Monday, November 7, 2011

Keep yourself healthy!

Anyone who has kids knows how germy they can be. I can handle my kids' own germs, but when they come into contact with other kids who are germy or been exposed to germs, I want to protect them as much as possible. Luckily, my kids love to wash their hands. But I'm always looking for other healthy things I can incorporate into my family's every day life. For instance, we went sulfate free this summer. I worked with my doctor to pinpoint the cause of some skin issues and sulfates were what we isolated. I was amazed at how many products had SLS in them! Plus, I am a sucker for natural remedies and treatments.

Last year a friend of mine was talking about elderberry syrup and how she used it to help keep her family healthy. I didn't pay much attention at the time, but reading a blog article by my friend Cheryl reminded me about it. I did some research of my own and discovered elderberries have some pretty amazing benefits for us. From immunity boosting and diabetes to asthma and even weight loss, elderberries are more than just folk lore. I really wanted to give the elderberry syrup a shot with my family. Fortunately, I won a drawing and got a pound of elderberries as a prize. I made my first batch of elderberry syrup and was pleasantly surprised at how good it tastes! This is a supplement that I can get behind! My kids like it too.

For those of you who won't click on the link above to find out more about elderberries or check out my friend's blog, here are the basics. From  Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. There have been studies showing elderberry treatment's effectiveness in treating the flu, specifically or colds in general. Simply take 1 tablespoon syrup per day as a preventative supplement. If you're starting to feel like the sickness is approaching, take a teaspoon every 2-3 hours for a faster recovery. Please note: elderberry syrup is made with honey, so it is not recommended for infants. Discuss with your physician or pediatrician when your child is old enough to have honey.

To make elderberry syrup, you need
2 oz dried elderberries
4 cups water
1-1/2 cups honey (raw, local, unprocessed if possible)
1-2 clean jars with tight fitting lids

Put the elderberries and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. This took about 40 minutes for me. Strain the liquid into a bowl and throw away the elderberries. Add the honey and stir until well dissolved. Let cool and pour into jars. You can store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. You can also use the syrup on pancakes, yogurt, ice cream, etc.

I feel very lucky to have friends who are knowledgable in areas I'm not. Try something a friend has recommended to you. It doesn't have to be the elderberry syrup, but trust in your friends and use their suggestion to fuel some research of your own. I'm glad I did *wink*

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