As part of my education at Bastyr University I am taught the art of Medicine Making in a Botanical Medicine Dispensary. The idea of this class is to show us how to make our own medicine for our future practices as Naturopaths. Botanical Medicine can be dispensed in a number of ways, the traditional tinctures, salves and elixirs, and the not so traditional miles, acetracks, and emulsions. One of my favorite lessons from this class was learning how to make an Elderberry Syrup. Elderberry is part of the Adoxaceae family; traditionally the berries have been used to topically to treat wounds, and internally to treat respiratory illnesses including colds and flus. Elderberry is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer properties.
In my opinion, Elderberry is exceptional when dispensed as a syrup. It has a pleasant taste and works wonders on an ailing respiratory system. I have used this syrup prophylactically as well as in acute situations.
Elderberry Syrup: (adapted from Crystal Stelzer and Jenny Perez)
1. Add 1 ounce of dried Elderberries to 2 cups of cold water. Over low heat, simmer the liquid, reducing to 1 cup (do not boil vigorously). This will give you a very concentrated, thick tea.
2. Strain the berries from the liquid.
3. In one cup of tea, add 1⁄2 cup of honey.
4. Warm the honey and Elderberry tea together just enough to mix well. Overheating the honey, or heating it for too long will destroy the beneficial enzymes found in honey.
5. Remove from heat and bottle for use. Syrups last for several weeks, up to 6 months if refrigerated.
Why use Honey?
Honey provides a unique taste as well as antimicrobial, antioxidant and antifungal properties. Honey also serves as a natural preservative for your syrup.
Making your own medicine forges a connection between the healing properties of a plant as well the vis. When you are actively putting work into healing your body, it will manifest in the results you receive.