Ever wondered whether there was a herbal remedy you could make yourself, which might help prevent winter viruses like ‘flu taking hold? This elderberry tincture recipe has been used for generations, and it does just that! These beautiful berries are in season right now. What better way to prepare for the winter months ahead? Take a teaspoon per day when ‘flu is about, to support your immune system’s fight against the virus.*
Elderberry Tincture Recipe
What you need
- clean preserving / mason jars
- a fork
- vodka (40% + alcohol)
- 100g of sugar per 1/2 litre of vodka
What to do
To make this alcohol-based medicinal tincture, you must first pick a quantity of elderberries according to the amount you wish to make. (Don’t mistake water hemlock for the elderberry as it’s toxic, it has hollow stems with purple stems) You need enough berries to fill your mason jar loosely with berries to within 1 inch of the rim.
Take the berry umbrellas by the main stem with one hand and with the other take the fork and use it to force the berries off the stem into the bowl below. When this is done place them in a pan of water and all the little tiny stemlets remaining will float to the surface, when you have removed these, take the colander and strain the berries.
Place the berries loosely into the jar followed by as much vodka as will fit into it, ensure the alcohol covers the berries by at least 1 inch so that the liquid fills the jar almost to its rim.
Add the necessary amount of sugar according to the amount of alcohol you have put in and close the lid tightly.
Each day, shake the jar and during the first week, open the jar to ensure that the vodka still covers the berries, add a little more to it if necessary.
After 6-8 weeks open the jar and remove the berries by straining them through the colander. This herbal tincture will remain potent for 1-2 years if kept in a cool dark place, away from children of course!
Remember to label the jar(s) with the ingredients and date them.
If at any time you smell mould, then dispose of it immediately.
* Elderberry’s Benefits: Elderberry may help boost immunity by increasing the body’s production of cytokines (proteins involved in regulating the immune system’s response to disease and infection), according to a 2001 study on the elderberry extract Sambucol. The study’s authors suggest that Sambucol ( elderberry tincture) may deliver an immune-enhancing effect when administered to people with cancer or AIDS, but this theory still needs to be tested in clinical trials.
Sources: Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. “The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines.” European Cytokine Network 2001 12(2):290-6
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Photo credit: Rebecca Watkins
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