This elderberry tincture post is starting out as a difficult one to write for some reason. I want to communicate what I am thinking about self-sufficiency, but know I am a long way away myself. This is to encourage us all in doing anything we can to be more homegrown in our outlook.
As a society we have gone outside the home for most of what we need and want in our lives.
Food, music, health care, clothing. It’s all acquired from outside of our family and our community. So what happens when we make music in the evening, grow some of our own food, and make some of our own medicine?
On so many levels, these things awaken us.
To mix homemade and homegrown into as much of our lives as possible – even in the littlest things – can change so much.
Ever since I heard the Israelis had been researching elderberries and found that these berries can prevent or shorten the duration of Influenza A and B, I have had a passion to grow and make a simple tincture~ to make my own medicine.
Next to chewing up a plantain leaf and using it on a bug bite or bee sting, this is as simple as it gets.
The elderberries are coming ripe in September, and the procedure is as basic as can be. You really only need to be certain of your plant identification before you proceed, and you’re good.
(Also don’t eat raw elderberries as they can cause nausea and vomiting. You must cook them first or make an elderberry tincture.)
ORAC value one of the highest in nature
The ORAC value is one measure food scientists use to calculate the ability of the elderberry to fight free radical cells that cause cancer, making it a highly desirable food to grow.
Making Elderberry Tincture
1.) Locate or plant your own bushes as we did:
Find a site with wild elderberries (sambucus ssp.) or grow your own. Growing elderberries is not all that difficult.
A few things to remember when growing your own:
They can tolerate different conditions like soil that is in poor condition or soil that is too wet. One thing growing elderberries cannot tolerate, however, is drought.
When planting elderberry bushes, you should note that the berries will grow on the bushes the first year you plant them. But the berries will do better the second year.
Elderberry planting is done best in well-drained loamy soil, so add a few inches of organic matter to sandy soils. When planting, make sure to allow for cross-pollination. Therefore, two or more cultivars should be planted near each other allowing for necessary cross pollination.
A 6-7 foot spacing works out well, and give them room as they will spread if happy where they are.
Identify first if you are in the wild: see this 2:20 minute video
Note: If you are using purchased, dried elderberries, skip to Step 4b!
Pick your elderberries just below the umbrels (umbrella-shaped berry clusters). The fresh clusters snap off with ease. Gather the ripest, almost black berry clusters. Take a zip-lock freezer bag(s) and gather them in that.
When you have a bag-full, take the berries home and pop them into the freezer. When frozen (2 days best), the berries will tend to pop off easily from the stems with a little help from your fingers. You may decide to skip this part and separate them while fresh. It takes a bit longer.
Crumble the berries off of the stems into a bowl, wash, rinse, and transfer to a quart jar. Fill the jar with berries to halfway or over. Allow to thaw. You can mash them a bit if you wish.
- With fresh or frozen elderberries, add them to the jar to halfway or just over half.
- With purchased, dried elderberries, add them to the jar to 35% – 40% full.
Cover to an inch or two from the top of the jar with brandy or vodka. It must be 80 proof or above to extract the medicinal qualities and preserve it. Use a tight-fitting lid, label, and tuck away in a kitchen cabinet for 4 – 6 months where you see it every other day. Gently shake every time you see it.
6.) Bottling Elderberry Tincture:
After sufficient time (4 months minimum to extract all the active compounds) to extract the vital components that make elderberry so desirable for flu, strain the liquid and denatured berries through a stainless steel colander lined with thin cloth or cheesecloth.
7.) Store Elderberry Tincture
Store elderberry tincture in amber dropper bottles or glass jars in your pantry. It will keep for many years.
Elderberry Tincture Dosage:
For adults, mix 1/4 tsp. (or 20 drops from a dropper) of the finished tincture into an 6-8 oz. glass of water, and take it three times a day at the first sign of flu or a cold. It’s got sort of a tangy berry flavor…like raspberries, but more tangy.
DOSAGES FOR ALL AGES FOUND HERE.
The water can be hot or cold, but we really like it mixed into a steaming mug of hot water (if you are concerned, much (but not all) of the alcohol will evaporate off when hot)...besides, if you’re getting sick, or think you are, there’s nothing like a steaming mug of anything!
So I hope you’ll become gradually more homegrown in our outlook. In what ways are you working on becoming more sustainable and less dependent?
I am not a doctor, and do not share this as medical advice, but using elderberry as medicine is something that has been practiced for hundreds of years. Both Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates mentioned and recommended elderberry as a medicinal herb in their writings.
“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” ~Genesis 1 :29