Immune Boosting Gummies
Here we are again in cold and flu “season.” If there is one thing I have zero patience for it's being sick. I am that person that cringes when someone sneezes a mile away. So, I try my darndest to avoid catching colds all Fall and Winter long. Usually it works. I do have kids and I do work closely with people. Whether it is from my years as a doula running in and out of hospitals with very little sleep, or my background dancing on tour for several months at a time without any backup to take my place. That “show must go on” mentality rings truer than ever now that I have a family. Having a family means that if you get sick you are still taking care of other non-sick or sick people while being miserable yourself.
I have done all types of methods from packing extra boxes of Frenadol in my carry on, to homeopathics, and bitter Chinese soups. As a dancer, my method to stay well was usually a spoonful of Grapefruit Seed Extract first thing in the morning, copious packages of EmergenC, raw garlic and honey. When I started teaching yoga I added kapalabhati and neti kriyas to my regime. My anatomy & kinesiology teacher in college was an ayurvedic practitioner and I’d make ama reducing dahl from a recipe she gave me. I’d buy bags of mung beans in Chinatown and sprout them in my living room, making an effective potion, but not the most pleasing soup to consume.
It was about 10 years later that I started to study herbalism formally. During my apprenticeship I learned how to make syrups and naturally I got hooked. I have a sweet tooth and it was just wonderful to make a syrup that could fend off colds yet flavor my seltzer or drizzle over my pancakes at the same time! Elderberry is one of the most sought after syrups this time of year. Rightly so! It is delicious, so pretty much everyone will drink it eagerly.
Elderberry syrup has been used to boost immunity for over 2,000 years. Astragalus tinctures, bone broth, fermented veg, and fire cider have their place, but there really is nothing I love more than elderberry for my whole family when the leaves start to fall.
One thing I have noticed is how easy it is to forget to drink syrup if it isn’t a part of my routine. Enter the gummy! This healthful candy-cure-in-disguise benefits both gut health and carries the immunologic effects of elderberry syrup in a neat (not quite as sticky) little package.
Just about every natural parenting blog has their own recipe, it seems. I am posting mine because it has been a part of my daughter’s diet for the past 2.5 years. She loves eating them and will even remind me if I forget to offer her one in the morning. She also loves to help make them so this can be an easy and fun activity to get your kids involved and a gateway to learning about the healing capacity of herbs. As the leaves begin to fall, the weather starts to turn cold, and our sweaters make their way onto our backs, coughs & colds can make their way home with us. This recipe builds our natural immunity and also helps our gut health, both are useful when we enter the season of sniffles.
Recipe & Instructions
3 TBSP Elderberries (Dried)
1 TBSP Cinnamon bark chips (or ½ cinnamon stick)
½-1 TBSP Ginger (dried)
2 TBSP Raw Honey (local if possible)
¼ Cup Grassfed Cow Gelatin
Combine 5 cups of filtered water, elderberry, cinnamon, and ginger into a saucepan and decoct (bring to a boil reduce heat to a low simmer and keep covered for 20-30 minutes). The liquid should reduce to 3 cups.
Strain the herbs over a tea strainer and crush the elderberries and herbs to squeeze out any remaining liquid. Compost the herbs and set the decoction aside. Add gelatin to saucepan and ½ of the decoction. While it is still hot, allow the gelatin to “bloom” and whisk it to make sure it combines thoroughly.
Check to see if the remaining decoction is around 70 degrees if so add the raw honey and mix it well. Add the warm honey decoction to the gelatin in the saucepan and whisk thoroughly. It should be a thick syrup-like liquid without any lumps.
Pour the gelatin honey decoction into silicon molds and let it rest for 30 minutes. Once it has rested, place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours then remove from molds and store in an air tight mason jar on your pantry shelf or a container in the fridge. These are very chewy and firm and a healthy immune boosting alternative to sugary treats. Make these with your littles and let me know if they become a family favorite in your home as well!
Elderberries (sambucus nigra): Known as “natures medicine chest,” it can prevent colds, flu, cough, fever, ear infections, inflammation, sore throat, and allergies.
Ginger (zingiber officinale): Helps combat respiratory infections & coughs, digestive issues, nausea, colds, and inflammation.
Cinnamon (cinnamomum cassia) bark: Helps to fight colds, viruses, digestive issues, nausea, flu, and is a warming stimulant
Grass-Fed Gelatin: Improves and repairs gut health, digestion, strong bones, satiation, skin, joint health, and sleep quality.
Honey (raw local honey is preferable): Honey is antiviral, microbial, promotes sleep, heals wounds, soothes coughs, ulcers, & allergies.