Early winter brings beautiful frosty mornings but, oh dear, those days of rain and fog are grim. So too are all those annoying bugs that lay you, and the children, low with colds and flu. There are, though, ways to stop them. Out there in nature are rafts of plants that can set you up nicely for winter health threats: rosehips (perfect to pick after the first frosts have struck), crab apples , elderberries and blackberries, hawthorn and oak bark. There is plenty of yarrow (Achillea milefolium) and Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) around in the hedges and edges, all very useful in the treatment of coughs.
If you have a place to put a pot make sure you grow some vitamin rich, anti-oxidant, anti-germ rosemary – it’s a perennial herb, so it carries on all year round, winter and summer. Grow some other medicinally useful and tasty herbs too and use them plentifully during the winter months for their health and culinary goodness: parsley, winter savory, basil, thyme. Truly wonderful, all of them.
But let’s make this easy. Let’s make something utterly delicious – and superbly efficacious. Take it when you're threatened by other people's nasty winter ailments. Or glug some when you feel you are coming down with something. It's pretty good at helping your body rid you of bugs and making you feel a whole lot better! And it’s very soothing should that bug get through and lay you low.
Elderberry & Rose Hip Syrup
- ½ cup fresh or dried elderberries
- ½ cup fresh or dried rose hips
- 6 whole cloves
- 1-2 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled, grated/minced
- 2 ½ cups filtered water
- ½-1 cup raw honey, preferably local
- Place elderberries, rose hips, cinnamon chips, cloves, ginger and water in a medium-size saucepan. Cover with lid, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove pan from stove, strain and mash through fine mesh strainer into a glass measuring jug or mixing bowl.
- Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm and add the honey, stirring until they combine. The more honey you use, the thicker and sweeter the syrup will be.
- Pour syrup into a sterilised jar.
- Place lid on jar and store in the refrigerator.
Dosage: 1-3 tablespoons daily as a preventative. Take 3-5 tablespoons daily when ill.
Storage: 2 months in the refrigerator (if you will probably consume it all long before that).
Have a healthful herbal winter!