I shared HERE about our first line of defense when illness hits. But prevention is better still! Two years ago I learned about the benefits of elderberry syrup -- it is very high in antioxidants, its antiviral properties are effective against many strains of flu (including avian and swine), it's also a great general immune system booster.
Last winter I read some cautions about using elderberry syrup daily and we cut back on our usage greatly. We struggled with our health more last winter and all came down with the flu. We did start taking elderberry syrup quickly once we were ill, and I think it did lessen the symptoms and duration of the illness.
This winter we have decided to take elderberry syrup quite regularly (five or so days a week). We take a small dose (1 tsp for kids and 2 tsp for adults, once a day) as a preventative for illness. If we come down with something resembling influenza, I will increase the dosage to four or more times a day. This is what we have decided to do for our family. You must do your own research and consider your health history and make the decision you think is best for your family.
You can buy elderberry syrup from many retailers, but it is very easy and much less expensive to make your own! Here is the recipe we use; it is adapted from the ebook, Herbal Nurturing by Michelle Augar:
1 cup dried elderberries
6 Tbsp dried rose hips (very high in Vitamin C)
3 tsp ground ginger
4 cups filtered water
Mix together in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Stain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the berries gently to remove more juice. Add 1 cup raw honey once cool or 1/4 - 1/2 c. sucanat to sweeten.
I usually repeat this using the same berries and then mix the two batches together.
Store in a glass jar in the fridge or freeze for later use.
Here's to a healthier winter!
Disclaimer: Even though I am an RN turned Naturally Minded Mom, this is not to be taken as professional medical advice. I am just sharing what I learned and what we use for our family. You are responsible to do your own research and make educated decisions for your family.