Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Food : Elderberry Syrup & Foods That Heal

My journey to heal my body was long, discouraging, and expensive.  In trialing hundreds of medical, natural, and folklore remedies to get well, I discovered breakthroughs but many setbacks about what truly has a positive benefit to health.  One of the natural remedies I was once convinced would cure my every ache was a sweet tasting powder taken with oxygenating water drops.  No luck with that one.  I experienced points of hopeless desperation and spent a lot of time on my knees seeking God for answers. Although my healing wasn't instantaneous,  I had a peace that God would lead me to what would heal me.   Through a journey I will never forget, God showed me which foods, herbs, alternative medicine techniques, and dietary models were in alignment with what He created to be beneficial to our bodies.

    One very important thing I learned on my journey is:

The most healing foods can be made in your own kitchen.

Think of your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator as a first line of defence when sickness hits.  Make garlic tea, take a spoonful of elderberry syrup, pull some homemade stock out of the freezer for soup.  Don't have any of those staples made?  Now is your opportnity to begin turning your kitchen into a virtual medicine chest.

Here are 3 easy steps to get you started.

1. Homemade broth:

                           {Beef broth labeled and dated ready to be refrigerated or frozen for later use.}   

Next time you buy a rotisserie chicken, toss the meat picked carcass in the crockpot with veggie scraps and cover with water.  Cook it on low for 8-12 hours while you sleep.  The next morning strain the broth, trash the scraps and put the broth in jars to be refrigereated or frozen.  Soup can now be ready in 20 minutes once you have this step down. You can also make broth by simmering the bones and veggie scraps on the stove top as well.   During the week while I'm cooking, I save vegetable scraps in a ziplock bag just for broth making.  Examples include the tops and bottoms of carrots, celery, onions, garlic, or parsley.  You can also buy stock bones from your butcher or local grocery store.  Bones from organic fed animals such as grass-fed beef and pastured chickens will provide an even more nutrient dense broth than conventionally raised animals.

Chicken, beef, or fish broth is rich in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, silicon, magnesium, and sulfur. It also contains trace minerals that are easy for the body to absorb. Broth also has natural gelatin and collagen which are excellent for healing inflammation in the body as well as making your skin look beautiful. The glycine in the gelatin has even been shown to help with liver function.  Store bought broth does not have the same healing effect as the homemade variety, so whip up a batch on the weekend so you can have broth throughout the week or frozen for a later use.

2.  Garlic Tea

  As for garlic tea, I make it any time anyone in the house gets the slightest sniffle or upper respiratory tickle.  I've been known to drink 2-3 cups a day when I feel a cold coming on or when my co-workers have all come down with something.  Surprisingly though, it does not taste like garlic: the lemon juice takes over and it tastes like lemon water with honey.  This tea is not only great for viral infections but it is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, detoxifying, and calms the digestive system.  Once made though, it doesn't keep for more than 2 days in the fridge.  Drink up and share with the family!  Here's an easy recipe that can be made in 20 minutes.

3. Elderberry Syrup {Recipe below}:

Elderberry syrup is great to have on hand to prevent colds, sorethroats, or any virus. It is both anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. You can buy elderberry syrup made with honey at the local healthfood store (I won't tell), but it is much cheaper to make st home. Take one to two teaspoons at the first sign of a cold, sore throat, flu or other viral illness.  You can also take 1 tsp daily as a prevention.   This is a staple to have in your healing kitchen repertoire.   I found fresh berries at our farmers market but you can also buy them dried here. This tonic is great for kids too, provided they're not babies under one year of age.

The above ideas are easy entry level ways to begin using your kitchen as a medicine cabinet.  We can choose to heal with every morsel that crosses our lips.  It's really that simple.  Besides, your great grandmother would approve.

Elderberry Syrup

I had two cups of fresh elderberries, so I left one batch plain and added sliced fresh ginger to the second.  Either way you make it, this is one immune boosting tonic!

- 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries
- 1/2 inch slice fresh ginger (optional)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup raw local honey

  1. Heat the berries, ginger (optional) and water to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30-45 minuets.
  2. Remove ginger.  Mash the berries, strain, and add honey. 
  3. Bottle and store.  Keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.

What else can you do with Elderberry syrup besides taking it each day as a flu prevention or taking it at the onset of a cold?

  • A sorbet base
  • Ice cream topping
  • Drizzled on your pancakes
  • Add a few tablespoons to frosting for cupcakes.
  You can also make this refreshing lime and elderberry cooler!

Elderberry & Lime Cooler
Serves 1 {can be doubled, or tripled}

- 3 tsp Elderberry syrup
- 3 drops stevia {or 1 tsp honey}
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 cup water
- Ice Cubes

  1. Combine all ingredients in a 4 ounce tumbler, stir, and enjoy!

I'd love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below telling us what steps you have done to make your kitchen/home a healing place. 
- Melanie

This post linked with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free WednesdayHearth and Soul Hop,and Keep it Real Thursdays.

- images via Melanie


  1. I am now following your lovely blog. I found you via Beyond the Peel's Keep it Real Thursday. Have a great week.

    1. Hi Carol! So happy to have you here! Thanks for reading. Looking forward to getting to know you! Have a great weekend. -Danya

  2. I totally agree, food can be very powerful medicine. You have some great ideas in this post, and your elderberry syrup is wonderfully wholesome. Love the Elderberry and Lime Cordial too!


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