Can you feel it? The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are cooling off and the air just feels different... fall is coming! Along with the changing leaves, hot chocolate and sweater weather comes… cold and flu season. So what can you do to get ready?
There are a number of herbal allies that can help to strengthen the immune system so it can better defend against seasonal infections, and one of the best known cold/flu-fighting herbs is the elderberry. Ideal to take at the onset of a cold or flu or after a virus has already taken root, elderberries are high in vitamin C, and have diaphoretic, anti-cattarhal (removes excess mucous from the body) and antiviral properties. There are multiple randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies showing elderberry’s efficacy in shortening the duration of cold and flu, as well as relieving the symptoms.
Elderberries (Sambucus spp.) may be the star of our immune-boosting punch, but several other herbs are playing strong supporting roles. Every ingredient in our immune-boosting punch is there for reason, and not just because it tastes good (though they all do!)
Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and helps dispel coldness and get the blood moving. Ginger is a great expectorant, and a stimulating diaphoretic with anti-microbial properties. Citrus peel, as you might have guessed, is high vitamin C and antioxidants, while orange and lemon juices are both high in vitamin C and lemon juice is helpful for flushing out toxins. Pom juice is both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Rounding out the recipe, honey is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, and if you opt for raw, local honey, it will also be full of pollen, enzymes and much higher in antioxidants and other beneficial components.
This simple punch is tasty enough to serve at a party, but you’ll want to keep some in your fridge for yourself and your family’s immune system support all season long!
- 2 T ceylon cinnamon, broken into small pieces
- 1/4 c dried elderberries
- 1 T dried ginger
- 1 tsp dried orange peel
- 1-1/2 c water
- 1 c pom juice
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- honey to taste (I used about 2 T)
- 8 oz sparkling water
- Place first 5 ingredients into a small saucepan, cover and bring to a simmer
- Simmer for 30-60 minutes
- Remove from heat, mash berries, and let sit, covered for 10 min
- In the meantime juice the orange and lemon and combine them with the pom juice
- Strain herbs out of water and add to the juice mixture
- Add honey, stirring until dissolved
- Refrigerate to cool
- Add sparkling water right before drinking