Magical Elderberry! Join Our Pukka Cold Free Challenge
Ethical Hedonists, I am going to let you into a secret. I don’t do colds or flu. While all around me, people are coming down with winter colds, EH HQ remains a beacon of shining, winter health and wellbeing, all thanks to the magical, anti viral properties of sambucus nigra, otherwise known as elderberry. Scientists prize the berries from this deciduous tree for their proven anti viral and anti microbial properties. The berries are jam-packed with high levels of vitamin c, antioxidants, lignins and flavonoids, – everything you need to put a suit of armour around your immune system. Now, I would like you to join my cold free challenge with our friend Sebastian Pole, the Ayurvedic boffin at Pukka Herbs, and remain cold free this winter and start enjoying the benefits of a rather clever little berry.
But first let me tell you more about this wonder berry. I was fascinated by black elder long before I discovered its ability to protect us from the common cold virus. Have you ever noticed this distinctive berry growing in our tree canopies and hedgerows? Elder grows prolifically in the UK, parts of Northern Europe, Africa and western Asia. In traditional medicine, every part of the berry and distinctive, creamy white flowers are used to make vibrantly fruity, seasonal tinctures, teas and syrups to fortify and strengthen immunity during the winter months. When the berries are ripe, they look luscious and silky and hang like upturned chandeliers on bright, red-stemmed branches, inviting us to pick them. Be warned. Don’t try and eat them raw. They are far to bitter and indigestible in their natural state. However, when cooked, they make a delicious jelly, which partners well with goats’ cheese; they are also rather good in a homemade blackberry and apple pie.
If you want to pick your own berries next year, go right ahead, just make sure you leave plenty for the local wildlife and fellow foragers. Pukka works with a small, community co-operative in Hungary, where there is still a thriving traditional of wild harvesting and collection of herbs. You can discover more here.
As soon as August is out, I start to take a teaspoon of Pukka juicy elderberry syrup twice and day, and thank my lucky stars that I haven’t had so much as a sniffle and neither has my assistant, Elisabetta, who has been interning at EH since July. It takes 6kgs of raw, wild harvested and organically cultivated elder berries to make 1kg of Pukka elderberry syrup, giving us an awesome 12,000mgs of fresh berry juice to every 15mls of syrup. No wonder we are feeling pretty invincible in the office right now, which is just as well. There is an awful lot going on at Ethical Hedonist, and with the help of my favourite store cupboard, mother nature, I for one am feeling like organic wonder woman – kapow!
Read more fascinating information on the immune-boosting properties of elderberries in this article by Sebastian Pole, renowned medical herbalist and co-founder of Pukka Herbs: click here.
Our Top Tip: make a pot of Elderberry & Echinacea Pukka Herbs tea, let it brew for 4-5 minutes, add one teaspoon to your teacup and then top up with Elderberry and Echinacea tea. Add organic honey or coconut nectar if liked. Delicious, fruity and utterly reviving.
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