I have muscle and joint issues, so when I saw a recipe for a natural rub to ease my pains, I was really excited. After I copied down all the ingredients from the instructional video, the host says “now you let it sit for four months before adding the remaining ingredients.” Moral of the story? Make natural health aides before you need them.
I’ve purchased elderberry syrup, and my children didn’t like the taste so now I’m making my own. Not only is this more economical, (I’ve seen it for over $20 for 8 oz) but it can be customized to our tastes, health needs, and canned for a shelf-stable remedy.
In regards to herbs, my elderberry syrup contains echinacea, mullein, and marshmallow root. Echinacea is well-known for fighting colds and flus, but it also quells inflammation. I specifically looked for herbs which benefit the respiratory system for this concoction as well, and I chose marshmallow root and mullein. According to Rosemary Gladstar’s book, “Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide,” marshmallow is “specific for treating inflamed and irritated tissues of the respiratory system, digestive system, and skin . .” And while it doesn’t fight infections, marshmallow root soothes the lungs. Gladstar also touts mullein as an aid for ailing lungs. “Mullein leaf is both an antispasmodic (it relaxes spasms) and an expectorant (it helps expel mucus), and with these properties it is renowned as a remedy for deep-seated or spastic coughs, bronchial congestion, chest colds, allergies, and other aliments that involve respiratory stress.”
I purchased my dried elderberries here, and use them in my homemade teas as well. I shop around for my herbs, but typically buy from Mountain Rose Herbs and Amazon. If you are looking for other uses for herbs mentioned here, invest in some medicinal herb books.
You can make these in any size jars, and my instructions are for pint sized and under. Refrigerate after opening.
Elderberry Syrup with Respiratory Herbs
8 cups of water
1 1/2 cups dried elderberries
4 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
2 inch slice of fresh ginger
1/2 cup dried echinacea
1/2 cup dried marshmallow root
1/2 dried mullein
2 cups raw honey
5 TBSP lemon juice
Add water through dried mullein in a pot, and bring to a boil.
Lower to a simmer for 30 minutes. Strain mixture, and measure. You should have 4 cups of elderberry juice mix. Add back to pot and add 2 cups of honey, and lemon juice then heat to incorporate. You can see the oils from the cinnamon in this picture.
Bring to a boil, then add to desired sized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Clean rims of jars and add rings and lids. Water bath can for 10 minutes.