During the winter months, My goal is to stay as far away from the flu (and colds) as possible. Though the sniffles do creep up here and there, I have a few remedies that can knock out the scary stuff pretty fast. They include eating a well-balanced diet full of healthy fats, veggies, fruits, and small amounts of protein, getting 8 hours of sleep every night, moderate exercise, some form of relaxation (restorative yoga, meditation), and a whole fridge stocked with these cold- busting elderberry gummies.
This recipe is bursting with flavor from elderberry, ginger, and pomegranate and actually calms my sweet tooth by just having one after lunch or dinner. And ohhhh, what it does for the immune system is unreal.
Did I mention they're totally toddler-friendly?
Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra)
It turns out that the flowers and berries from the Elder tree have tremendous medicinal benefits.
Immune System Boost
Elderberry is probably most known for its ability to rock the immune system...in a good way. It contains a substance called Sambucus nigra agglutinins which has been noted to prevent certain flu strains from infecting healthy cells. It’s shown in some studies to help alleviate symptoms of the flu and provide a much smaller need for over the counter medicines. Cold medicines can maybe help a runny nose, but they come with a host of nasty side effects, where a nice elderberry gummy provides the opposite effect. The addition of the fresh ginger can even help settle an upset stomach.
If it stains, it’s good
Elderberries also contain Vitamins A, B, and a TON of vitamin C along with anthocyanins, certain pigments (in this case purple) that are known for their ability to combat oxidative stress, a primary trigger for cancer. It’s excellent for heart health as well for these pigments along with the potassium content are excellent for controlling blood pressure.
And just like the orange pigments in turmeric...it stains! But when you spill some syrup on yourself and it’s tough to get it off, instead of cursing, think…”YES, I am consuming healthy pigments that are great for my cells and veins!” Just be sure to wash your kitchen tools soon after cooking.
I’ve purchased all kinds of elderberry syrup at whole foods before, but lately I’ve been loving this mixture (and put a tsp into Tommy’s water every day in the winter). I like it because it contains a nice blend of proanthocyanidins (antioxidants from plants) from fruits like cherry and red raspberry. Just ordered some dried elderberries to make my own natural cough medicine. Stay tuned!
So when you combine all these amazing benefits with the anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal support from ginger, and add it to the cardiovascular AND immune system benefits of pomegranate, you have a triple winner. Pomegranate contains a TON of vitamin C and an extra dose of phytochemicals as well as antioxidants.
Cold-Busting Elderberry Gummies
½ cup Elderberry syrup ( I used this)
½ cup Pomegranate juice
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp raw honey (optional) I do without and it’s totally sweet, but if you want the benefits go for it
2 1-inch pieces ginger (about size of your thumb each)
¼ cup grass fed gelatin powder (i use this)
Place Pomegranate juice, ginger, lime juice and honey into a vitamix or high speed blender, and blend until well incorporated. Transfer mixture to a saucepan on low to medium heat.
(If you’re skipping the ginger, you can prepare the whole mixture in a sauce pan). Slowly sprinkle in gelatin powder until it gets smooth and mixture begins to thicken. Finally, stir in elderberry syrup. Spoon into molds or use a turkey baster to pour liquid if it helps not to spill, and refrigerate about 2 hours or until set. I like to store in fridge in a sealed container.
Note: Elderberry remedies are normally free of side effects. The berries should not be eaten raw as they can cause stomach upset. If you (or your child) are taking drugs that increase urination, speak to your doctor before administering elderflower as overuse can increase urination and deplete potassium.
If you liked this post, you might want to read some more fun posts related to the immune system. Check them out here.
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Herbal Healing for children, Demetria Clark, Healthy Living Publications, 2011
Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment ofinfluenza A and B virus infections. Zakay-Rones Z1, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J.
Incorporation of the elderberry anthocyanins by endothelial cells increases protection against oxidative stress. Youdim KA1, Martin A, Joseph JA.