Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cure for the Common Cold, Part One: Elderberries

Cooler temperatures are on the way and soon we will be entering the cold and flu season, As sad as this reality may be, there are a couple of wild plants that have been shown to fight flu and cold-like symptoms. The first of these is the elderberry. Elderberries contain large amounts of Vitamin A, B, antioxidants, and have more Vitamin C than oranges. WebMD reports:
"Studies have found that elderberry eases flu symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, cough, and body ache. The benefits seem to be greatest when started within 24 to 48 hours after the symptoms begin. One study found that elderberry could cut the duration of flu symptoms by more than 50%."

Elderberry trees and bushes can be found growing wild along country roadsides, forest edges, and abandoned fields. Elderberries are easy to identify and usually fairly easy to harvest a lot of fruit. 

Elderberry produces large, beautiful blossoms that also have many uses, including tea, wine, champagne, and can be used in cooking.
Elderberries do not ripen all at once. Here is an example of blossoms next-to green elderberries next-to almost ripe greyish-purple berries.
Fully ripe, ready to harvest elderberries. Here's a tip: Wait to harvest until after the first frost. This will bring out the natural sugars in the berry and result in an even better tasting final product.

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