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The Crunchy Apothecary: Elderberry Beats Flu


It is true - it is published medical literature. Science has finally caught up in terms of berries! But we didn't need a modern medical study to prove that high-antioxidant foods improve health!


You've probably heard about them. The wee Elderberry! Elderberries are super antioxidant berries that support the immune system and the gut. Polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins … Elderberries have got it all. There are no less than a dozen published medical papers out there RIGHT NOW supporting what the ancient crunchy folks have long known; Elderberries are a natural medicine. When your gut breaks down the flavonoids in Elderberries, it leaves behind DAT (desaminotyrosine). This DAT actually helps protect against damage from influenza. You can read more published medical literature by searching "sambucas nigra, pubmed" and in the studies linked at the bottom of this blog post.


This berry comes into season at the end of June in South Jersey, though it can be actively growing from May to November, depending on the climate.

Not only are they beautiful when flowering in early June but they're gorgeous! These clusters of black berries which hang from the weight of the fruit come late June/early August. They're also very pigmented, so plan to have purple hands or use gloves! Refrain from eating more than a few raw, as it can upset the stomach.



You don't need to harvest them fresh since many companies like Frontier and Vitacost and Amazon carry these lovely black bulbs of antioxidants. Expect to pay anywhere from $20-25 /lb of organic elderberries. They can be purchased dry (or harvested and then dehydrated) and kept for 2-3 years if sealed well.

SIDE NOTE: I do not recommend, and never will under ANY circumstance, flu shots. But, I fully recommend arming your body with the necessary nutrition and rest to properly fight bacteria and viruses. Another medical journal article discusses various berries’ effects on metabolism for the better!

So ... let's make some of that magical berry juice!


Tools of the Trade: Cheesecloth or Nut Milk Bag or Colander 2.5 qt Sauce Pan Glass Jars for Storage

Spoon Ingredients:

4 Cups Filtered Water

1 inch Organic Raw Ginger Root

1 Inch Organic Raw Turmeric Root

Pinch Organic Black Pepper

2 Cups Raw Local Honey



I always tell people its like making mac & cheese! You just boil it, strain it and add honey. But here are some more specific directions.

Recipe: 1. Chop the ginger and turmeric root. Bring elderberries, water and all spices to a boil. Turn back heat to low, allow to simmer for 20+ minutes. 3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature or at least under 105 F. 4. Strain through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth or fine colander to extract all the liquid. 5. Once cooled, add honey. Do not add your honey too soon or you’ll kill all the good raw enzymes of the honey! Using this larger amount of honey (comparatively to other recipes) will preserve your Syrup longer. 6. Bottle in a clean glass. Refrigerate. Keeps 2 months at the very least, up to 6. The honey, itself, will preserve the syrup for a long time, but you can also add Vodka or another clear spirit to help with shelf life.


How to Enjoy:

1/2 Tsp daily, once a day

1/2 Tsp when ill or exposed, up to 4x a day

  • You may double and triple up when you feel something coming on, have been in a crowded area or know you’ve been around someone who is ill.



*If you have any concern about elderberries inducing ARDS or the Cytokine Storm ... please read next week's post about how that is some malarky for 99% of Americans.



Further Reading:






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