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Traditional Food & Recipes

Boosting the Immune System with Elderberries

For many of our European ancestral societies, the elder tree was sacred due to a spirit or goddess living inside the tree.  Elder Mother as she was known by some had the ability to protect or to harm.  If the goddess was treated well through offerings and prayer she would protect the people near-by making it a good choice of tree to be planted near dwellings.  To use any part of the elder tree you were required to make an offering while kneeling with a bowed head and speaking the following; ‘Lady Ellhorn, give me of thy wood, And I will give thee of mine, When I become a tree.’ 

As the coronavirus sweeps the world elderberries are a quick and easy way to keep you healthy.  It can safely be taken regularly throughout winter as a tonic.


Elderberries have been heavily researched over the years and contain vitamin C and A and minerals; potassium, calcium, folate and iron and have high levels of antioxidants.


A 2019 study by the University of Sydney states ‘Compounds from elderberries can directly inhibit the virus’s entry and replication in human cells, and can help strengthen a person’s immune response to the virus.’

You can buy elderberry extract as a syrup and as tablets but this can be expensive.  If you didn’t pick them in the autumn and stored them in the freezer then you can buy dried berries relatively inexpensively.


Our ancestors used nature to survive.  They figured out that the plants and animals were there to protect us from illness and to keep us strong.  Below is an easy recipe that makes the most of the elder trees small black berry that our forefathers thought of as sacred.


Boosting the Immune System with Elderberries Boosting the Immune System with Elderberries Print This
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Nutrition facts: calories fat
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500ml cider vinegar

350g elderberries (fresh or dried)

350g sugar for every 260ml liquid


Place the elderberries in a bowl or jar and cover with vinegar.  Cover and leave for 5 to 10 days.  Strain and measure the liquid.  Discard the elderberries.  Pour liquid into a saucepan along with the correct amount of sugar.  Bring to the boil for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool before bottling.


Dilute with boiling water for a soothing immune boosting tonic or it can be taken off a spoon like a medicine.  The vinegar also tastes great drizzled over ice cream and can be used as a replacement for balsamic vinegar.

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