2019 was the year of many interesting trends such as bath bombs for one, but one trend that you might be curious to learn about was the elderberry. Their resurgence in what’s being called folk medicine led to a shortage of elderberries in 2017 in fact.

I first started seeing elderberry pop-up online back in June 2018 when a new member of the Tinley Park Moms Facebook group was promoting her elderberry products, such as jam and syrup. She explained in her post about all these benfits that just blew me away.

The Benefits of Elderberries Infographic

It [elderberry] has antiviral properties; it disarms flu viruses’ ability to invade cells. It is immune boosting; it dramatically increases the production of antibodies called cytokines. Elderberry is a very effective natural remedy against the flu virus. In 2002 in Oslo, Norway, a study was done to determine the efficacy of elderberry in comparison to Tamiflu. Patients given elderberry recovered from the flu in 2-3 days, patients given Tamiflu recovered in 4.5-5 days, and patients given a placebo recovered in 6 days. 

Jaimeé Arroyo Novak, FNP

Like goji berries, which had their moment back in the late 2000s, elderberries are touted as a cure-all and super supplement. Like all things of yore they become rediscovered. Native Americans used elderberries to treat infections, the ancient Egyptians used it to improve their complexions and heal burns, and for centuries elderberries have been used across Europe and Asia for such purposes as to keep evil spirits away and to prevent or cure numerous ailments and health problems. But if it’s so great why don’t doctors just prescribe elderberries instead of antibiotics and flu shots?

Read about all the benefits and dangers of elderberries.

A timely article in the Chicago Tribune entitled No, elderberry syrup will not prevent the flu seems to have put the nail in the coffin on elderberries, but the truth is more studies need to be done in order to give elderberries a fair chance. Afterall, there must be something to them. Or is the perceived magic of elderberries just the placebo effect at work?

When my daughter developed a little cold just before our vacation I wanted to leave no stone unturned when it came to getting her well in time. My husband and I kept her indoors, washed her hands before every meal, made sure the house was warm, made sure she drank plenty of liquids, fed her well. Then she had diarrhea one day and I did what I usually do in those situations, now that I’m a mom; I searched through the different Facebook groups of which I am a member to see if there was a stomach bug or something else going around, and to find some secret parenting tips to beat whatever it was my daughter had contracted. And then I saw a comment from a mom recommending a local purveyor of elderberry syrup right here in Tinley Park. Curious and always looking to support local businesses I decided to reach out and try elderberry syrup for not just my 22 month old daughter but also my husband and I. If elderberry is supposed to help prevent you from getting sick, and it’s less extreme than taking antibiotics, then why not give it a try?

Right now influenza activity is high and at its peak and nationally, this flu season has resulted in a higher number of pediatric deaths earlier in the season compared to previous years, and children continue to be at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. On January 9, 2020 the first reported child death was reported in the state of Illinois. Those kinds of reports will drive a parent to worry.

Review of Fay’s Elderberry Wellness

As I said, a mom in one of the Facebook groups I’m a part of recommended a local purveyor of elderberry syrup who lives right here in Tinley Park. The elderberry person I bought from was so nice. Her name is Fay Lulias and her small business is home-based. I told her about how my daughter was getting sick and that my husband and I felt like we were coming down with something too. She answered all my questions and concerns, and she even offered to drop off the 16oz. mason jar of elderberry syrup (price: $20).

The general instructions with elderberry syrup is to take 1 tablespoon up to three times a day for adults, and half a tablespoon for children 1 year old and older. The elderberry syrup actually was the consistency of a juice, not viscous or thick like maple syrup or molasses. For you pumpkin spice lovers it has cinnamon in it and very much reminded me of a refreshing, cold apple cider. It’s sweet, maybe too sweet for someone but I quite enjoyed. I don’t know what to compare it to; it’s not like how people will say an exotic piece of meat tastes “just like chicken.” Elderberry is unique, it tastes like elderberry. What can I say?

Also don’t forget, elderberry syrup must be kept refrigerated; it only lasts 2 months from the time it is made since it is homemade and has no preservatives.

Does Elderberry Really Work?

Like I said earlier in this article, more studies would have to be done to draw a firm conclusion. For my family I found that those sneaky cold/flu symptoms that popped up a week before our cruise vacation disappeared just in the nick of time. But I was also doing the usual things you do to take care of a cold/flu. In my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to use elderberry syrup to complement the other things you would normally do to help prevent, treat, and manage/mitigate the symptoms of the cold or flu, but it can’t beat something like a flu shot. But here’s an idea for you, why not use it to make a delicious and healthy elderberry cocktail for yourself once in a while? There are an endless list of ways you can use elderberry (pie anyone?).

If you want to try Fay’s elderberry syrup you can contact her through her Facebook page.

And before I forget…This is left of field from the subject of this post, but I just discovered this comprehensive guide on how to grow and care for a bleeding heart plant from Happy DIY Home with you because one of my favorite flowers is the bleeding heart. Elderberries and bleeding hearts aren’t as well-known and I felt like throwing this at you about bleeding heart plants.

1 comments

  1. Fay Kobierski

    You are such a sweetheart thank you for all of your kind words! I just try and share the health. I know I hate seeing my babies sick and when mommas down, well momma can never be down so I try my hardest to stay healthy and share my goodies! Thank you again your amazing!

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