Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Elderberry Syrup -- The Recipe

The local artisan market went very well and I sold two bottles of my elderberry immunity blend syrup.  I am almost finished with my own syrup, so I figured I should make some more, and by popular demand, share the recipe!

Elderberry Syrup -- Immunity Blend

1/2 c. dried elderberries
3 c. filtered water
2 Tbs roughly chopped ginger
15 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp dried and chopped echinacea root**
1 tsp dried and chopped astragalus root**
4 Tbs raw apple cider vinegar
2 c. raw honey

**Both echinacea and astragalus are optional in this syrup as the elderberries do a great job at being antiviral, but they do add some serious immune-boosting properties, and that's why I like to use them!

In a medium-sized pot, add all of the ingredients except for the honey and vinegar.  Slowly bring to a very, very light simmer -- you shouldn't see any little bubbles that are typical of a simmer.  Decocting the herbs in this way preserves their medicinal qualities.  Decoct for approximately 1 hour and then use a potato masher to mash up the contents.  Strain out the plant material and let it cool (it is important that it cools completely so that you don't destroy the beneficial qualities of the raw vinegar and raw honey).  Once cool, add the honey and vinegar and stir to combine.

For adults, take 1 Tbsp every hour when ill. For maintenance, take 1 Tbsp per day.

For children ages 6-12, 2 tsp hourly when ill or 2 tsp daily for maintenance.

For children 2-5, 1 tsp hourly when ill or 1 tsp daily for maintenance.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Elderberry Blend Immunity Syrup

'Tis the season for colds and flu ... what in the world is a girl to do?

... Make elderberry syrup, of course!

The recipe I made is a classic elderberry syrup but with the addition of a couple other immunity-boosting ingredients.  I found some great, concise information on the herbs through Mountain Rose Herbs and thought I'd share them here.

Elderberry --  Elder is touted as one of the strongest anti-viral herbs. "It's flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine...Elderberry's real claim to fame is as a cure for the flu.  Israeli researchers have developed five formulas based on elderbery fruit that have been clinically proven to prevent and ameliorate all kinds of influenza..." (mountainroseherbs.com)

Echinacea --  Echinacea (specifically angustifolia) "is herbal medicine's first choice of treatment for colds."  It works specifically through stimulation of the immune system.  "...administered in times of need, this helpful ally can assist the body's immune system in treating a wide range of disorders". (mountainroseherbs.com)

Astragalus -- "...research shows that simple preparation of astragalus...stimulate[s] the immune system in several ways.  It increases the number of stem cells in bone marrow, and encourages their maturity into active white blood cells. [Astragalus] appears to help signal the white blood cells known as neutrophils to migrate to places they are needed to fight infection.  [Astragalus] stimulates the "germ-eating" white blood cells known as macrophages, activates T-cells and natural killer (NIK) cells, and increases the production of immune globulins.  Usually taken with a variety of other herbs, astragalus...eases chronic respiratory infections..." (mountainroseherbs.com)

It's hard to not just drink this stuff for a little pick-me-up during the day.  It is so darn tasty! I decocted the herbs with a variety of mulling spices to come up with a mouth-watering, natural tonic for boosting your immunity. How perfect! It's good for you and it goes down easily, too!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

preparing for the local artisan market

This upcoming weekend is the local artisan market here in Grand Haven, MI.  I've got lots of things to bring along (namely, nearly everything) in my Etsy shop, plus a couple of new things that I finished up over the past week and a half.  Some are not posted yet for sale, so I am going to consider this as an exclusive debut for these new knitted items. 


Bellatrix -- in cherry

Bellatrix -- in white

We had a super fun time with these photos I think especially because there were rabbits involved.  Who doesn't like rabbits, anyway? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

what I've been up to

It's been nearly a month since I've posted! How does that happen so easily? I love to try and keep this blog up-to-date, but lately it's been rather challenging.  I am hoping to get some pictures up soon of some new knitted items and such, since that's been half of the bulk of what I've been up to.  The other half has been entirely dedicated to accomplishing my field work for school.  Let's just say that I've done many, many reflexology, therapeutic touch, and polarity sessions within the last month.  This past weekend was my final weekend at school before a holiday break though, and the majority of my assignments are just reading lots of books, which I can do rather quickly, which is good. That means more time for other things like knitting and spinning and enjoying the holidays with my family!

This past weekend, we spent the majority of the school days learning some basic techniques of connective tissue massage.  I got to use all of my new techniques today on a friend who was very ill with an awful headache.  Connective tissue massage, plus some herbs, some hydrotherapy, and therapeutic touch and my friend was actually fidgeting after being sedentary and so uncomfortable for such a long time.  I love being able to help the people I care about to feel better naturally.  I look forward to more amazing experiences like that!