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Cold Season Immunity Booster: Elderberry

Cold Season Immunity Booster: Elderberry

    Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.
    – French Solider, Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1974)

    The first time I ever heard of elderberries was from watching TV. While Monty Python’s quote is easy to remember, I also remember the pioneer shows where “good, old fashioned” remedies included elderberry wine, syrup and tincture. I just assumed it was the alcoholic properties of the wine that did the “job” in reducing cold symptoms, but a year ago my wife joined the elderberry team. She made us some tincture, and insisted I have some every time I started the cold season sniffle. At first, I thought she was just being silly, but when I made it through the cold season without getting sick, I thought maybe there was something to my mad-scientist, real food ninja wife’s elderberry magic.
    Simply put, if you want to fight a cold this season, look no further than the old fashioned remedy of elderberries.

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    The Benefits 

    Below are a few of the many benefits that elderberries can give you through this cold season:

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    1. High in antioxidants
    2. Treatment for flu, cold or sinus infection due to anti-inflammatory and anti-viral qualities.
    3. May have potential anti-cancer properties
    4. Diuretic, laxative and emetic
    5. Speeds up recovery times

    (source: University of Maryland Medical Center)

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    Those are some serious benefits and thus the age old remedy actually makes sense.

    Elderberry Solutions

    What are some ways to take elderberries?

    1. Pies, tarts and other treats
      A great way to enjoy elderberries, but one has to balance out the bitter berries with large amounts of sugar.
    2. Wine
      Probably one of the better known solutions and the wine can be made from either the flowers (the white wine) or the berries (the red wine). Both provide great results. Often, people used it as an aperitif.
    3. Tincture
      This is a great way to get a solid dose of the elderberry benefits. However, it is also extremely bitter. It feels like it works because no self-respecting cold would go near something that tastes that bad. With that said, it is very common and a great way to boost that immune system. This is alcohol based, typically made with a proof of 80 to 100, often vodka.
    4. Syrup
      This is my favorite way out of the solutions. It has a long shelf life. It is sweet, and it doesn’t have any alcohol. Drinking the syrup is similar to drinking Nyquil. It is thick as it coats your throat, and you are getting the great health benefits and boosts. You also get great benefits from the honey and spices used to sweeten the syrup.
    5. Tea
      I have not tried the tea, but it is a very common solution mentioned. While there are a lot of options, one of the simpler tea options is to mix the tincture in with tea in the morning. However, it is also possible to brew the flower petals or berry into your tea solution.

    Considerations

    As always, consult with a qualified health care provider before trying remedies. Do not eat an elderberry without first cooking it. While the remedies used widely in Europe and in the homes of many real foodies for cold and flu treatments, elderberry is not recognized by the FDA to manage flu conditions.

    Sources For More Information:

    • Real Food and Health Digital Magazine (kindle or pdf)
      The November issue contains a recipe for elderberry syrup along with additional information
      (Disclosure: my wife is the editor for the magazine and wrote the article on elderberry syrup)
    • LiveStrong.com – Elderberry Section
      A great selection of articles on elderberries.
    • Mountain Rose Herbs
      A place to order elderberries in bulk if you do not have a local health food store that carries them.
    • Deep Roots At Home Elderberry Tincture
      A good tincture recipe is hard to come by, but Jacqueline’s recipe is pretty good. It made my wife’s seal of approval.
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    Last Updated on September 25, 2019

    How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

    How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

    As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

    When we were still children, our thoughts seemed to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

    Just imagine then, how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power!

    We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities.

    We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

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    We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb.

    We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits.

    And we’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head…

    But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

    So, how can we tap into the power of positivity?

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    “Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

    It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are 4 simple yet powerful ideas on how you can get started.

    1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

    Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

    Just take a look at these 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

    2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

    This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

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    You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty.

    If you seek it, you will find it.

    3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

    This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what really is important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

    Here’re 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life that can inspire you.

    4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

    How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking.

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    Instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

    Learn from this article how to change your mental images: How to Think Positive and Eliminate Negative Thoughts

    If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

    And remember:

    You are (or will become) what you think you are.

    This is reasonable enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

    More About Staying Positive

    Featured photo credit: Lauren Richmond via unsplash.com

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