Elderberry tea, A Powerful Immunity Herb
The elderberry is a flowering plant, which is well-known for its medicinal and culinary properties. Used since the ancient of times, it can be beneficial for our health.
If you are a tea enthusiast, then you are probably familiar with elderberry brew. Prepared from dried elderberries or blossoms, it has a distinct flavor, one that many people enjoy. Are you ready to discover more information about it? Let’s dive in.
Ultimate Guide To Elderberry Tea
Elderberry tea is a brew that we can either prepare from dried elderberries or the flowers of the same plant. Even though there are various species of elderberry out there, the one most commonly used for this brew is the Sambucus tree.
Part of the Adoxaceae family, the black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a common choice for the making of this tea. Grown in various parts of Europe and America, the black elder produces beautiful clusters of flowers. These are white or cream. Other species include blue elderberry, red-fruited elderberry and dwarf elder.
We should only consume the berries of the plant cooked, otherwise they are dangerous for our health. They are the ones that give the tea the specific tart taste. The flowers present a delicate aroma, and we can consume them raw or brewed.
History tells that people have used this medicinal plant for health purposes in various cultures. Native Americans relied on it to cure infectious, while ancient Egyptians applied topical preparations as treatment for burns. Elderberries can help with pain and inflammation, and the bark of the plant has both diuretic and laxative properties.
In some cultures, naturopaths rely on the flowers and leaves for pain relief. Dried elderberries, and elderberry juice, help in case of infection. From a culinary perspective, people turn the berries into jams and other delicacies. They transform the flowers into a mouth-watering syrup.
Before you hurry to prepare a cup of elderberry tea, here are some interesting facts. Did you know that the elderberries are poisonous when consumed raw? They contain cyanogenic glucosides, metabolized into cyanide.
When you consume elderberries adequately, including if you brew them into tea, you have nothing to worry about. In fact, these small berries are superfoods, rich in bioflavonoids, vitamins and minerals. They are naturally low in sugar, hence their tart taste. And, as you will see below, they can reduce the severity and length of cold and flu symptoms.
What makes elderberry tea so special? That it is chock-full of antioxidants. It is the perfect beverage for those who are looking to stay healthy and support their immune system in the fight against various infections. Simple to integrate into the daily routine, we can enhance its aroma with other ingredients, such as cinnamon, cardamom or cloves.
What are the health benefits of elderberry tea?
Elderberry tea is not only popular for its one-of-a-kind flavor, but also for the multitude of health benefits it offers.
These are some of the most important ones to remember:
Strengthens the immune system
Counteracts oxidative stress
Helps with cold/flu symptoms
Nutritious but not caloric
Supports heart and blood vessel health
Elderberry tea can reduce the accumulation of fat within blood vessels, and it also reduces the level of bad cholesterol; also contributes to blood pressure stabilization (lowers the level of uric acid in the blood)
Stable blood sugar levels
To enjoy these properties, consume elderberry tea regularly. Also, if you suffer from chronic conditions, go to the doctor and get adequate treatment for them.
What are the side effects of elderberry tea?
First, never consume raw elderberries in any form, as these are poisonous. The unripe ones contain the highest quantity of potentially harmful substances.
Even though the amount of poisonous substances is not high, it can lead to discomforting symptoms. Nausea and vomiting are most common but, depending on the consumed quantity, more severe adverse reactions can occur.
Ripe elderberries contain less cyanide. Boiled or cooked, they become safe to consume. This is the reason elderberry tea is perfectly safe, as long as we drink it in the recommended quantity and prepared adequately.
Given the fact that elderberries stimulate the immune system, the elderberry tea is not a good choice for those who suffer from autoimmune diseases. That includes conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. To be safe, consult your doctor beforehand.
The risk of allergy, either to the fruits or the flowers of the plant, is minimal. Specialists have reported it only in rare cases. However, if you are pregnant or nursing, it is best to choose another tea. It is uncertain if women in such conditions can drink it. Children under the age of five should not consume it either.
What is the best time to drink elderberry tea?
You can drink elderberry tea daily, but in moderate quantities. If you feel that you are coming down with a cold, or you are experiencing symptoms typical of a flu, choose this remedy as soon as possible. The sooner you take it, the milder your symptoms will be. The cold/flu will not last as long.
What does elderberry tea taste like?
It depends on the part of the plant used for the tea. If you are preparing the brew from dried elderberries, then you can expect a tart taste. For beverages prepared from elderberry flowers, these are slightly sweet, with a delicate flowery fragrance.
How to brew hot elderberry tea properly
Elderberry tea can represent the perfect choice of beverage when the weather is not so pleasant outside, or if you are experiencing cold/flu symptoms. You can choose some of your favorite spices and enhance its distinct flavor. Vanilla extract, for instance, can add some delicate notes to your brew.
Take a small pot and add two cups of water, as well as two tablespoons of dried berries. Mix well and place other ingredients for taste enhancement in the pot, such as clove, cinnamon or cardamom. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it brew for about half an hour. Strain it into a cup and add sweetener, such as honey or sugar, if desired.
How to make cold brew elderberry tea properly
Iced elderberry tea is a beverage that you can enjoy in the summer, and it is a great option for boosting your immunity and overall health. It is simple to prepare and you can drink it throughout the day.
As in the previous recipe, take a small pot and add the same ingredients. Let it simmer for half an hour, then sweeten it to taste. Let it cool down until it reaches room temperature. You can then place it in the fridge and serve it with ice.
Tip: if you are looking to boost your immunity, consider adding ingredients such as ginger, black peppercorn, rosemary and thyme to your brew.
Other ways to use elderberry tea
You can use dried elderberries to prepare a delicious and healthy cup of tea. But did you know that there are other uses for these?
Elderberry gummies (for kids over five)
If you have kids, you know how much they love gummies. Well, you can use dried elderberries and prepare these for them, strengthening their immune system.
Take a pan and add a cup of dried elderberries, some fresh ginger and three cups of water. Allow the mixture to simmer a little over half an hour. Strain the mixture and reduce the remaining juice in the pan. Add the desired sweetener and simmer for some more time.
Hydrate the gelatin in cold water and add it to the mixture. Pour it into molds and place these in the fridge. For the best results, leave them overnight.
Elderberry jam is delicious and easy to make. All you will need is several ingredients, meaning organic dried elderberries, sweetener, water, and lemon juice. You can add other ingredients, such as chia seeds. These have a thickening effect, not to mention they are highly nutritious.
Begin this recipe by mixing the water (3/4 cup) with lemon juice (1/4 cup) and dried elderberries (1/2 cup). Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove it from the heat. You can now add the sweetener and other ingredients (chia seeds). Blend it until it becomes smooth and return it to the pot.
Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for a bit. Before transferring the jam into jars, let it cool. Store the jars in a cool place, such as the pantry.
When the cold season draws near, you can prepare a batch of elderberry syrup and use it to strengthen your immune system. Take a pot and add half a cup of dried elderberries, two cups of water and some fresh ginger. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about half an hour.
Strain the mixture and allow it to cool until it reaches room temperature. You can then add the desired sweetener, such as sugar or honey. Mix well and transfer the syrup into a jar, making sure it is very-well sealed. You can store the jar in the fridge.
A last word
Elderberry tea is a healthy beverage which you can use to strengthen your immune system. Rich in antioxidants, it can support overall health and help you recover faster from a cold.
As you have seen, it is simple to prepare, and we can enjoy it both hot or cold. You might even consider it a staple beverage for winter, especially if you add mulled spices.