An Elderberry syrup with a twist: medicinal mushrooms!
I have developed a delicious immune-boosting syrup, and have gotten rave reviews from everyone who has tried it, including my kids. They just can’t get enough! The syrup is based on a simple elderberry syrup recipe, with the addition of some medicinal mushrooms and other herbs that support immune function. This syrup is great for fighting colds and influenza, as well as supporting healthy immune function. It is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers, and as long as you don’t have a sensitivity to fungi, you are good to go!
I will put the recipe instructions below, but first I would like to talk about the ingredients and why I chose to use each one specifically.
First, let’s talk about elderberries. Elderberries are amazing! Packed full of anti-oxidants, these berries are a nutritional power-house! Per cup (125ml) of elderberries, there are 52.2 mg of Vitamin C, 51 mg of calcium, 2.3 mg of iron, 56 mg of phosphorous, 406 mg of potassium, 123 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, and 235 mg of omega-6 fatty acids. (source) These berries are high in flavonoids that act as anti-oxidants, which protect us against free radicals. There have been studies using extracts of elderberry to combat flu (and other viruses), and they found that elderberries are extremely effective for reducing the longevity of symptoms. I use this syrup when cold and flu season is picking up, but I like to have it around all year for good immune support. Here are some more resources for your own research:
The next ingredient I’d like to talk about is Chaga also known as clinker polypore. It’s latin name is inonotus obliquus. I have written an article about chaga already, so I will share that with you, as well as some other sources of info on Chaga’s powerful immune stimulation:
Now, let’s talk about Reishi Mushrooms!
A very scholarly text about reishi: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/
The next important ingredient in this syrup is Turkey Tail Mushrooms or Trametes versicolour.
Image Source (and a great article): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/mushrooms-cancer_b_1560691.html
So these Forest Allies go into the syrup together. This syrup will contain: cane sugar, honey or maple syrup. If consuming sugar is an issue for you, consider making a blend of these herbs and consume as a tea, rather than a syrup.
Forest Allies Syrup: a flexible formula that increases immune response to bacterial and viral infection. For use when experiencing cold and flu symptoms, primarily, but can also be used for other bacterial/viral infections. (By flexible formula I mean that it changes from batch to batch, depending on what other herbs I have on hand, but the basic ingredients stay the same.) This syrup is totally kid-friendly, my little ones gobble it up. I recommend using a small shot glass for dosage. I like to use this all winter, to keep colds from infecting our household. One dose per day for everyone in our family, and it really helps. Enjoy, friends!
Adults: 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) up to three times daily when symptoms are acute (when you have a cold or flu etc.) OTHERWISE: 1 Tablespoon daily will support healthy immune function, and help keep colds and flu at bay.
Children under 12 years: 1 teaspoon (5 ml), 3 times daily for acute symptoms; 1 tsp/5 ml daily to support immunity.
6 cups water, 1 1/2 cups dried elderberries, 1/3 cup reishi mushrooms, 1/4 cup finely chopped or coarsely ground Chaga, 1/3 cup Turkey Tail Mushroom, 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 1Tbs cloves, 2 TBS chopped fresh ginger root.
(If you want to add other stuff like St John’s wort, coltsfoot, rosehips, echinacea root, or fenugreek seeds, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of these – pick only one or 2, so that you don’t have too much herb vs. water)
*Put the above ingredients into an enameled or pyrex saucepan and bring to a boil. (Metal cookware is not recommended for medicinal mushrooms)
*After boiling, reduce to low heat and simmer, partially covered (vent the lid) until your liquid has reduced by about 1/2 (or about one hour)
*Strain out all the herbal matter, and compost it. Reserve the liquid.
*Add the liquid back to the pot, and add 3 cups sugar, stirring over very low heat until dissolved. Bottle in sterile jars/bottles. Store in fridge once cool. This recipe should yield approximately 1 1/5 litres or 6 cups of fluid (maybe a bit more or less, depending). If you are left with 3 cups of decoction (after steeping and straining the herbs out) then you add 3 cups of honey or sugar, you should end up with about 6 cups of syrup.
*You can use raw honey instead of cane sugar, if you do, don’t reheat the liquid after straining, just mix 2.5 cups of raw honey into the warm decoction (reserved liquid). Otherwise you might damage the enzymes in the raw honey. DO NOT USE a sugar substitute like xylitol or sucralose. This will ruin your hard work.
*Sucanat (organic dehydrated cane juice), raw cane syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar and raw honey are all acceptable sweeteners. You might have to play with amounts. I have used the same ratio of Sucanat with success, as well as honey (2.5 cups honey to 2 cups liquid)
*Remember to bottle in STERILE containers. STORE IN THE FRIDGE, and it should keep for up to a year. (If it lasts you that long… this stuff is magically delicious!) If you don’t sterilize and refrigerate, you will end up with mold. Trust me, I know from sad, sad experience.
*If you are sensitive to mushrooms, or just want plain elderberry syrup, follow the above recipe, but exclude the mushrooms. The elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves will go a long way just on their own. I have added the mushrooms because I love them, but not everyone does. Blessings as you cook up this medicine! Follow me on facebook and let me know how your syrup-making adventures go!
~****This is my own personal recipe, and I am not certified by any regulatory body. My own recommendations are just friendly suggestions, I cannot and will not be held liable in any way for how you choose to use this information.****~