Sunday, July 31, 2011

Elderberry & Rose Hip Syrup


About two years ago, I was browsing through the Holistic Moms Network national loop (a group that I’m a member of) and I saw a post about “What are you doing to help keep your family healthy during the cold and flu season.”  I was intrigued by the topic and wanted to see what some of the other moms were doing.  Reading through all of the posts, Elderberry Syrup kept popping up.  Everyone seemed to be raving about it.  So, I had to find out more and do a little research of my own.
"European elder is a plant native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Western-and Central Asia. Its flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Elder berries have also been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials, and for adding flavor and color to other wines. Native Americans used the flowers, berries, and bark of elderberry trees to treat fevers and joint pain for hundreds of years, but elderberry's real claim to fame is as a cure for the flu. Israeli researchers have developed five formulas based on elderberry fruit that have been clinically proven to prevent and ameliorate all kinds of influenza." – Mountain Rose Herbs
A friend of ours that works at our local natural foods co-op also told us about Elderberry Syrup and said it is fabulous stuff.  He shared that it boosts the immune system and decreases the length and severity of cold and flu symptoms. 
For my family, it’s important to do everything we can to boost our immune system, especially during cold and flu season.  After learning more about Elderberry Syrup, I was sold.  Besides the immune boosting properties, elderberries are high in vitamin A, C, and bioflavonoids.  Elderberry syrup is a staple in our house and we take it daily as a preventative. 

There are so many different versions of Elderberry Syrup – many of them are loaded with sugar.  Refined sugars are not welcome in our home; we choose local raw honey instead.  I add rose hips to my recipe to add an extra punch of vitamin C and sweet flavor, cloves and cinnamon for their medicinal and warming properties, and ginger, which is especially beneficial for fevers, flu and colds.  I also take extra care not to heat the raw honey.  I add it after cooling the syrup in an ice bath.  This helps add potency to the syrup by allowing the raw honey to retain its nutrients.  Raw honey is naturally antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal and a natural antibiotic. 
I hope you enjoy my version of Elderberry Syrup! 
Be well.

Elderberry & Rose Hip Syrup

This syrup is sweet and scrumptious.  Great to have on hand before school is back in session and also as cold and flu season approaches. 
  • ½ cup dried elderberries
  • ½ cup dried rose hips
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon chips
  • 6 dried whole cloves
  • 1 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled, grated/minced
  • 2 ½ cups filtered water
  • ½-1 cup raw honey*, preferably local or biodynamic

  • Water – cold tap water is fine here, it is not used in the syrup
  • Handful of ice

1.     In a medium-size saucepan, add elderberries, rose hips, cinnamon chips, cloves, ginger and water.  Cover with lid, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes.


2.    Remove pan from stove, strain and mash through fine mesh strainer into a glass 1 quart measuring cup, small bowl or Mason jar. 


3.    Fill small bowl with a handful of ice and cold tap water (fill only halfway).  Place measuring cup into ice bath.  Let syrup cool in the ice bath about 15 minutes or until cooled.


4.    Remove cooled syrup from ice bath. 
5.     Add raw honey to a standard Mason jar.  Pour syrup into Mason jar.



6.    Stir honey and syrup together until they combine.  If the honey does not dissolve right away, let it sit at room temperature for a bit, then stir again. 
7.     Place lid on jar and store in the refrigerator.

* I use ½ cup of local raw creamed clover honey.

Yield: Makes about 2 cups syrup.

Dosage: 1-3 tablespoons daily as a preventative. Consume more with illness.

Storage: 2 months in the refrigerator, but if you’re taking it as a preventative daily, it will not last that long.

Notes: This recipe can be divided in half to make a smaller batch.  If you prefer a thicker, sweeter consistency, use 1 cup of raw honey.  


Can't find bulk herbs locally?  My favorite source for bulk herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs {*Affiliate link included helps support my blog}

Tip:  To “peel” ginger, scrape ginger “skin” off with a spoon.  The skin will come off very easily.  

Get Creative: Serve it on gluten free pancakes, drizzle it over vanilla ice cream, or stir into your favorite herbal tea.  How will you use it?

*Mountain Rose Herbs link is an affiliate link, prices are the same for you.  Should you decide to purchase through my blog, thank you in advance and much gratitude for supporting Recipes to Nourish.

Disclaimer: ALL information you read on Recipes to Nourish is purely for informational and educational purposes only.  I love to share and share with love, but I am not a health care practitioner.  This information is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.  If you have questions about food, diet, nutrition, natural remedies or holistic health, please do your own research and consult with your health care practitioner. 

This post is part of Handmade Christmas Gift Carnival @ The Nourishing Gourmet.

38 comments:

  1. I love making Elderberry syrup and need to get a batch ready now that we're headed back into Fall...I've never used rosehip in mine or seen it in a recipe...is there an extra health benefit from using it or does it just make it taste good?

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  2. Hi Krissa :) yes, the rose hips add a great flavor, they also make they syrup a bit thicker, but the main reason I include them is that they are loaded with vitamin C, they have more vitamin C than most herbs. The extra dose of vitamin C is always a plus. I hope you enjoy making some soon. Be well :)

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  3. This sounds great! I've been wanting to make elderberry syrup. A couple of questions... Are cinnamon chips just broken up cinnamon sticks? And would you have to use dried elderberries or rosehips? And if not do you know how the quantity would differ? Thanks so much!

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  4. Hi Carrie, yes cinnamon chips are just broken pieces of cinnamon stick, they tend to be cheaper than cinnamon sticks, so this is why I use them. I have never used fresh elderberries because I don't have access to any, but you could of course. I would assume you would double the amount if they were fresh, but I'm not positive about that. Same for rose hips, I've never used fresh, so I'm not sure.

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  5. Thanks for replying, Emily. I appreciate it! I'm headed to a friend's house tomorrow to pick elderberries and I have my own rose hips. I'm guessing/hoping that this syrup isn't an exact science. I'm excited to make it! Thanks so much for posting!

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  6. Hi Carrie, have fun, that sounds wonderful! Yes, make it however you'd like to :)

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  7. Looks great. Wondering where you buy your dried elderberries and rose hips. I would love to buy Organic or at least pesticide free, Any thoughts>

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  8. Thanks Julie. I buy bulk organic herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/ If I am out and need them fast, I buy from my local natural foods co-op grocery store, which carries Frontier herbs.

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  9. What is your source for these ingredients:
    ½ cup dried elderberries
    ½ cup dried rose hips
    2 tablespoons cinnamon chips
    6 dried whole cloves

    I see the post about the elderberries and rose hips, how about the cinnamon chips and whole cloves?

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  10. Hi Nancy, you can purchase all of those ingredients at Mountain Rose Herbs. This is where I buy mine, if I run out and can't order them quick enough, I buy them from my local natural foods co-op grocery store and they sell bulk herbs from Frontier. There is a link for Mountain Rose Herbs above in the post under Notes at the end of the recipe. They have really great products. Regarding the cinnamon chips, you can use a cinnamon stick too, I just buy the chips in bulk because they are more cost effective for me. Hope that helped :)

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  11. THANK YOU! i've been buying this it's kind of expensive and doesn't have the extras as added benefits. i've been looking for a recipe and this one looks great!

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  12. This is a lovely recipe. It's interesting that I have presented at the Holistic Mom's Network in our area on the use of herbs during the cold/flu season and I got a bunch of women making elderberry syrup as a regular thing :-) I would say that from the "sugar" end of the debate, however, I would not necessarily advocate using raw honey. Don't get me wrong..i love raw honey and do use it, but I also see honey as the precious outcome of a lot of work. I always make my syrups with white, refined sugar. Why? Because first of all, it produces a syrup that is very shelf-stable for a much longer period of time. Second, I make vats of different kinds of syrups (cough syrups, immune syrups, etc) to get my family through the winter months and I am not comfortable with using up our bees' gift to us in such quantities for a Tablespoon-a-day type of supplement. That's just my two cents! I really like your blog, and thank you for spreading the word about these wonderful herbs. :-)

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    1. I appreciate your perspective, thank you :) For me, I do not use any refined sugars at all. I am truly grateful to the bees and the beautiful honey that they do produce, I am grateful for their life and all of their hard work. I am grateful for the local bee farmer that I purchase from as well. I do believe bees make a very precious food, and I love it for it's nutritional properties - raw honey is full of vitamin and minerals, contains bee pollen and propolis which is known for having special healing powers, it's naturally antibacterial, antiseptic, hydroscopic, antifungal and a natural antibiotic. Honey has been used for thousands of years as a healing substance. It was widely used in traditional medical systems as a food, wound dressing, and preservative for herbal medicines. It's still widely used in the herbalist community too.

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    2. The idea that honey is "wasted" when you eat it in quantity is a little far fetched. It isn't as if we were bears plundering hives and leaving them in ruins. When I buy jugs of honey from the beekeeper down the road, my money and that of other buyers enables him to raise more bees, build more hives, and rent more land for them to range on just like they need. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement, especially since our beekeeper knows what he's doing and loves his job, thereby motivating him to keep the bees healthy and happy. I'm thankful to God that He designed this whole bee/honey thing. There's no reason to feel any sort of guilt over using honey instead of refined sugar--now there's something I don't want to spoon into my son's mouth everyday!

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    3. Why would you make a medicinal product with white refined sugar, something that harms your health rather than improves it? I don't get that, and it's why I haven't made elderberry syrup yet. This recipe seems perfect. Raw honey can be expensive, so I don't like to waste it either, but if you're not going to use it in a medicinal recipe, why use it at all?

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  13. Hi Emily, My little one is coming down with something so I'm making your Elderberry recipe to have ready for first thing tomorrow. It smells sooooo wonderful. I think we'll eat in on waffles in the morning. I've been using elderberries in tea lately and I am so amazed at their immune boosting properties.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! --Shanon

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    1. Hi Shanon!!! I hope he feels better soon, you be well too. It will taste so good on waffles, enjoy it. Sending love to you.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thank you :) I hope you get a chance to make it, it's so delicious.

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  15. I've never heard of using rose hips. That's neat! I made some and took it daily this past fall and winter (not that we had much of a winter!) and it seemed to work great because I only had a few sniffles and they would be gone when I upped the amount for a couple days.

    I used the recipe on Crunchy Betty's website: http://www.crunchybetty.com/your-natural-medicine-cabinet-elderberry-echinacea-syrup-recipe

    I'm wondering if the echinacea and rose hips would be fine to use together? Also, I saw on FB that you made some tonight. Does your family take it as a preventative through the spring/summer also? I guess colds are out there year-round. I stopped taking it when warm weather hit but maybe I should start again...?

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    1. Hi Jessi, thanks for sharing :) Rose hips are fine, actually very important as vitamin C will help boost your system when taken with echinacea. They are an amazing source of vitamin c, I have them daily in herbal tea infusions as well.

      Yes, we take it year-round. I find it to be really helpful. During summer months, I add it to homemade popsicles, smoothies, and homemade ice cream too.

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    2. Thanks for the reply! I think I'll start taking it again and make it with the rose hips when I run out of this current batch. I think I'll really like the flavor the rose hips add. :)

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    3. I hope you like it Jessi. I love the addition of the rose hips, they thicken it a bit too. Be well.

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  16. I've been making this continuously since November, and I've found that so far, even with our early spring, I have not had any of my awful allergy problems! Local raw honey is great for that, along with the vit c in rosehips (natural antihistamine), ginger (anti inflammatory), and cinnamon is great for everything.

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    1. That's wonderful! I am so happy to hear that you are benefiting from taking it. Be well.

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  17. Excellent blog! Thank you for this recipe. My apprentices and I made an elderberry ginger syrup last month. Everything I've read and been taught about vitamin C availability with plants is that the vitamin C is destroyed during drying, heat and processing. An alternative would be to clean the hairs and seeds from the rose hips, chop them up, put them in a jar and cover with honey. Leave for about 3 weeks so that the honey can pull the vitamins and minerals from the rose hips. Another alternative can be to make an elixir with rose hips and equal parts brandy and honey. Let sit 3 weeks. I am going to make the elixir with my students this Saturday and when it's done, I'm going to mix it with the wild rosebud elixir we made in the spring. Cheers!

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    1. Hmm, I've never heard that. All of the herbalists I am familiar with heat the rose hips (along with others) for infusions etc - which brings out the vitamins and minerals. This is why herbal tea infusions are so powerful and nutritious.

      Interesting though.

      Take care.

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  18. I'd love to make a batch of this soon :). But I do have a question. I recently ordered astragalus root (I've been using your lemon-tea recipe), and I wasn't expecting 4 oz to be quite so much! So, would you recommend adding a few strips of astragalus root to this? Will the extended simmer time affect the potency of the root? Just curious, and looking for ways to incorporate it anywhere I can. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge :).

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    1. Hi Vanessa, absolutely, you could add a strip, it might change the flavor a bit, it may be a little more bitter. The cooking time will be fine. If you need some other ideas too, add a strip into any soups you are making, I put 3-4 in my bone broth (and that cooks for 24 hours). I also add them into things that have broth or liquid, like if I'm making a pot roast, I'll add one strip to add extra nutrition to the dish. Hope this helps! :) Take care.

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  19. I just have to say that I have read several of your articles and you are now my best friend!!! (Don't tell my sister that.) =) I just recently started making tinctures for my family and me and had heard of the advantages to using elderberry but never found a recipe that also called for rose hips. Thank you, thank you!!
    Btw, I also like Mountain Herb store but wanted to let you know about the Bulk Herb Store too. I have found a lot of tincture recipes on their website.
    Can't wait for your next "article". =)

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    1. You're so sweet, thank you! I didn't know about Bulk Herb Store, thanks for the heads up. Take care.

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  20. Thank you for this great recipe, Emily. I'm such a fan of herbs and love incorporating them into our meals when possible. We have all these wonderful herbs in bulk and I look forward to trying this soon.

    Just lovely!

    xo,
    --Amber

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    1. I hope you love it as much as we do. With school back in session, it's a must in our house. Hope you get to make it.

      Be well xo

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  21. I love this recipe! I do have one question. I made this with rose hips bought through either mountain rose or frontier (I can't remember but I think frontier) and they were very small. Maybe even chopped, I didn't Lik that closely as it was my first time using it so I just assumed it was as it was supposed to be. I ran out before I could reorder through my co op. I found a local store that had them but this time they were large and definitely whole. While researching it looks like you should scoop out the seeds (hairs used as itching powder?) but for teas you could steep whole them eat them. The more I read, the more confused I was. Do you use them whole? Can you eat them? Thanks!

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    1. Thanks! I've noticed them being 2 different sizes too, when I have bought them from my local natural foods co-op, they've been small, but also large (theirs come from Frontier). Honestly I don't know, but I don't think you need to chop them, I bet they are just larger rose hips. I have never eaten the rose hips, just used them in teas and remedies. I'm not sure if that was much help. But if you're buying from either of those companies, I would say they are fine to use as is in the syrup or teas.

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  22. Yum. I love these types recipes. I am going to make a double batch. I will probably use the second batch for a wild food potluck and use it as a marinade for chicken wings. I'll probably add in garlic and jalapeno.

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    1. That sounds so delicious! What a great idea!

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