Cheers to your good health! ‘Tis the season to be drinking and feasting, but also for winter ailments. So why not have your favorite beverage double as a thirst quencher and an immune booster to ward off illness. By sipping on elderberry extract mixed into a delicious mocktail — or adult cocktail if you wish — you can help your body battle disease-causing pathogens. Just remember if you are mixing elderberry with liquor, too much alcohol can reverse the immune-boosting effect, according to Healthline.
Elderberries have been used for centuries for their medicinal qualities. In fact, Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Medicine,” way back in 400 BC called the elder tree his “medicine chest.” A recent study published in 2019 in the Journal of Functional Foods, highlighted the benefits of elderberry extract in fighting the flu. The extract inhibits inflammatory cytokines to mitigate disease. It also prevents oxidative stress, stimulates the immune system, and can even lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
According to WebMD, the elderberry fruit — of which there are 30 types around the world — is one of nature’s most versatile solutions for a variety of illnesses. Besides easing the symptoms of colds and flu, it has been used to relieve constipation, fight joint and muscle pain, and ease headaches, fever and even kidney problems.
Experts say it is important to use mostly extract and not only the syrup of elderberries, to reap the full health benefits. However, you can shop for both online.
Here are two elderberry mocktail recipes to get you started on the road to holiday health:
2 teaspoons elderberry extract or syrup
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Sparking or tonic water
Frozen or fresh berries for garnish
In a tall glass, pour the elderberry syrup or extract, lemon juice, and ginger. Mix well.
Fill the glass with crushed ice and top with sparkling water and berries.
Makes 1 serving
Elderberry Elixir Mocktail
2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 ounce elderberry syrup
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
Combine orange juice, elderberry syrup, lemon juice and turmeric in a cocktail shaker. Add ice to make the shaker ¾ full. Cover and shake until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with sparling water and garnish with a slice of orange, if desired.
Makes 1 serving
For more elderberry mocktail recipes, click here.
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