It’s that time: cold season.
My son Waylon’s been stuffed up all week with a head cold and a cough. Yesterday Edge caught the same thing, and the two of them cozied up together on the couch for a daytime movie.
There was a time I believed I’d never allow multiple days of movies when the sun was shining outside, but something about a 4-year-old’s droopy eyes, stuffy nose, open mouth and booger-wiped cheeks really softened me.
I made a fresh batch of elderberry syrup to combat the cold, and we’ve all been taking spoonfuls throughout the day—Edge and Waylon to get better, and me to stay well.
In between spoonfuls of syrup, we’re drinking ginger-honey-thyme tea, which is so much better than a cough drop. The warmth of the tea eases the chest and encourages circulation. And it’s delicious.
If you’re caught with a fall or winter cold, try these easy herbal remedies:
Ginger is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and can increase the speed of recovery from coughs and colds.
Honey has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and can soothe sore throats.
Thyme is an antiseptic, antispasmodic, and expectorant, meaning it eases sore throats and coughs, brings up phlegm, and relaxes the respiratory system.
- 1 quart water
- 4-6 ½” slices of ginger
- 1 tsp dried thyme, or 1 TBS fresh thyme
- 1 TBS honey
Add ginger and thyme to water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover with a lid and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the honey (if a TBS is too much, start off with a smaller amount and adjust to taste).
For a real kick, add a clove of garlic.
Elderberry syrup is anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, and reduces the severity and duration of cold & flu symptoms; drink it when you’re healthy, and it will help keep colds & flu at bay.
- 3 C water
- 1 C elderberries (fresh or frozen)
- ¾ C honey, or to taste
- ¼ C apple cider vinegar, or to taste
- 1-2 TBS ginger, chopped or put through garlic press (optional)
- large stainless steel saucepan
- medium stainless steel pot
- fine-mesh sieve
- glass quart-jar with lid
Combine water, elderberries, and ginger in saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Take off heat, and crush the berries with the back of a spoon, or a wooden pounder.
Place the sieve over the pot and ladle the liquid and berries into sieve, pressing the berries with the back of a spoon to squeeze out any retained juice. Compost elder seeds and ginger mash.
While still warm, add the honey to the pot and stir to combine, then mix in the cider vinegar. Taste the syrup and add more honey or cider vinegar to your liking.
Pour syrup into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator, where it will keep up to three months.
For cold prevention, take 2 or 3 times a day with meals. If you’re in the midst of a cold, take 1 teaspoon every 1 ½ – 2 hours.
What’s your favorite herbal remedy? Share it below in the comments~