Many herbalists recommend elderberry tincture for fighting off colds and flu. While I am neither a doctor nor an herbalist, I am also not anti prescription medications. However I do prefer giving mother nature a shot at what ails me before turning to the laboratories. This is a tincture I make each fall and then use whenever I feel a cold or flu coming on. It seems to knock it out pretty quickly most of the time. Here is how I make it.
First you must gather elderberries. snap the whole stem off just below the clusters of ripe berries. You can then sit and pluck the berries off the stem but it is easier to freeze the whole cluster and then the berries just sort of roll off as you rub them.
You want enough to fill a quart jar two thirds full. Once you have them off the stems, rinse well to get any dirt off. The pour vodka or brandy into the jar to within an inch from the top.
Screw the lid on tight and put the jar in a dark spot. Turn the jar over and back upright a couple times per week. Let it sit for 2 months while doing the turning upside down every couple days.
At the end of the two months, strain the berries out of the jar and then put the tincture back in the jar or a smaller jar if you wish. If you have made multiple jars (which I do) don’t strain all of them but strain the rest one jar at a time as you use up a jar. The long the berries sit in the alcohol the more medicinal values it will extract.
Your tincture is now done. Whenever you feel a cold or flu coming on add a tablespoon to a mug of hot tea or even hot water and drink. I like to add mine to a mug of hot water with the juice of half a lemon.
The alcohol will prevent the tincture from spoiling. You can find Elderberry plants or the tincture at the links below if you have no other access to the berries.