A most important herbal defense against viruses comes from the Elderberry, Sambucus Nigra. This is the fruit of the Black Elder tree native to North America, Europe and Western Asia. The Elder tree is considered a sacred tree of the Goddess, and in the Rede of the Wicca poem, witches are advised not to burn the wood, or “cursed ye’ll be.” In the Harry Potter novels, it is the choice wood for Dumbledore’s Elder Wand, a deathly hallow made by death, to defeat death. Fitting!
I know we’d love to wave a magick wand, defy death, and make threat of viruses disappear. That is fiction, BUT we can boost our immune systems with a “magickal brew” of elderberry, rich with nutrients and anti-viral components, and a long history of medicinal usage in regards to the colds and the flu. My recipe is below!
EDITED MARCH 13, 2020 – Pertaining to Covid-19
There is continuing debate out there in the world of medicine and herbalism about what will and will not aid in the recovery from the new Covid-19 strain of the Coronavirus. Beyond hygiene to prevent exposure, social distancing, and building up the immune system in hopes to never express symptoms of this new illness, we don’t yet know definitively what will help or harm if you do contract it.
However, This article at naturallysimple.org poses serious concerns regarding Elderberry usage for those who do get sick with Covid-19, as “cytokine storms” are a rare but deadly possibility with this virus. Therefore, Elderberry MAY NOT BE a good choice for this particular strain. Again, if you contract this virus, seek medical care, and follow the recommendations of your physician. They are learning more and more everyday.
Elderberry as Immune Booster against Colds and Flu
Why Elderberry for the cold and flu? The following information comes from an article on this website from Rosemary Gladstar: https://scienceandartofherbalism.com/coronavirus-elderberry/
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
- Boosts the immune system
- Reduces the intensity and duration of the cold and flu by ½ to ⅓
- Contains a large amount of Vitamin C
- Chemical constituents inhibit the early stages of infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for attaching and penetrating our cells; reducing replication, reducing intensity and duration of the illness.
Heron’s Elderberry Booster Brew Recipe
Makes around 2 quarts of syrup. Ideal for large families, or for sharing a jar with your neighbors. If you don’t have or like any of these other ingredients, just brewing the elderberries is a major step in the right direction. But this blend of ingredients is delicious, and brings the powers of fire to the party. When not serving this to children, I’ve been known to mix my elderberry syrup with some Fireball (or other cinnamon) whiskey as an old-fashioned “cough syrup.” <cackle> The alcohol would also extend the life of the brew a bit longer.
- 1 1/2 Cups dried Elderberries
- 3/4 Cup. Rosehips (Venus, Vitamins A,B,D,E, and 20-60 times more Vit C. than oranges by weight) Anti-oxidant, astringent, anti-viral, diuretic. (source)
- 1-2 Cinnamon Stick (Fire, Sun, one of the “four thieves,” antioxidants, and viral defense.)
- 9 Clove spikes, or 1 teaspoon dried powdered clove (Fire, one of the “four thieves”) Magickal defense.
- 4 inch chunk of Ginger Root (rhizome) peeled and sliced. (Fire, Mars, Anti-bacterial, Anti-viral, and Anti-inflammatory properties) (Source)
- 2-3 Orange Slices (Fire, Sun, Vitamin C.)
- 9 cups Water
- 1 cup honey – locally collected honey is best.
- 2 quart mason jars, or 4 pint mason jars with air-tight lids.
In a saucepan on the stove, combine all ingredients except for the honey. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes. Stir clockwise while focusing intent on building up the immune system.
Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for another 10-30 minutes. Strain out the herbal material from the liquid decoction. While it is still warm, pour the brew through a metal mesh strainer, or several layers of cheesecloth, into a clean saucepan or large bowl. If using cheesecloth, gather it up and squeeze the remaining juice from the plant material. If using a strainer, mash with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the honey (locally collected is best) and stir clockwise until incorporated, creating a syrup. Again, focus your intent on building up immunity. Infuse the mixture with Reiki or other healing energies, activate the powers of fire within. I added Laura Tempest Zakroff’s Sigil for Immunity Boosting (image link below) to the label of my jar, and shared a jar with other members of my family. Why? Because health is a community endeavor and we’re all in this together.
Transfer the mixture to clean mason jars, and store the syrup in the refrigerator. In an air-tight mason jar, it should last up to a month in the fridge, but that is a ball-park estimate. For general health and daily immune-system boosting take 2 teaspoons a day. When I’m actually sick with a virus, I up that to a tablespoon per day for adults. Half the dosage for children under 12 will be adequate. The syrup is delicious when added to carbonated water for a sparkling beverage.
For extra magick, I typically carry the strainer of remaining herbal material and sprinkle it in the flower beds across the front line of my property, while energetically building up a fiery barrier of defense. It composts to aid the soil, but also brings that plant-medicine to the very soil my home is built upon.
Remember that I’m not a doctor, and this nutritional supplement should never replace the advice or instructions of your physician. Make sure to consult your physician before consuming any herbal supplements, especially if you are on prescription medications. Just because a plant is “natural,” doesn’t mean it is equally safe or advisable for everyone.
Be well, and take good care of each other!
From the brilliant mind of Laura Tempest Zakroff: