Scientific studies have validated the usefulness of elderberries as one of the finest remedies for preventing and treating upper respiratory infections and fever, as well as for treating nasal congestion and sore throat. It is reported that a mixture containing elderberry extract could inhibit the replication of 11 strains of the influenza virus and increase the production of cytokines, which enable immune cells to communicate with each other.
Elderberry juice—or other preparations, such as syrups and “robs”—are among the finest remedies to keep on hand for winter colds and flu, and has been used for that purpose for millennia.
Here is a recipe for Elderberry Rob. Take a spoonful everyday over winter to keep colds and flu at bay. Or mix with brandy or rum and a little hot water to make a delicious alternative to mulled wine!
1. Strip berries from stalks using a fork.
2. Rinse the berries then place in a large pan.
3. Simmer with a little bit of water to prevent sticking for around 30 minutes.
4. Sterilise bottles by washing then placing in an oven and turning it on to 150°c. Boil the lids.
5. Strain the juice mixture through a muslin and measure in a jug.
6. Add sugar at the rate of 8oz per pint of juice. (Sorry this recipe predates metric measurement!)
7. Add spices eg nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice. Simmer for around 30 minutes to dissolve the sugar and concentrate it into a syrup.
8. Pour into the bottles and put lids on while it is hot.