People today are searching for natural, nonpharmaceutical treatments to help them battle the upcoming cold and flu season without getting an annual flu shot. A majority of modern pharmaceuticals have their roots in some type of plant or plant property. We hear about nasty viruses on the news (H1N1, bird flu), but modern medicine is finding it harder to treat infections due to drug resistance, and medications don’t do anything to treat viruses.
While there are many different herbs and natural treatments available to combat cold and flu symptoms, the elderberry is a plant that has been used for centuries to naturally boost the immune system to ward off colds and viruses. WebMD explains how elderberries can reduce flu symptoms by 50 percent and that the berries may have benefit against H1N1. The berries boost the immune system, fight inflammation and reduce swelling. Many varieties of elderberries are toxic, but Sambucus nigra is the variety used in medicinal remedies.
Where can you find quality, organic herbs and plants to make your own home remedies? Three great sources are Bulk Herb Store, Apothecary Shoppe and Mountain Rose Herbs. Once you have the necessary herbs, making a tincture is easy to do.
Making a tincture is really easy, although it takes time for the alcohol to draw out the immune-boosting qualities of the herbs, so give yourself a few weeks to let the tincture develop before you need to use it.
Elderberry and Rosehips Tincture
1/2 pound dried elderberries
1 ounce dried elder flowers
6 ounces dried rosehips
Vodka (You can use rum, whiskey or even Everclear – must be 90 proof)
In a large glass jar, add the dried elderberries, elder flowers and rosehips. Add vodka to completely cover everything. Secure jar with a lid, and shake the mixture to completely soak the dried ingredients. Leave in a cool, dark place for 4 to 6 weeks to allow the tincture to develop.
After letting the tincture sit, strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a coffee filter, reserving the liquid and discarding all the dried berries. Pour into clean, sterile dark glass containers that have lids. Store in a cool place.
To Use Tincture: Take 1 teaspoon of elderberry tincture 3 times a day when you first start to notice symptoms of a cold or the flu, and continue to take the tincture until symptoms are gone. Dilute the tincture in 8 ounces of water for easy drinking, or mix the tincture with a bit of honey (preferably raw local honey).