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/10-healing-benefits-of-ginger