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Old 05-15-2009, 07:23 AM   #1
PureCajunSunshine
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Default Everything you need to know about alcohol-free elderberry syrup for preventing flu

In view of the times, I’d like to share this bit from my blog with you…


http://purecajunsunshine.blogspot.co...d-to-know.html

Everything you need to know about alcohol-free elderberry syrup for preventing colds and influenza


Elderberry is considered by many herbalists and satisfied users to be nature’s answer to Tamiflu, a drug that is commonly used to nip influenza in the bud. Elderberry works in a similar way by preventing the virus from adhering to human cells and multiplying. Traditionally, elderberry preparations are taken early enough to head off a massive viral invasion right from the start.

Sambucus nigra is the most researched medically potent species of elderberry, and it is so highly regarded in Europe that it has been called the “medicine chest of country people”. It grows wild in most of Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia.

Native Americans and the Pioneer settlers found elderberry useful, but historical accounts suggest that they may have not regarded the American species of elderberry as much as Europeans do their own. It’s possible that the European species may be a little more potent than the American species of elderberry. The jury is still out on that debate.

Some herbalists are leaning towards the same slant as Richo Czech of Horizon Herbs in Oregon, who says that the European native Sambucus nigra “…is the most tried-and-true species for medicinal use.” He also notes that the berries are about twice as big as the berries of other species.

If something should ever prevent me from making a cold and flu preventative from the traditional European Sambucus nigra species, I would gladly use elderberries from commercially available cultivars such as the York and Nova species. They are available from nurseries such as Henry Fields and Gurneys. (I would steer clear of other cultivars sold for ornamental landscaping use.) According to more than a few devotees, the York and Nova cultivars are said to work very well in warding off the common cold and influenza.

As a personal preference I am cultivating the European elderberry species Sambucus nigra from seed, and will continue to buy the dried European berries to make my preparations with until my little ’orchard’ becomes established. Herbalcom and Frontier Herbs are two of my favorite sources for the berries.

Interestingly, after years of searching, I have never found any commercial sources for elderberries from cultivars or American elderberries, only berries from the imported European Sambucus nigra species.


Elderberry has been proven effective against a wide range of influenza viruses including human, swine and avian strains.

Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu made elderberries internationally famous through the well publicized research and laboratory studies conducted at the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It was demonstrated that Sambucus nigra species of elderberry was effective against a wide range of influenza viruses including human, swine and avian strains. This led to the development of a popular elderberry syrup preparation called Sambucol. Even if the preparation is taken too late to act as a preventative, controlled clinical studies in 1995 also demonstrated that Sambucol could reduce the severity and duration of influenza by half.

At a press conference held January 19-20, 2006 at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, the results of exciting new research on the patented elderberry formula were presented. Speakers included the developer of Sambucol, Dr. Mumcuoglu and Professor Hannoun of the Pasteur Institute.

Imagine the excitement of hearing the announcement that the elderberry-based Sambucol was found to be at least 99% effective against the Avian Flu (H5N1) virus in cell cultures! Laboratory trials verifying this were held in a prominent research institute associated with the University of London. Retroscreen Virology, Ltd. concluded that the elderberry preparation “significantly neutralised the infectivity of the virus in cell cultures”.

Although elderberry is effective against the H5N1 viruses in a culture dish, without human 'guinea pigs' there is no way to conclude that it is as effective in humans, but all indications look good.

Science is beginning to realize what European country folks knew all along. Elderberry is good for preventing cold and influenza infections. According to many herbalists and satisfied users, traditional homemade elderberry tinctures and non-alcoholic syrups work just as well as Sambucol.


How well does a non-alcoholic elderberry preparation work?

The original and well-researched Sambucol formula was made with an alcohol-based extract with a bit of glucose added. Some modern-day herbalists speculate that only alcohol-based elderberry preparations will work. Others speculate that the application of heat could be detrimental to the effectiveness of elderberry.

I am happy to tell you this is not true. For over a decade, I have made and given away to family and friends, many gallons of a very potent non-alcoholic elderberry syrup made with heat. I make my decoction by gently simmering elderberries in water for hours over a medium-low fire. The result is a fine tasting juice and syrup that has worked splendidly against every challenge of cold and influenza viruses put to it. It works so well that every year friends and family (as well as their friends) always ask for more.

Before I share my recipe with you, I’d like to alert you to a few things you should know.


IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT ELDERBERRY AND PANDEMIC INFLUENZA

One of the things that make some influenza strains more deadly and worrisome than most ordinary strains is that they can cause a young healthy person’s immune to kick into overdrive. In this case, too much of a good thing can become deadly because of the overproduction of cytokines. Some cytokines promote mucous production. Unfortunately when too much mucous is produced, it can quickly become a life threatening situation because the patient can literally drown in his own fluids.

In recent years, some herbalists and pandemic flu speculators (affectionately known as flubies) have debated a valid question: Could the immunostimulant properties of elderberry worsen the cytokine storm associated with a deadly strain such as H5N1 and others?

On the other hand, elderberry also increases levels of the cytokine IL-10 which is a known immunosuppressant. This could very well ‘balance out’ the cytokines with immunostimulating effects. Another natural check and balance system at work?

Of additional interest is the fact that elderberry is useful for treating bacterial sinusitis because it reduces excessive mucus in the sinus cavities, promotes better drainage, and reduces nasal congestion and swelling of mucous membranes. In that light, it seems that elderberry would be beneficial during a mucous producing cytokine storm.

To date elderberry has not yet been tested in humans against the strain of the dreaded H5N1 avian influenza that has worried the medical community for the past few years. No one really knows what elderberry preparations will do in the face of an influenza induced cytokine storm.

Experts agree that limiting the initial viral load (such as with Tamiflu) seems to be one of the best ways to survive the more deadly influenza strains. It is commonly understood that if the viral load is dramatically reduced, especially in the beginning stages of infection, then the body’s response to it--the deadly cytokine storm--is reduced as well.

Elderberry is a time tested remedy with a great reputation for preventing and inhibiting ordinary influenza in humans, if taken promptly and regularly. It does the job so well, that my personal pandemic influenza plans include taking elderberry syrup as a preventative. If for some reason, I am stricken with a pandemic flu, I plan to continue taking elderberry, but at a higher and more frequent dosage.

I am not suggesting that anyone else do as I do, but that you should explore all your options, including professional medical help if confronted with the possibility of a life-threatening illness such as pandemic influenza.

Because this issue is so controversial in the face of certain deadly strains of influenza, I am monitoring several news portals very closely for any new findings that I need to know. If it is ever determined that elderberry is harmful to take during a full blown pandemic influenza infection, a change in my plans would be in order.

Go here for up to the minute news and intelligent discussions about pandemic influenzas:

http://purecajunsunshine.blogspot.co...king-news.html


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PureCajunSunshine’s Recipe:
ALCOHOL-FREE ELDERBERRY SYRUP AND JUICE

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Dry Stuff

In some cases, herbs and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care. I urge you to seek the best professional medical resources available to help you make informed decisions in all health matters, especially concerning pandemic influenza.


Because I am an avid historian and naturalist, and not a licensed medical professional, I want you to be aware that this educational information is intended to increase your knowledge of traditional usage of plants. It is not meant to diagnose, prevent, prescribe or to administer in any manner to any physical ailments. In all matters related to your health, please contact a professional health practitioner.



IMPORTANT CAUTIONS

Avoid any kind of elderberry preparation if you have a known allergy to plants in the honeysuckle (Caprifoliaceae) family.

Don’t consume raw elderberries or uncooked elderberry juice, which may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal pain. It is understood that cooked elderberries are safe and completely free of any cyanide toxicity.

Don’t take elderberry if you are undergoing chemotherapy. Elderberry may increase the effects of some cancer chemotherapies, which may also increase adverse effects as well.

Patients using theophylline should consult with a medical professional before using elderberry preparations. The quercetin in elderberries may inhibit xanthine oxidase, and may also affect theophylline levels.

Elderberry may lower blood sugar levels. If you are a diabetic, monitoring and medication adjustments by a qualified health professional may be in order.



About sugar concentrations in elderberry syrup

A 65% or more sugar concentration in a water-based syrup is self-preserving, without the need for refrigeration. A lower sugar concentration may invite mold growth. For long term storage and extra insurance against harmful mold growth, I prefer to increase the sugar concentration to 70%.

A sugar-free, or lightly sweetened elderberry preparation can be made by simply omitting the sugar in the following recipe. If you omit the high sugar content, the final product must be frozen and used within six months, or else refrigerated and used within three days. Without alcohol or a high concentration of sugar as a preservative, the elderberry juice will likely promote the growth of molds that can cause spoilage.

An elderberry tincture made with alcohol works great, but it may not be suitable for work or school. Teachers and traffic cops may also agree. Alcohol-free elderberry juice and syrup to the rescue!


Why I don’t like to use honey or glycerin in making elderberry syrup

Because glycerin does not affect blood sugar levels like honey or sugar, it is sometimes used in making certain herbal extracts, such as echinacea. Unfortunately, glycerin is a very poor vehicle for extracting medicinal oils and resins in some herbs and berries, and elderberries are definitely resinous! Ask anyone who has ever made elderberry juice! When making juice from fresh elderberries, you will notice that utensils are soon coated with a dark and oily residue.

Honey is nice for flavoring, and it has enough sugars to preserve itself, but not enough for making a shelf stable grade of medicinal elderberry syrup.


How I use elderberry juice and syrup to ward off colds and influenza

I’ve found that the very best time to start treating a cold or flu virus with elderberry is at the very earliest stage, BEFORE the virus has presented itself in full-blown symptoms. As in “I think I might have been exposed but I’m not feeling bad yet”, or maybe “I think I may be coming down with something, but I’m not quite sure”. Elderberry works by preventing the virus from multiplying. Cold and flu viruses multiply so rapidly that it is critically important to begin treatment while they are few in number, and before they have a chance to mount a massive attack.

Although elderberry syrup can be taken alone, it is so highly concentrated (and quite sweet) that some people prefer to mix it with water or juice. Some of my favorite ways to take it is to stir a couple of tablespoons of elderberry syrup into a glass of red wine (delicious!), or grape juice, or into an old fashioned ‘shrub’ style drink (2 tablespoon elderberry syrup along with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar stirred into a glass of cold water). For more shrub ideas see http://purecajunsunshine.blogspot.co...ummertime.html

The advantage of elderberry syrup is that it needs no refrigeration, so it’s ideal for work, school or travel.




DOSAGE GUIDELINES AND TIPS

Approximate guidelines are given here, not exact dosages. Doses may vary more or less, depending upon the level of risk, along with many other factors such as an individual’s immunity, weight, etc.

In the event of possible exposure to colds and flu, I would consider taking more frequent doses of sugar-free or lightly sweetened elderberry juice at home, reserving the self preserving, but sugar-laden syrup for situations when no refrigeration is available.

Individual doses of juice can be frozen and popped into a plastic covered cup or other tightly capped container and tucked into a lunchbox, book bag, purse or briefcase. (Warning: elderberry juice will stain! Make sure containers are leak proof.)

If I suspect that I have been caught ‘off guard’ without my elderberry preventative, and start feeling even the barest hint of “something coming on”, I immediately start taking elderberry at approximately the same doses given above, or perhaps more frequently if the situation warrants it. Sometimes I can ’feel’ it when I have not had enough (feeling more poorly). This is a clear signal for me to immediately ramp up the dosage and frequency a bit. If I get up during the night, I make sure to take another dose. Umm, please don’t go crazy and overdo it, or else you may find yourself dealing with a powerful diuretic and laxative action! Don’t ask me how I know.


Adults:

If the risk of exposure to ordinary flu is high, I usually take one to two tablespoons of the sugar-free juice, or two tablespoons of elderberry syrup every four to six hours as a cold and flu preventative.


Children:

In my house, little kids take kid doses. For children under 12 years old, I use about half the adult dose. Toddlers get half of that. Keep elderberry syrup out of the reach of children because the little rascals may try to sneak extra ‘doses’ when you are not watching. Elderberry also makes a fine pancake syrup. Yum!


Pregnant or Nursing Mothers:

Some herbalists prefer not to give any herbs to someone who is pregnant or nursing. Other herbalists like myself feel that, if faced with a deadly pandemic influenza outbreak, the risk of dying from the virus far outweighs the risk of consuming a fruit product such as elderberry. However, pregnant women should not take large, frequent doses of elderberry or any herb, for that matter. Although I am not aware of any human contraindications in normal usage of elderberry syrup, I have read that insanely high concentrations of pure elderberry extract given to laboratory rodents have sometimes caused spontaneous abortion and birth defects.
If I were pregnant, I would only take elderberry only if I were at high risk of being infected by a particularly deadly strain of flu.


RECIPE RULES

1. Elderberry stains. Everything. Just be careful and rinse off spills immediately.

2. The aroma of cooking elderberries is pretty stout and lingering. If you have a range hood exhaust fan, use it! Open the windows! (I cook my elderberries on my covered porch with an electric hotplate.) If you live in bear country, keep the shotgun handy. The aroma of elderberries is bearbait extraordinaire and may provoke home invasions. (The bears are berry crazy in the mountains where I am living now.)

3. Don’t use a metal cooking vessel to extract medicinal properties from herbs, roots or berries. A glass pot is best. An enamel coated metal pot is fine, as long as there are no chips exposing the metal.

4. Start off with cool water (not hot) and gradually bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat. (This little trick also brings out maximum flavor when cooking soups and stews.)

5. If you can, try to cook elderberries in larger rather than small amounts.

6. Regular canning jars and lids are perfect for storing elderberry syrup. Make sure to sanitize the jars and lids just before using. More on that later.

7. Keep everything clean, clean, clean. The last thing you want to see when you need elderberry is a jar of spoiled syrup!


THE RECIPE, FINALLY!

You will need a ratio of ¼ cup of dried elderberries for every two cups of water. (I use the dried, imported berries from the Sambucus nigra species of elderberry--the heirloom European variety.)

You can make more than this amount, but try to maintain this ratio. To help promote maximum extraction, I like to soak the dried berries in water for a few hours first. Overnight in the refrigerator is even better.

Cover the pot loosely with a lid, enough to allow steam to escape, but not too rapidly. Gently simmer the water and berries together over medium-low heat until the liquid volume is reduced by about almost half of the original volume. For a large pot, this make take a few hours. Don’t allow the brew to come to a full rolling boil.

When elderberries are decocted in hot water, you may see a few very small ‘oil slicks’ form on the surface of the water. This is a good thing! The longer the berries cook (over low heat), the more medicinal resin is extracted. To increase the extraction process, stir and mash the berries against the side of the pot with a large spoon from time to time. Don’t try to skim it the oily stuff off, you want it to stay in the brew.

After a few hours, when the liquid in the pot has been reduced by about half of the original volume, allow to cool a little before straining the berries out.

Strain the berries through a colander, taking care to squeeze all the juice and goodness out of the berries. I don’t like to use cheesecloth or any other fabric for straining elderberries because the resins and other medicinal goodies will stick to the cloth.

At this point, if you have opted for the sugar-free preparation you will need to preserve the juice it by freezing it (use within six months), or you can refrigerate it if you can use it within 3 or 4 days.

To make a shelf-stable and self preserving 65% sugar syrup, add 2 1/8 cups of sugar to every cup of elderberry juice. Reheat and stir until all the sugar is completely dissolved.

Pour the hot syrup into hot canning jars that have been sanitized first by boiling in water for at least ten minutes. Jar lids need to be hot, as well. Simmer, do not boil the canning lids. Overheating the canning jar lids at a higher heat than a simmer (about 180*F. or so) may result in a seal failure. After pouring the hot syrup into the hot jars, wipe the jar rim with a clean damp paper towel to ensure nothing is there to interfere with sealing. Fill the jars to about ¼ - ½ inch from the top. Wipe the rim with a piece of a wet paper towel before positioning the lid. Screw on the band firmly and allow the jar to cool slowly. From time to time, you may hear ‘pings’ as the jars cool and a vacuum forms, pulling the lids down tighter.

For longer term storage, I prefer to bump up the sugar concentration a wee bit more to 70% . This translates into adding 2 ¾ cups sugar to every cup of elderberry juice. It may be overkill, but I have never seen a batch of elderberry syrup go bad at this rate.

Although elderberry syrup can last for years, I like to rotate my stock on a 6 month basis for maximum freshness. Store in a cool, dark location.

My only experience has been with the dried, imported berries from the Sambucus nigra species of elderberry--the heirloom European variety. I have not (yet) tried any of the American varieties or the S. nigra cultivars. I would like to compare their potency with the known efficacy of European elderberry! More potent? Less? The same?

Anyone know?

Copyright 2009 PureCajunSunshine / Mrs. Tightwad

This copyrighted material may be reprinted by you for noncommercial use, if the following credit is given:This article and recipe is an excerpt from Mrs. Tightwad's Handbook #2: HOW TO MAKE HOME REMEDIES THAT REALLY WORK. For more information, see the left sidebar on this site: http://purecajunsunshine.blogspot.com/
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Last edited by PureCajunSunshine; 05-26-2009 at 04:31 AM. Reason: nitpicking over spelling and such...
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:07 PM   #2
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I realize that some of my post here is more like I'm preaching to the choir! lol Sorry 'bout that! It was straight offa my blog. By putting it 'out there' in its own thread, I was hoping to draw out other "homemade Sambucol/elderberry syrup" makers/users for feedback, etc.

That's how I found another homemade elderberry syrup maker, 'Mother' over at MrsSurvival.com. (and a few others elsewhere) as well.

Their years of experience with this type of elderberry preparation mirror my own.

BTW, it is critical that this preparation undergoes a long, slow extraction process, as described. A simple berry 'tea' won't work.

My personal flu arsenal includes 3 big elderberry guns:

1) alcohol tincture (for home use)
2) lightly sweetened juice (for home use)
3) syrup (for on the road)

That way I am sure to receive every possible compound that can be extracted via alcohol (which is a dandy resin extractor), as well as what can be extracted via water.

Herbally speaking (as some of you know), some herbal medicinal properties can be extracted more completely with water than with alcohol. On the other hand, other components can be extracted more completely with alcohol than water. Since both alcohol /water extracts of elderberry are known to work as a flu preventative, I'm willing to bet that using both kinds of elderberry preparations during the course of a day would provide a broader spectrum of coverage.
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Last edited by PureCajunSunshine; 05-24-2009 at 09:44 AM. Reason: nitpicking over spelling
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:42 PM   #3
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Thank you. This was just in time for a friend who wants a teetotler recipe!

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Old 05-19-2009, 11:09 AM   #4
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This is roughly the same way I have made my elderberry syrup for years. I mentioned this on the first CE and was nearly tarred and feathered so I shut up. I had never heard of tincturing elderberries until it came up on that board. The old, old way was to cook the berries and make a juice then make a syrup.

I have tried both alcohol and no alcohol and, for my family, the syrup I have always made works better than the tincture. I add brandy to the syrup when I open a jar to help preserve it and I refrigerate it. Keeps very well, tastes good and works to keep us healthy. I have to keep reminding people it is medicine and it is not for pleasure. If you have a chill there is nothing better to warm you up than putting a shot of this in a cup of spice tea.

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Old 05-21-2009, 03:59 AM   #5
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Thank you for posting your experiences with using the old-fashioned kind of elderberry syrup!

Also, this bit is interesting because we have noticed the same very same thing:
Quote:
Originally Posted by freelove View Post

I have tried both alcohol and no alcohol and, for my family, the syrup I have always made works better than the tincture.
The first few times I used homemade elderberry syrup instead of my ususal alcohol-based tincture, I thought it was pure coincidence that the syrup preparation seemed to work better and faster, or that my immune system must have been unusually ‘up’ that week…But no, after years of experience, me and mine (family and friends) can say without a doubt, elderberry syrup works measurably better than the tincture on colds and flu.

I have read several threads at CurEvents that supported the idea that elderberry is not effective against cold viruses, but flu viruses only. Some claim that elderberry is somewhat helpful for colds, but works much better for flu. Apparently this applies only to the alcohol tincture that is so popular these days…

(I'm having a "hmmm…" moment here.)

Anyone who has ever tried the old fashioned non-alcoholic elderberry syrup knows full well that it works splendidly on both cold and flu viruses.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:52 AM   #6
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Glad to hear that your experience mirrors my own. My thinking is that some things are better extracted or made more available to the body with heat. I don't know where the whole tincture of elderberry gospel originated, tried to find out with no luck. The reply I received was that it was just known by herbalists and google didn't help either.

One other point made in your original post was that elderberry is a fruit based medicine. This is something that has been ignored in all of the myriad elderberry discussions. ElderBERRY is a fruit not an herb and therefore POSSIBLY should be treated differently.

You are right, we use the syrup for both colds and flu. Works a treat.

Thank you for posting all of this info, it is nice to sometimes hear the other side of the story. I am looking forward to the continuation of this thread, hopefully with more experiences both pro and con.

I am not out to convert anyone and everyone should do what they find best. I just want to offer my own experience. I have been using herbs and nature to heal myself and my family for roughly 40 years. No, I am not a "trained herbalist," but I know a few things.
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:13 PM   #7
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I made a big batch of both syrup and tincture 3-4 years ago from ordered dried elderberries. I've since planted my own and, since we're just about out of the syrup now, I'll be making more this summer from my harvest. So good timing on this thread.

Quote:
The result is a fine tasting juice and syrup
I so don't get this. The stuff tastes like ass. It tastes so bad that I cannot force myself to take it. Hubby and the kids agree it tastes bad but they take it anyway. Maybe it will have a better taste made from fresh?

Quote:
3. Don’t use a metal cooking vessel to extract medicinal properties from herbs, roots or berries. A glass pot is best. An enamel coated metal pot is fine, as long as there are no chips exposing the metal.
How about nonstick-coated pans? I'll likely use my crockpot this year but it might prove too difficult to control the temp. I have nothing but metal pans available this time, other than nonstick & the crockpot.

Quote:
You will need a ratio of ¼ cup of dried elderberries for every two cups of water. You can make more than this amount, but try to maintain this ratio.
And the ratio for fresh berries?
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booger View Post
....It tastes so bad that I cannot force myself to take it. Hubby and the kids agree it tastes bad but they take it anyway. Maybe it will have a better taste made from fresh?



How about nonstick-coated pans? I'll likely use my crockpot this year but it might prove too difficult to control the temp. I have nothing but metal pans available this time, other than nonstick & the crockpot.



And the ratio for fresh berries?

I'm not sure what's making it taste so bad for ya'll...old fashioned elderberry syrup is also traditionally used for pancake syrup, of all things. I've not met a child that didn't love it. I do know that it tastes kinda funky when it is unsweetened.

Tell me how you make your syrup, and maybe I can troubleshoot the problem?

Non-stick pans? Personally speaking, I would not use them for making medicinals. But that's just me. I'm a bit of an old fashioned purist and don't want any possible 'unknown factors' to affect my homemade potions.

Ratio for fresh berries? Herbally speaking, the general rule of thumb is to use twice the amount of fresh berries as you would dried.
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:33 PM   #9
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Thanks, PCS!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PureCajunSunshine View Post
Tell me how you make your syrup, and maybe I can troubleshoot the problem?
I used Summerthyme's syrup recipe. Lemme see if I can find it somewhere... Got it. It works great but, boy, I just can't stand the taste. I used dried berries from herbalcom at the time & sugar and added blackberry brandy. Kept in a cool, dark cabinet & refrigerated after opening.

Quote:
Elderberry Extract Syrup

For Influenza and other Viral Infections

I take fresh (or frozen) elderberries and crush them in a stainless steel or heavy enamelware kettle. Add a TINY bit of water (just enough to barely cover the bottom of the kettle to keep the berries from sticking) and heat it gently over LOW heat, stirring the whole mash up until it's no warmer than 150°. The heat helps release the juice from the berries, but I'm not certain of whether high heat would possible deactivate the antiviral properties. So I'm erring on the side of caution...

I either run the whole mash through my Vitamix at this point, or, if they seem to have been quite macerated already, just pour them into a jelly bag and let them drain. I've found that I get the most yield by putting them in two fine mesh bags and then putting the whole thing in my cheese press and pressing it. A cider press would work well, too. But if you don't have anything like that, simply taking the bag of mash, and twisting it tightly in your hands will get most of the juice out.

Anyway, once you've got your juice, you need to add enough sugar to preserve it. I've found that a equal ratio of sugar to juice by volume is sufficient, IF YOU WILL ADD ALCOHOL to help preserve it for storage. If you have an objection to any alcohol in the mix, you then need to use a 5:3 ratio of sugar to juice... this will give you a saturated syrup high enough in sugar so it won't spoil at room temperature.

If you prefer using honey, you need to use a slightly higher ratio.... approximately 11/4 cups of honey to every cup of juice. This is because of the water content already in the honey. Or, if you want to use pure honey without any added alcohol, you need a 2:1 honey/juice ratio.

Anyway.... stir in the sugar or honey into the warm juice, until it's all completely dissolved. If you've used the lower 1:1 ratio, at this point you need to add some alcohol for preservative. I've used Blackberry Brandy quite frequently for this... hoping to get some of the astringent and stimulant effects of the blackberry in the mix. If you use brandy, you need to add 3-4 ounces per pint of syrup.

If you simply want the alcohol as a preservative, you can add 3 ounces of 100 proof vodka, or a little more than 3 tablespoons of 160 proof vodka. (we can't get pure grain alcohol here... if you can, you can use 1 1/2 ounces of that instead).

Stir it gently, and decant it into STERILIZED jars or bottles. Use the same techinques you'd use when canning jelly- except this won't be hot enough for you to expect the seals to seal completely. As long as you sterilized the jars and the lids before bottling it, it shouldn't be necessary for it to seal.

LABEL IT!! You always think you'll remember what is in those jars, or when you made it. Wanna bet!? LOL! Seriously- make sure you put the date and at least whether or not there is anything but elderberry and sugar in there.

Store it in a cool, dark place (dark is especially important if you are using clear glass jars).
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Old 05-23-2009, 08:34 PM   #10
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PCS, I "think" most of us state the elderberry tincture works on the Influenza virsus and not the Rhinovirsus (colds) BECAUSE the tincture was the preparation so thoroughly tested against Influenza virus and documented that the tincture does work on Influenza A and B virus. Not saying the syrup does not work on colds, but I try very diligently not to POAT "suggestions" about herbs that I cannot thoroughly document. Personal decision to CMB in these days of rampant litigation! Personal private conversations/correspondance may be another matter entirely depending on the prople involved.
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Old 05-24-2009, 02:34 AM   #11
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PCS, I "think" most of us state the elderberry tincture works on the Influenza virsus and not the Rhinovirsus (colds) BECAUSE the tincture was the preparation so thoroughly tested against Influenza virus and documented that the tincture does work on Influenza A and B virus. Not saying the syrup does not work on colds…
As I was reading some of the threads, I was thinking pretty much the same thing… until I read a bit more and found these posts and others similar to them.

(I don’t have time to hunt them all to make a better point, but here’s just a few off the top…)


http://www.curevents.com/vb/showpost...86&postcount=5
“…elderberry has activity against myxoviruses (influenza) not adenoviruses (colds).”

http://www.curevents.com/vb/showpost...4&postcount=15
“Sambucol never works well for the common cold viruses. I do not remember where I read this but it is true.”

http://www.curevents.com/vb/showthre...rus#post592153
The elderberry works against virus with a lipid coat and cold viruses do not have this coat.

And so on and so forth…

It’s not just a CE thing apparently. Tonight, I went Googling and found a little bit more of the same Out There.

I just figured since everyone seems to be focused mainly on the alcohol extract, and because so few people know how to make and use the syrup the old, old fashioned way anymore, they just didn’t realize how well it works on both cold and flu. Or else it would have been officially tested and PubMedded to death, and no one would be speculating along these lines at all. lol

The old fashioned elderberry syrup deserves recognition and scientific testing. But until then, a lot of people know full well that it works extremely good against both colds and flu. I realize this is not yet documented PubMed style (slowpokes!), but the voice of many says something.

Because of studies and personal experiences, a great many are convinced that the alcohol tincture works on flu only, or that it exhibits only a mild action against colds. Speaking for me and mine, we have not found the alcohol tincture all that great for colds, but it is grand for influenza.

That’s one of the reasons why both kinds of elderberry preparations are in my arsenal as extra insurance.

Plus, this idea makes way too much sense to me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by PureCajunSunshine View Post
…some herbal medicinal properties can be extracted more completely with water than with alcohol. On the other hand, other components can be extracted more completely with alcohol than water. Since both alcohol /water extracts of elderberry are known to work as a flu preventative, I'm willing to bet that using both kinds of elderberry preparations during the course of a day would provide a broader spectrum of coverage.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:07 AM   #12
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Boog, that recipe is interesting. I might give it a try!

SummerThyme’s recipe calls for fresh berries. You used dried berries in a fresh berry ‘situation’. That could have some bearing on the problem. Dried berries need lots more time than fresh berries to release all of their juicy goodness.

Curious: how long did you heat the dried berries in water before calling it a done deal? How much water did you use? Did you do the Vitamix thing, or what?

Notice that the two recipes differ in the method of extracting the juice. Obviously both work. Summer’s recipe seems to be an effective super concentrate made in a relatively short period of time. The old fashioned way takes longer, but yields more, works well and tastes great. Give it a whirl, but follow the recipe exactly. ‘taint chicken soup, no! lol lol!
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:44 AM   #13
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GL, I'm not sure what CMB stands for, but you're right...I am sticking my neck out there a bit. >insert head chopped off smilie here<

I don't stick my neck out there too often, but when I do it's because I am a firm believer of this truism:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
--M.L. King

So.

Armed with not one but several disclaimers, I went ahead and posted...risk be damned.

It's worth it to me on several merits, including the fact that alcoholics who cannot partake of the elderberry tincture will not be left in the dust, come flu season...and there are the other merits to consider.

If this old, old way of making elderberry syrup didn't work for so many, I would not be willing to stick my little toe 'Out There', much less my neck...


Quote:
Originally Posted by goatlady View Post


.... Not saying the syrup does not work on colds, but I try very diligently not to POAT "suggestions" about herbs that I cannot thoroughly document. Personal decision to CMB in these days of rampant litigation! Personal private conversations/correspondance may be another matter entirely depending on the prople involved.

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Old 05-24-2009, 09:47 AM   #14
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I really appreciate every input as well as every caution and weigh them all in making choices.

We most often get the information in published "studies" in popularized form with conclusions inferred by the writer and not made by those who did the study. And some studies have obvious shortcomings if we look at them closely.

Every one of us relies on our own experience, tales told mostly to ourselves. Today we are faced with a serious situation in which the establishment admittedly has few answers. Each morning my daughter and I pore over all the new information that comes in and consider it carefully.

So thanks to everyone who shares from their experience and thanks to those who remind us of the need for caution.

And thanks for this forum where we get a balance of both.

OH
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:26 PM   #15
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CMB = Cover My B..., Sharon. I narrowly escaped being charged with "practicing medicine without a license" many years ago and I've learned to be EXTREMELY conservative with public postings. As I stated, just my personal choice.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:22 AM   #16
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OUCH! I’m sorry that happened! Yes, to what you said about rampant litigation. It’s has gotten downright ridiculous, these days...

I admit to being on the naïve side here, but I assumed that the use of disclaimers (same as for any herbal publication) would reduce risks? I hope so.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:38 AM   #17
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I personally like to operate on the premise that posters/readers are reasoning adults, quite capable of collecting information, assessing it & making their own choices.

I don't see any herbalist here holding a gun to anyone's head & forcing them to brew up, consume or forcefeed their families ANY herbal remedy being generously offered here.

I LIKE the fact that choices are being offered.

About the efficacy against colds thing. Is it possible elderberry works against SOME viruses causing colds & not others? After all, colds can be caused by adenoviruses, rhinoviruses, coronoaviruses & more.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:43 AM   #18
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Default question

My 13 year old son has cirrhosis. Where can I find information on giving him elderberry syrup (non alcoholic of course) any ideas welcome. thanks pam
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PureCajunSunshine View Post
SummerThyme’s recipe calls for fresh berries. You used dried berries in a fresh berry ‘situation’.
Yep, I remember PMing her about subbing in the dried and using her recommendations -- which I no longer remember.

Quote:
Curious: how long did you heat the dried berries in water before calling it a done deal?
Not sure but I think it was an hour or two?

Quote:
How much water did you use?
My memory is giving me nothing on that one.

Quote:
Did you do the Vitamix thing, or what?
Nope, didn't/don't have one. I smooshed the poop out of them with a potato masher and then ran them through my hand-crank food mill/strainer doohickey I use for making jellies and jams. (Can't remember what it's called right now.)

Anyhoo, I have fresh berries this year and will try your way for a change.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:56 PM   #20
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This is an excellent thread.

Thanks for posting.

I have never made the syrup but I think I will experiment now. I already have many quarts of tincture.

Some days I just might not want to be consuming a tincture for whatever reason or may have a "little guest" in the house in need or something soothing for a cold.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:20 PM   #21
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PCS, any disclaimer is only as good as the lawyer who will defend it! Sue, you are basically correct in your assumptions BUT this is,, as are others, an open public forum which makes it very interesting, but does demand caution in many areas. Who really know who is reading here and nobody really know HOW someone else "interpretes" posted information. I just personally feel I must err on the side of caution publically. Not a problem, I have learned to disengage emotionaly most of the time! LOL.
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Old 05-26-2009, 03:43 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaSue View Post

About the efficacy against colds thing. Is it possible elderberry works against SOME viruses causing colds & not others? After all, colds can be caused by adenoviruses, rhinoviruses, coronoaviruses & more.
Here’s my $19.95 worth:

Of course anything is possible, but I'm willing to bet 100 fine European elderberry bushes that the old fashioned elderberry syrup is effective against all the viruses that cause colds, IF it is taken immediately after exposure, and with regularity. I say this from years of experience (speaking for myself, family and friends only, as I am not a licensed health professional).

So far, so good…the only time I recall elderberry ever failing on me and mine is when we waited until full blown symptoms began before starting the regimen. It won’t ‘cure’ a cold or flu, but it does a great job of preventing them, IF taken early enough. If we wait until full blown symptoms start, all is not lost because the elderberry syrup seems to reduce the severity and duration of infection, depending on the initial viral load and individual immunity, etc.

If I catch a cold or flu virus and treat it just a tad bit too late with the elderberry syrup regimen, I can ‘feel’ my body fighting a much bigger battle than if I had started the treatment earlier. I can also ‘feel’ it when it’s past time to take another dose…I start feeling worse! Within a couple of hours after a doubled-up dose, an improvement is noticeable. Others report the same thing (and no, I don’t think the placebo effect has any appreciable part in this ).

I’m just an old Cajun fool, and not ‘up’ on a ton of scientifically correct studies and notions, but I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason why elderberry works so well is that it mechanically disables the cold and flu viruses. If so, that means viral resistance to the ‘medicine‘ is not likely. Sort of like the diatomaceous earth effect...

(Diatomaceous earth kills soft bodied insects by a nontoxic mechanical action [microscopic cuts] and the bugs die by dehydration. Because DE works strictly by a mechanical and not chemically toxic action, there is no possibility of any bug becoming immune or resistant to it.)

My only experience has been with the dried, imported berries from the Sambucus nigra species of elderberry--the heirloom European variety. I have not (yet) tried any of the American varieties or the S. nigra cultivars. I would like to compare their potencies with the known efficacy of European elderberry! More potent? Less? The same?

Anyone know?
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:01 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by pamcat View Post
My 13 year old son has cirrhosis. Where can I find information on giving him elderberry syrup (non alcoholic of course) any ideas welcome. thanks pam
It's in the first post of this thread. If you are new to the internet, just click onto the next line:

http://thisbluemarble.com/showpost.p...48&postcount=1

But before you head there, please read this:

This educational information is intended to increase your knowledge of traditional usage of plants. It is not meant to diagnose, prevent, prescribe or to administer in any manner to any physical ailments. In any matters related to your health, please contact a professional health practitioner.

Because I am not a licensed medical professional, I wanted you to be aware of that before deciding to try any traditional herbal remedies without consulting your doctor.
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:10 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booger
...I have fresh berries this year and will try your way for a change.

Please let me know how it works for you! You are using which species...?

Just a reminder,

Quote:
My only experience has been with the dried, imported berries from the Sambucus nigra species of elderberry--the heirloom European variety. I have not (yet) tried any of the American varieties or the S. nigra cultivars. I would like to compare their potencies with the known efficacy of European elderberry! More potent? Less? The same?
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:14 AM   #25
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PCS, It's my understanding that the S. negra, ssp Canadensis IS the European elderberry that grows in the xontinental U. S.; same plant, same berry, same potency, just taxinomically named to show it's growing here istead of there. The NOva, York, Adams, and that other president's name varieties are the best choice varieties for medicinal preps. There are many, many other varieties of the black elderberry available now but most are hydrids, for show, not medicinal, like that new Black Lace. It's REAL showy and beautiful, but has been bred for show growth so I personally wouldn't count on it's medicinal properties. MIght be okay for jams, jellies, and pies though!
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