Elderberries, the top berry to boost your immune system

Sweet’s Syrup is a local, handcrafted remedy who’s star ingredient is an extraordinary berry that’s been used for centuries to help boost the immune system, fight off different respiratory ailments, treat allergies, and numerous others health conditions. Hippocrates - the Father of Medicine himself, referred to them as his "medicine chest" for the wide variety of ailments it seemed to cure. Researchers in Switzerland and Italy have even uncovered evidence that elderberries were cultivated by prehistoric man! Elderberries were all the rage during the recent flu epidemic for their ability to protect against and fight the flu - clinical studies have proven it's efficacy!

This extraordinary berry has the botanical names Sambucus Canadensis and Sambucus Nigra. They are a member of the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family, are a tree like bush with delicate white flowers (the elderflower of the famed "St.Germain" delicious liquor, so good) and off its subbranches gorgeous clusters of small, dark berries grow. They are in season between August through October and they flourish mostly in Northeastern and Northwestern regions of the United States, Canada. The more popular variety found all throughout Europe is the Sambucus Nigra (black elderberry) - "holunder" is the German translation and they are used abundantly for medicinal remedies and cooking in Europe, particularly the Bavaria region. When foraging for elderberries make sure you spot the dark, blueish/purplish berry, not it’s counterpart Sambucus Ebulus which are bright red - not only are they bitter but very toxic. Also, never eat raw elderberries - they must be cooked! 

Elderberries always top the list of foods with the highest amounts of antioxidants with an ORAC score of 14,697. Why is this a good thing? An antioxidant inhibits oxidation Oxidation produces free radicals, which create reactions in the body to damage cells - the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases. So an ANTIoxidant protects AGAINST oxidation and elderberries are loaded with them! These powerful little berries are fighting to protect your cells from damage and help keep you healthy and disease free. Another phytonutrient that elderberries in abundance are flavanoids, which help maximize the benefits of Vitamin C and helps reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and prevent cancer. Elderberries also provide the body with potassium, iron, vitamin B6, and betacarotene. Having a combination of these helps out our musculoskeletel system, cardiovascular system, vision, digestive system, and our endocrine system. They can help our white blood cells to fight off infections and provide our bodies with a natural energy to keep our systems active in fighting against harmful bacteria. Food is medicine!!!

Sweet’s Syrup is excited to be working with WindCrest Organic Farm in Monroe, North Carolina. The owner, Mary grows certified, local, organic elderberries and we plan to dry them for use throughout the year. Can't wait to go elderberry foraging late summer and beat the birds to picking Mother Nature's finest!!!  Please check out our website for more information and how to purchase. 

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Stephanie Rickenbaker