Posts Tagged ‘elderberry’


My teacher Robin likes to say, “If you make people’s medicine taste good, they are more likely to take it.” Well, if you ask me, there is no tastier medicine than an herbal elixir. My father actually makes this old school remedy when he has a cold; but until we made it in our herbal circle, I always thought it was just an excuse for him to drink some hard liquor.

Good medicine:

  • Brandy (Yes, brandy. Herbalists are not as boring as some of you thought, huh?)
  • Honey (The old school recipe calls for sugar, my father uses rock candy but I prefer honey for its antibacterial goodness)
  • Fruit  (concord grapes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries or elderberries which are specific for combating colds and flu)

Rinse whatever fruit you are using, squish it a bit and put it in a glass jar. Cover the fruit with brandy and add a fair amount of honey. Let this mixture sit for six weeks (if you can stand it) but check it daily in the beginning stages to make sure that the fruit remains covered by alcohol. If the fruit is sticking out of the liquor, add more brandy.

When the mixture is ready, take one teaspoon at night. You might think I am encouraging you to be a lush. I’m not. Really. This stuff can keep colds at bay. My friend, L, took a teaspoon of one of my elixirs and swears it stopped a cold she felt from coming on.

I’ve got three elixirs brewing right now: concord grape, rose petals, and elderberry. My husband already snuck into the concord grape one. “I couldn’t resist,” he confessed. That’s one medicine he won’t have to be convinced to take.

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