Monday, February 20, 2012

Immune Boosters and Natural Cold/Flu Remedies

It's been a tough cold and flu season this year for our household. I've had both the cold and the flu, all in a matter of 2 months. Mine had a lot to do with my insomnia and lack of sleep causing my immune system to weaken. My son had a cold a few weeks ago that consisted of a sinus infection. He woke up this morning with a deep chest cough. My husband had a cold a few weeks ago. Two natural ways we've been working on preventing and fighting the cold and flu includes Vitamin D3 and Elder Berry Syrup.

Vitamin D is known to boost the immune system and there is plenty of scientific evidence that it enhances your immunity and inhibits the development of autoimmunity. Our bodies naturally produce this vitamin when exposed to sunlight but during the Fall and Winter months, I make sure that we load up on Vitamin D3 supplements. You'll often times see Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 supplements on the shelves but it's important to chose the right one. D3 is naturally occurring in the our bodies. D2 is not and is derived from plants and enters the body through the diet.

Everett takes Rhino Gummy Vitamin D3/800 IU per serving (2 gummy bears). He loves taking them!

My husband and I take the Naturally Preferred brand (found at Fred Meyer) Vitamin D3/1,000 IU.

The Elder Berry is widely known to be effective against 8 strains of influenza. It is as effective as vaccines, if not more superior, because the vaccine only covers known strains and strains mutate continually. One of my older brothers visits Israel several times a year and he informed me that doctors there are more likely to give sick individuals with the flu Elder Berry instead of the flu vaccine. It can also be useful for colds as well.

I have been purchasing 4 oz of Elder Berry syrup for $18. It is quite spendy. I finally decided to save a bit of money and make my own. Thanks to Brittany at The Pistachio Project, I used her recipe:

½ cup dried Elder Berries or 1 cup fresh Elder Berries
3 cups water
½ cup honey (raw is preferred)

Bring water to boil in a saucepan, add in Elder Berries and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half. Let the syrup cool and then strain through a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or muslin. Add in the honey once cool and stir. Store your Elder Berry syrup in a jar in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can make large batches of Elder Berry syrup and can them in mason jars.

Keeps for 2-3 months

Usage Instructions
Daily Maintenance: Take 2 teaspoons daily for adults. Take 1 teaspoon daily for children

For Intensive Use: Take 2 teaspoons four times daily for adults. Take 1 teaspoon four times daily for children.

*Can be given to children over the age of 1.

I called my local Whole Foods to see if they had dried Elder Berries but they didn't so I purchased a pound for $10.50 from Mountain Rose Herbs. I don't often times buy things online in my attempt to buy locally and to support my local economy but Mountain Rose Herbs is a local company down in Eugene, Oregon!

My mom and I made our first batch of homemade syrup today and it turned out fantastic!

Dried Elder Berries

Simmering for 45 minutes

We used some mesh material that my mom had. You can buy 2 square yards of cheesecloth at Mountain Rose Herbs for only $3.50.

Strain syrup

Add in raw honey (my mom gets her honey from our Naturopathic Doctor. He's also a Beekeeper!)

We tripled Brittany's recipe and made 4 1/2 pints.

Everett and I both had a dose when we got home this evening. It turned out great and tasted delicious.


  1. Um! Awesome on the elderberry syrup! We need to get on that train! I hear lots about sambucal too. Do you take that at all? We do Vit D but definitely need any boost we can get!