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Some of the most significant health benefits of elderberries include their ability to protect against infection, boost the immune system, slow the spread of cancer, prevent the development of diabetes, alleviate allergies, reduce the pain associated with autoimmune disease and help with weight loss and high blood pressure. Of particular importance at this time of year is their ability to treat cough, cold, flu and sore throat. Making an elderberry syrup is one of the easiest way to take this herb. It tastes so delicious that even children will readily drink it. A word of caution: The branches, leaves, and twigs contain trace elements of cyanide, so please be careful to discard them before making the syrup.

2/3 cup dried elderberries
3½ cups of water
2 tablespoons of dried ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
3 cloves
1 cup raw honey

Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Mash the berries then pour through a strainer into a bowl.
Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is quite cool, add 1 cup of raw honey and stir well.
When honey and elderberry mixture is combined, pour the syrup into a glass bottle to store in the fridge.
Dose: 1 teaspoon for kids and 1 tablespoon for adults, daily. When feeling unwell, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

Toni Green is a Launceston-based naturopath, herbalist, and health writer. It is her passion to pass on this knowledge of natural therapies to others so that they might live a stress-free life with health and vitality. Contact Toni at www.naturalhealthsolutions.net.au; toni.green57@iinet.net.au; or 0431 716 601.