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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Cold and 'flu' season approaches

So, as we leave the Summer behind, and head towards the cold and 'flu' season, what can we do to help prevent respiratory infections?

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra)

There is mounting evidence to support herbalists' use of elderberries to fight colds, 'flu' and other respiratory ills.

The berries are rich in Vitamin C and anthocyanins, reported to be significantly antioxidant and antiviral.

Elderberry syrups are a popular traditional cold remedy:

  • Remove elderberries from their stalks by pushing them off with a fork.
  • Weigh the ripe berries, then simmer them in half their volume of water for about 20 minutes.
  • Strain through muslin or a jelly-bag.
  • Cool, then squeeze out the juice.
  • Measure the juice and add half the weight of sugar.
  • Simmer for another 20 minutes, then pour into warmed sterilized jars or bottles.

The syrup can be taken either 1 tsp every couple of hours during a cold, maybe mixed with other tinctures or remedies, or boiled water added to make a drink to help fend off a cold.

Elderberry Syrup

Onion syrup

This sounds like an acquired taste, but is surprisingly palatable, made very quickly and uses ingredients found readily to hand.

Onion syrup

At the first sign of a cold coming on:

  • Chop an onion.
  • Layer (alternating) the onion pieces with honey (or sugar) in a jar.
  • Finish the layering with honey (or sugar) on the top.
  • Place the jar in the 'fridge.
  • Within hours the honey (or sugar) will have drawn fluid out of the onion.
  • Take a teaspoon of the fluid (ie. syrup) every couple of hours.

A chopped up garlic clove can be added in with the onion - if you don't mind repelling friends and visitors as well as your cold!


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