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Elderberry Medicinal Remedies


These recipes were placed on our forum by some of our regular users, as they're popular remedies we thought it would be a good idea to turn them into web pages to make finding them easier.

Elderberry Rob

This elderberry rob recipe is from Non Shaw's book, "Herbalism: An Illustrated Guide". Her method is "Take a quantity of elderberries and strip them off their stalks with a fork. Press out the juice using a wine press or jelly bag" I usually put them into a large piece of clean used cotton sheet and twist one end around until you can't squeeze out any more.

This is a very tactile experience and you shouldn't use or wear anything you don't mind getting stained purple from the juice! "Add 1tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp ginger (optional) per 2 pints of liquid in a heavy bottomed pan" (preferably stainless steel or glass)"Reduce over a low heat until the juice is the consistency of molasses. Bottle and store in a cool place. Dose: Take 1tsp in a cup of hot water daily." I like this recipe because it doesn't use any sugar or honey and therefore is suitable for people with diabetes either type 1 or 2.

Elderberry Cordial

Barbara Grigson, in her book "The Greenwitch: A Modern Woman's Herbal" gives a very simple recipe for spiced elderberry cordial which I like.

"Wash and destalk the berries. Put 2lbs of them in a pan with a cupful of water and simmer until they have given up most of their juice. Crush and strain the berries through a seive. Put the juice back in a saucepan with five cloves, an inch or so of fresh root ginger, grated and 1/2 lb of sugar. Simmer for another hour and then store in tightly sealed jars."

I strain my cordial before bottling and about three years ago I added a couple of tablespoons of madeira to the cordial and it is still good. I either add it to a "cold tea" or my cough syrup or have it by itself if I remember! It's also good for adding a teaspoon to unpalatable tinctures.

Sarah Head

Elderberry Tincture

Elderberry tincture is easy. I buy a cheap bottle of vodka, which you can get in Tesco for under 7. (well, several bottles actually, because I make it by the gallon!) I fill a wine-making demijohn with elderberries stripped from their stalks, then top the whole thing up with vodka. I leave it (it's supposed to be a warm place, but the only space I have is on the dresser in the kitchen, so that's where it stays) for two, three or four months, depending on when I remember it and whether I've run out of last year's batch yet, then strain it, throw the berries on the compost heap (the chickens find them interesting!!) and bottle the liquid. At the first sign of a cough, cold or 'flu' we take a teaspoonful diluted in water (or orange juice) and do so four or five times a day over the next three days or so. Usually it will stop the cold from developing, but if it doesn't it cuts the duration and severity by a long way. The only cold that managed to sneak through my defences the winter lasted three days.

Lynne Tan-Watson

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