Since my teenage years I have held a very strong belief in the world outside of modern medicine. That plants and natural systems fostered the human race in their primal embrace since the beginning of everything. That modern society should not so quickly overlook the botanical world for our health and well being… After years of buying herbal remedies and keeping library books dedicated to subject far beyond the due date, I finally made my first elderberry tincture. And I have been tinkering (and tincturing ever since).
When our family moved to our current home, I was pleased to discover, among other things, that the front yard brandished the largest elderberry TREE that I have ever seen. I am not kidding. Far from a shrub this tree is probably 30 feet tall and even bigger around. That said – I can’t harvest half the bounty, so that goes to the birds… But it is a wild crafter’s dream!
One of my younger sisters, Kaitlin, has been nurturing a burgeoning interest in the herbal and natural approach to wellness after becoming a licensed massage therapist. So this week, blessed with a tree dripping with ripe berries and armed with a couple sets of shears and a big basket, we set to collecting all that we could reach to craft our own elderberry tincture for the upcoming cold and flu season. Our tincture also includes fresh ginger and cinnamon for the added therapeutic benefits. There are a multitude of potential health benefits from these ingredients including:
Elderberries: a strong antioxidant and immune system booster containing vitamins A, B and an abundance of C, that protects healthy cells
from the ravages of viral and bacterial offenders. Additionally, elderberries are reputed to lower cholesterol and improve eye sight.
Ginger: A powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger is both warming and and soothing. The list of therapeutic benefits are practically endless, but as it pertains to our tincture it also antiviral and increases circulation.
Cinnamon: Another warming remedy, cinnamon is both anti bacterial and anti fungal and even has contains some mild pain inhibitors.
After this tincture is fully developed, we will filter it off for tinctures and combine it with raw local honey for cough syrups.
Check out my recipe for elderberry lollipops here.
Disclosure statement: I am a mother, an avid amateur researcher and an budding wildcrafter. I am not a registered herbalist, naturopath, or a medical doctor and cannot treat or diagnose your afflictions. I can, however, provide you with the research and experiences that I have. Please consult your general practitioner for health issues.
- 3 cups fresh, ripe elderberries
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped ginger
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon bark or 2 cinnamon sticks
- 80 proof vodka
- Carefully remove all berries from the small lacey stems. The stems are mildly toxic and should be avoided as much as possible to prevent stomach upset.
- Place approximately 3 cups into a quart jar and tamp down slightly to crush and release some juice.
- Add ginger and cinnamon.
- Fill jar with vodka.
- Place lid on jar and set to steep in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily.
- Filter off solids and discard. Pour the resulting tincture into dropper bottles or combine with honey for syrup.