As autumn arrives so too does cold and flu season and, as life has returned more to what we once knew as normal we are exposed to viruses, so it’s a good idea to give your immune system a boost. Ginger, garlic and turmeric are your heroes here, use them regularly in cooking and/or make a daily drink with hot water, ginger and honey, adding turmeric, chilli, freshly ground black pepper and a little garlic.

Something that I also rely on every year is elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) syrup as both a preventative and treatment. It is available to buy off the shelf but these tend to be loaded with sugar so I try to make my own with a little honey. If you don’t want to make your own and would rather buy I’d recommend Neals Yard Remedies or Pukka.

If you are going to make your own you can forage for your elderberries (make sure there are no flowers or stalks attached as elder contains cyanide which is removed from the berries during cooking) or you can buy frozen or dried elderberries I buy from here

Here’s how to make it:

  1.  place 1kg berries (or 5 cups dried) with 4tsp grated ginger + 10 dried cloves in a pan and cover with water, bring to a rapid boil then simmer for 30 minutes (the water needs to reach 85°)
  2. remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, add 2 cups of raw honey then mash.
  3. strain through a sieve/muslin into sterilised bottles and allow to cool completely before sealing with a lid.

This will keep for 3 months in the fridge – you can add 1/2 cup of brandy with the honey as a preservative and it will last through the winter.

Take 1tsp every day, straight from the spoon or added to warm water, as a preventative or, at the first sign of illness, take 1tsp every 2 hours.

Without the brandy it’s safe for children too from 6mths/when they eat solids.

An alternative way to take it is to freeze the syrup in 1tsp dosages and add straight to hot water to drink each day.

Written by Sam, founder of Bliss

Let us know if you make your own elderberry syrup and what else you do to boost your immune system, we’d love to hear from you!