Thursday, February 10, 2011

homemade Elder Berry cough syrup..

A few weeks ago Ian had a cough. And since I had recently been doing some reading about natural remedies, I decided to try my hand at making my own homemade elder berry cough syrup. I purchased dried elder berries at my local nutrition shop and then I followed this recipe. I gave it to Ian for about three days, and ran the humidifier (which is like the miracle cure, in my opinion) and he was better in no time!

Now...while it was cool and interesting making my own cough syrup...I feel I have to tell you about a few of the realities of this endeavor.

First of all...simmering dried elder berries STINKS. Oh my was bad. A combination of wet, dirty dog and...oh...maybe dirty socks? Yuck. Very bad smell. Very bad.

Second of all...regardless of what I had read, it does not taste good. At first you're not sure...does it taste bad? Or good? I can't tell! But then you does not taste good. Berries or Someone went so far as to say it was like "drinking candy". Um. No. Not even close.

BUT, it was effective for Ian's cough.*** And the smell was easily masked once I fried up some bacon for BLT's. Thank goodness.

So...wanna give it a try? Here's the recipe:

Elder Berry Cough Syrup

•1/2 c. dried elderberries or 1 c. fresh elderberries
•3 c. water
•1/2 c. honey
•1/4 c. cherry brandy (optional)*

Place the water in a pot on the burner and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to a low simmer and add elderberries. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the elderberries, reserving the juice, and pressing down firmly on top of the berries to drain all the liquid. Rinse out the pot and return the juice to it over a low heat. Simmer for a few more minutes, until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Pour into a glass container and add the honey and the brandy. Stir well, until the honey is completely dissolved.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will keep for 2 months if the brandy is included, or 2 weeks if you choose not to use brandy as a preservative.**

Take 1 to 2 Tbsp a day as a maintenance dose and 3 to 5 Tbsp a day when you’re just starting to feel a cough or cold coming on.

*I did not use brandy.
**I read elsewhere that this will keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator. Use your judgment.
***This was NOT effective for my cough, as mine turned out to be a combination of pneumonia and asthma. While there may be an effective homeopathic remedy for these things, I didn't know about them and turned to modern medicine to help me get better.


denise said...

I made these throat lozenges awhile back that tasted just AWFUL. No way could I make my kids suck on one! I think the key with the home remedies is getting them on board as soon as the sickness starts.

Rachel said...

Wow! We have just begun to discover the uses of elderberry would be so neat to make it ourselves!

Nancy said...

i've done elerberry juice in orange juice; word is that it helps prevent sickness if you start it in the fall and do it daily. i'm not feeling the urge to try making my own syrup. the fact that it smells like dog/socks..yuk! so, did the good outweigh the bad enough that you will make it again?

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Hi Michelle! Glad to know you and Ian are better now. I hope no one else gets the cough, but I bet it's nice to know you're prepared. But just where do you find elderberries? Did I miss this on an earlier post?

Have a great weekend!

Camille said...

I'm often thinking about more natural ways of treating illness. Thank you for this recipe. Hmmmm....I'll have to bookmark this and give it a go should the need arise. Thank you for taking the time to tell us about it. :)

Many blessings,

Chile said...

I had never had elderberry anything until this last cold when I finally remembered I had some elderberry cough syrup (purchased, not homemade) in the medicine cabinet. Expecting a berry-like flavor, I was shocked and disgusted to swallow what tasted like a very sweet highly concentrated tomato syrup. Blech. I won't be making any from scratch, thankyouverymuch!