Respect your elder(berries)

For thousands of years, elder trees have been used for medicinal purposes. In ancient times, Hippocrates is rumored to have referred to the elder tree as his medicine chest!

The leaves and flowers of the elder tree have been used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, and the bark has been said to induce vomiting and serve as a laxative. But the black-blue berries of plants are where the real magic is.

Immune boost. Elderberries contain an abundance of immune-boosting qualities. They are also full of antioxidants and antiviral properties.

Vitamins. These lovely little berries contain high amounts of vitamins A, B, and C. They also contain amino acids.

Flu treatment. Some holistic practitioners prescribe elderberry extract as a safe means of treating the flu. A study published in the July 2009 issue of Phytochemistry showed that elderberry extract is comparable to conventional drugs Amantadine and Tamiflu in the treatment of H1N1.

Cold and flu severity. Many studies show that elderberries reduce the duration and severity of colds and flu. It’s also believed that elderberries can help with sinus drainage and upper respiratory conditions.

Cancer treatment. Studies show elderberries might be able to slow the growth and spread of cancerous tissue. Elderberries contain similar antioxidant properties as cranberries but fewer antioxidants than blueberries.

You can find black elderberries growing in the wild, but it’s not recommended for humans to eat them raw. That’s because unripe elderberries contain toxins harmful to humans.

To make your own elderberry juice, remove the stems from the fruit and heat the fruit on the stove in just enough water to cover the berries. Let the berries simmer for about ten minutes to soften the skins and help release the juice. After the berries are cooked, allow them to cool and pour the whole works through a juice strainer.

After that, you can simply can the juice as you would can any other type of fruit. (YouTube can help y’all out with that if you don’t have your own preferred method of preserving!)

You can also buy elderberry extract and save yourself a lot of work!

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