December 01, 2021
For centuries Elder has been revered as an important and sacred medicinal plant. Though it blooms in the early summer in most parts of the United States, we like to celebrate Elder at the end of the calendar year because of its symbolic affiliation with renewal and rebirth. Many of us spend the final weeks of December reflecting on our habits and behaviors from the year we’re about to leave behind — Elder is a plant that encourages us to shred old patterns and make room for growth in the new year.
Elder is also a plant that represents immunity, an important and strong quality during cold and flu season. Elder has a strong presence of phenolic compounds and antioxidants, making it an oft-used remedy for viruses that are commonly spread in the winter.
Join us in reflecting on the themes of rebirth, renewal, and immunity by subscribing to our December Plant of the Month box, which spotlights Elder and includes product samples and plant material, as well as exercises to help you spiritually connect with Elder as the new year approaches.
You can also try our Elderberry Syrup with Reishi + Roots recipe, a tart, nourishing, and immune-supporting syrup that you can take to help promote general health and wellbeing. For the sweet tooths, you can try drizzling this syrup on ice cream, or mixing it into sparkling water or another drink of your choice.
Find details about this recipe and tons of other herbal recipes in Kathi Langelier’s book “Herbal Revolution: 65+ Recipes for Teas, Elixirs, Tinctures, Syrups, Foods + Body Products that Heal.”
What You’ll Need
Place the elderberries, cinnamon, ginger, astragalus, reishi, and water in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When t reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. You want to reduce the liquid by half (about 2 cups [480 ml]). Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for about an hour, then strain.
Next, add the lemon juice and sweetener. Using 2 cups (640 g) of sweetener will make the syrup more shelf stable, but super sweet. So, if you prefer a less sweet version, use less sweetener (start with ½ cup [160 g], taste, and adjust from there), then just store in the fridge. You can also add the optional alcohol and store in the fridge, especially if you don’t think you’ll use this syrup as often.
When ready, bottle into labeled jars and store in the fridge.
Take ½ to 1 teaspoon once per day as preventative care. Increase to taking ½ to 1 teaspoon multiple times a day if you feel something coming on.
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