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I ordered Elderberries
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  1. #81
    A tincture combination that I make every year is a very simple one. I'm breaking a "rule" by tincturing two herbs together, I know- purists insist on making each tincture separately and then combining the finished tinctures if they wish a combination product.

    But I did this the first time almost 22 years ago, when I was just starting out and didn't have a clue....

    Hubby called it "the Recipe" and the name stuck. It's the best simple skeletal muscle relaxant I've found- even better than most of the Rx muscle relaxants.

    It's simply a combination of peppermint (black peppermint- the purely strong stuff is best) and lemon balm. About half and half is the way it usually ends up... but I'm not terribly picky about it.

    I usually make it with high proof vodka (160 proof) and the fresh herb, but it can be made with the dry leaves as well.

    I oack a gallon jar full of fresh herb, pour the vodka over it and let it steep. Strain and bottle it when I get the time- usually a few months later when things settle down on the farm in winter.

    A teaspoon to a tablespoon will generally relieve back spasms or other muscle spasms better than you'd believe possible. If you can, it's best to add it to a warm herb tea- possibly one made with skullcap, kava kava or valerian if you want a very sedative cure. But we usually either add it to fruit juice or lemonade or to a simple mint/lemon balm and chamomile tea.

    I've offered this to friends and guests over the years, almost always having it accepted with a gracious but skeptical attitude. I remember a distant relative visiting who was having so much back pain he could barely stand to sit in the chair. I offered him a cup of tea with "recipe" added, and 30 minutes later, he was relaxed and had a stunned look of disbelief on his face. Apparently, even heavy meds the doctors had prescribed hadn't worked as well.

    Often, someone will drink it and go on with what they were doing, not expecting much. And an hour or so later, they'll stand up and look around and say "hey! What happened?!" LOL!

    It can also really help tension headaches, especially if you add a bit of kavakava tincture to the mix.

    Summerthyme

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deemy
    I've been sick big time for the past week...first thing I did was to take the elderberry brandy. Fiftheen minutes later I was throwing it up...my stomick didn't like the brandy part. What can be used instead of brandy and vodka? I was thinking making up a batch but using distilled water. Any thoughts?
    I've been wondering the same thing Deemy but hadn't looked into it yet. We don't drink any alcohol so I was wondering what to do with ours.

  3. #83
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    Miss Tina, I don't drink alcohol either, but I recognize the medicinal value. Apparently the alcohol is what draws the medicine out and it will last indefinately because of the alcohol. I too, made it with brandy thinking it might be more palatable than vodka....wrong! What I did though, was take one of the jars, and heated good bit of honey and added the tincture to it. I will store it in the refrigerator, but it was a little easier to take. It still does not taste good like the Sambucol brand, but at least I could get it down. I don't know if a flavored brandy would help, but the plain stuff will take your breath away!

  4. #84
    Please do NOT use flavored brandy - that flavor is trapped in the alcohol so there is much less room for the alcohol to capture the medicinal properties of the herb so you end up with an MUCH LESS potent tincture. Put dropperfuls of tincture into empty gelatin capsules, no taste that way at all.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by goatlady2
    Put dropperfuls of tincture into empty gelatin capsules, no taste that way at all.
    What a great idea!

    No more grumbles about the taste! Will these hold very long or do we have to make them on the spot? I am assuming the alcohol/liquid will eat through the gelatin capsule after a while?

    Gosh, I love this place!

  6. #86
    yellowsprings, Yes - make them on the spot otherwise you end up with a gluey mess within about 2-3 minutes!

  7. #87
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    Bumping this for Kodiak because so many people have posted to it. Hope thats ok, she wanted information. Kat

  8. #88
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    Thread stickied due to reports in MSM of increased threat of H5N1.

    Fleataxi

  9. #89
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    I've been reading about herbal medicine for decades but just tinctured elderberries for the first time last fall. Used 100 proof vodka, soaked for 2 weeks, shaking twice a day. This winter, we had the chance to try out just how effective it was. It stopped flu and a nasty cold - fast.

    I can't stand the alcohol taste and to get around that, I put my dose of tincture in about a third of a cup of hot tap water, stir, then sip, hold in my mouth, swishing it around. If anything works better than that tincture, I sure don't know what it is.

    This was the first winter in I don't know how long that I didn't have a cold, flu or pneumonia. The minute I started sniffles or scratchy throat, I hit the tincture and kept it up, 3 times a day, for a week.

    Does my doc know about this? Nooooo! I didn't go to him for any of these things. Did I check out known reactions with elderberries and the meds I'm on? I most certainly did! Doc is a pill pusher and has NO tolerance for medicinal herbs. I sure saved a ton of money on no doc visit and no prescriptions for expensive antibiotics.

    I also bought elderberries in pounds. But I didn't make all of them into tincture at once. I did make a very generous supply, enough to more than treat DH and myself for 2 weeks, which is how long it takes to make a fresh tincture. When I started using it, I started a new batch of tincture. Don't want to be without this - ever.

  10. #90
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    Tinctures

    Just wanted to thank SummerThyme again for the "recipe" I have many bottles of the recipe and anyone I let sample it comes for more.

    I also made for the first time elderberry tincture with fresh berries last summer. but the real berries are hard to find round here. would anyone rate fresh berries over dried berries one might have to send away for? which is better (more potent)

    I have make my own super duper Enchinea x3 for some nasties this past winter and spring, and I am also sold on tinctures.

    I made a tincture with feverfew leaves for my migraines, but it did not work. then I found I should have used it as a tea.

    I am still trying to find something that will work for that.

    anyway wanted to pop in as many of my herbs are growing like weeds and I have been teaching myself as I go along.

  11. #91
    Saro1... you're welcome! :-) It's been gratifying to see how many people have benefitted at least somewhat (reduced pain, muscle spasms and better sleep) from that simple little combination tincture.

    On the elderberries, the dried berries are probably just fine. My only concern is the same as it is for any herb I purchase rather than grow and process myself... I just don't KNOW how they grew them, how they dried them, etc...

    Your point about the feverfew is important... many newbies seem to get hooked on tinctures (which admittedly have some very good points, including ease of use and a long, long shelf life)... but some herbs simply don't work as a tincture. OR, as my "recipe" proves, they are almost an entirely different medicine when made as tincture rather than tea, or taken as a capsule, etc.

    In the case of elderberries, I went to a syrup for my "anti flu medicine" because of several factors... but one of the most important was that Sambucol is NOT a tincture! The idea of people taking a good swig of elderberry tincture made with Everclear before hopping in the car to drive to work scares me, quite frankly! Not that I think they'll actually be "impaired" (although because I rarely drink anything at all, I probably would be!), but because under the restrictive legal standards out there, 1 tablespoon of Everclear tincture will likely put you over the limit. Get into an accident 30 minutes after you took your tincture- even if it was completely someone else's fault, and you may be in a very big mess...

    Feverfew for migraines actually is best used as either fresh leaves (swallowed fresh... if I was doing this, I'd put 2-3 small leaves inside a gelatin capsule and take it) or freeze dried leaf. Unfortunately, conventionally dried leaf doesn't seem to work.

    You may want to at least try skullcap (scutellaria lateriflora, NOT the "baikal" variety) for migraines. It works either as a dry herb in tea or capsules, but is much more potent (and also quite sedative in larger amounts) in tincture. It's primarily a "nervine", but I've seen some shockingly amazing results on nerve pain.

    Glad to hear you're having fun learning about herbs!

    Summerthyme

  12. #92
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    Aug 2004
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    why couldn't you just make elderberry juice, and can it up? seems like it would be a good thing.
    blessings to all momof23goats

  13. #93
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    Because alcohol gives it boosting propertys.

  14. #94
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    Heads up about Sambucol
    The company that used to make Sambucol was sold and the new company is adding harmful chemicals into the formula now. Here is the email from Herbal Healer that tells about the change.

    snip
    STATUS ON SAMBUCOL

    As many of you know we are removing Sambucol from our
    list of products. We have some of the original Sambucol left for Children. The company was sold and the new formula is not acceptable to us. Quote from our supplier bulletin: Original Sambucol - addition of sodium benzoate (to preserve
    freshness), artificial flavors and purified water; deletion of raspberry extract Kids Syrup: addition of sodium benzoate (to preserve freshness) and artifical flavors; deletion of raspberry and peppermint extracts


    HHA ALTERNATIVES

    New HHA "FLEW AWAY" is an exclusive, potent, great tasting blend of
    Elderberry Fruit and Flower (Sambucus nigra), Echinacea purpurea
    root extract and Zinc Citrate. (1 teaspoon contains 5 mg. zinc) -
    4 oz. bottle contains 24 servings. Adult dose: 1 teaspoon three times
    a day or once a day for preventative maintenance. Children give 1/2
    teaspoon. Children under the age of 3 - 10 drops in juice - 3 times a
    day or once a day for maintenance dose. Base is Vegetable Glycerin,
    so it is safe for children. An important feature about this product,
    besides it is 100% natural, is that it is made in the U.S.A. No yeast,
    wheat, alcohol, corn, soy, milk or eggs.

    HHA ELDERBERRY POWER - 500 mg. 60 Veg. Caps
    This is an very potent pure herbal done at a 10:1 concentrate making
    it much stronger than plain elderberry. Elder (Sambucus nigra) has
    been recognized for its high Vitamin C content, as well as
    anthocyanins, which are potent free radical scavengers. It also
    supports the immune system, and the research from Israel shows it
    has amazing antiviral properties. This product is very safe and
    should be used anytime there is flu or colds in the house. Can be
    taken as a maintenance dose once a day throughout the winter months
    too. Adult maintenance dose - 2 caps daily. Colds and Flu - 2 caps
    three times a day. No sugar, starch, yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk,
    egg, shellfish or preservatives.

    WINTER SPECIALS FOR FLU AND COLD SEASON http://www.herbalhealer.com/postcards.html

  15. #95
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    When is the right time to pick elderberries? I just discovered my neighbor's tree that is hanging over in my yard is covered in elderberries! Do I wait until the first frost??? Can someone tell me when to pick???

  16. #96
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    Pick them when they're dark dark purple- almost black. Only problem is birds will be after them at the same time. I've actually had to make makeshift "covers" for mine just so I would be sure to get some!

  17. #97
    BUMP!!!!

  18. #98
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    Hey! The birdies need their antibiotics too. Gotta share the bounty. I hear stories of wild birds getting drunk on berries. Not sure if it is the Elder's or not.

  19. #99
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    does elderberry jam have any affect? that's about all we could find when dh had the flu... even walgreens was out of sambucol.

  20. #100
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    Great thread!

    We have used elderberry tinctures for several years. I also order my dried elderberries from herbalcom.com. I use vodka and soak mine for 2-4 weeks then strain. This has worked very well for our family.

    I love herbalcom.com and usually buy 50lbs of herbs & spices at a time. We go through a LOT of peppermint, spearmint, chamomille, and red raspberry leaf.

    Besides the elderberry tincture I make our own vanilla extract, cramp tincture, and lung tincture. Most of the rest we do as teas. Some of the teas I make up STRONG, then freeze in ice cube trays and when in need.... just pop a cube or 2 in a mug of hot water.

    My dd blesses the cramp tincture almost monthly.

    One caution... you might want to check... I believe licorice raises blood pressure and should only be used for very short periods of time.
    Lynn mom to 10 and counting
    Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. ó George Bernard Shaw

  21. #101
    Flu may be "interesting" this year - the PFI forum is a good place for up to day flu info.

    http://www.singtomeohmuse.com/viewforum.php?f=1

    Bird flu aka H5N1 may be a bad problem soon, something's going on. Plus an new strain of flu in the US, not sure if it's more virulent or not. Good thing to get elderberry tincture or syrup made up and start taking prophylactically.

    When DH and I both got swine flu in Oct. '09, he didn't get it as badly as I did and I think that was because he was very good about taking his daily prophylactic dose and I had gotten tired of taking it a few weeks before. His case was fairly mild and mine was horrible.

    I've mad both tincture and syrup - more or less following Summerthyme's recipe for syrup - and find I prefer syrup as alcohol affects me badly so I have to simmer off the alcohol, or at least pour boiling water on it in the cup. Also alcohol is a lot more expensive than sugar!
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  22. #102
    The nice thing about the syrup as opposed to the tincture is almost everyone can tolerate the taste of the syrup (many people absolutely love the flavor, but even for the pickiest child (or male! LOL!) it's easily "hidden" in a juice they like.

    And the major factor in preventing or treating influenza with elderberry is TAKING IT! "early and often" is my prescription if anyone has any hint that they're feeling symptoms.

    With tincture, you're either going to have to take less than might be necessary for maximum effectiveness, or else have potential issues with the alcohol. The people who make the tincture with Everclear scare me... if they're taking a tablespoon dose, depending on their body weight, they're likely going to trigger a DWI if they ever get pulled over and made to use a breathalyzer.

    But not taking it because you're worried about driving isn't good... some of these new strains of flu are NASTY. Hubby still swears the elderberry syrup (plus curcumin and piperine, and Pinot Noir wine) saved his life when he got H1N1 a couple summers ago. I've never seen a bug hang on for so long, and have so many relapses. It was ugly.

    Summerthyme

  23. #103
    I made Elderberry tincture a couple of times, and now only syrup! But I do have quite a bit of tincture left... Sometimes I just simmer out most of the alcoholat a low temp, or pour boiling water on a t or two in the cup, let sit, and then take it. That way it's easy to take 1 or 2 teaspoons at a time. I added some honey to the tincture when I decanted it to improve the flavor, it definitely helped. I often add other stuff to it when taking it - for instance any similar herbs I"m taking like Amalaki or Hibiscus, and a bit of home made juice or juice from canned fruit. Or my formula Natural C Plus. Also a drop of Lemon essential oil which I usualy take when I feel that "something" is trying to get me.

    The value of Elderberry was really proved to me when DH got the swine flu so much milder than I did, because HE was GOOD and taking his and I had slacked off... I was so sure we woudln't contact anyone because we were being total hermits. I always have to learn the hard way (whine.)

    Ha ha!
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  24. #104
    My grandchildren absolutely love a soup spoon on syrup added to a glass of milk. We call it a "purple cow". It's an easy way to get them to take it.

    LC

  25. #105
    Elderberries and Influenza

    FYI-If you get influenza be very careful about using elderberries. Some influenza's carry hemorrhagic elements like the 1918 Flu. Elderberries can aggregate hemorrhaging.

  26. #106
    Quote Originally Posted by davidinthewilderness View Post
    Elderberries and Influenza

    FYI-If you get influenza be very careful about using elderberries. Some influenza's carry hemorrhagic elements like the 1918 Flu. Elderberries can aggregate hemorrhaging.
    This has been endlessly discussed on a long thread someplace, maybe Summerthyme knows where the thread is and it could get resurrected. There are varied opinions about it, and my conclusion after reading tons of info is that elderberries are good during flu; YMMV. The thread in question had tons of useful info.
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  27. #107
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    Stumbled onto this thread and read it all. I grow elderberry bushes inside my vegetable garden. I had no clue they got so huge. Mine were about 12 feet tall. I pruned them back some this fall. It is very easy to start new bushes by taking some cut branches and stick them in water. They root in a short time. I'm betting you could even stick a cut branch directly into the dirt and get it to grow like a willow. I just made my first tincture with vodka and bottled it in some bottles I ordered onine. Also made syrup. My tincture was very potent. Either that or I did something wrong. When I went to uncap the big bottle it let off a ton of gas for a long time. I thought it was going to blow up. I drank some like wine and it was dry and kind of bitter. I suppose you could sweeten it with something. My neighbor and I found a whole bunch of wild elderberries growing in a back woods area so we have a huge supply now. She is helped immensely with elderberry for her mast cell disease. I went along making this mostly for her benefit but hope we can benefit as well. Thanks for this thread. Please add if you all have anything new to share.

  28. #108
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    We are herbists, I would use BRANDY, cheap brandy is okay, but it is a nurturing alcohol, Vodka is not. ...also make sure you are with good thoughts, no stresses when you make the tincture. it is best to make it before a full moon and let it sit outside in the light of the full moon overnight for best results of a tincture. Much better than a room full of crystals. The Moon is Yin and a female strength. You can mix other herbs together in the same clean glass canning jar when you are making a cold tincture.....you should always and only use herbs that are from your area, Nature knows by what grows in an area what is needed for healing in each area, if it is going to be a bad winter, there will be many herbal plants that grow in the area. Do you harvest your own herbs? Please remember if you do harvest don't take the MOTHER Plant, it is the biggest plant, it is the strongest and is needed to rproduce for the future. Thanks you.
    God Bless Us & God Bless America!

  29. #109
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    Does brandy have a lower alcohol level than vodka?

  30. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loon View Post
    Does brandy have a lower alcohol level than vodka?
    I believe that it does. I was taught to make tinctures only with a clear alcohol as it is able to absorb more of the herb. Also your alcohol should be at least 90 proof for most tincs, and sometimes even higher than that for a few herbs. Lots of info online via google search...

  31. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy in WV View Post
    I believe that it does. I was taught to make tinctures only with a clear alcohol as it is able to absorb more of the herb. Also your alcohol should be at least 90 proof for most tincs, and sometimes even higher than that for a few herbs. Lots of info online via google search...
    Brandy only runs 30 to 50% alcohol content depending on how its made and what it is made with (roughly 80 proof).
    Everclear on the other end of the spectrum has roughly 90 to 95% alcohol content (190 proof) -- kinda the "knock 'em out John" of the liquor world.
    Schnapps is 20 to 40% alcohol content (80 proof is the average but they make higher).
    Tequila and vokda run about 50% alcohol content (tequila averages 80 proof but I've seen it as high as 110 proof; vodka runs 80 proof and above ... there is some high test vodka on the market that goes as high as everclear).

    Different brands of alcohol will give you different strengths ... for instance Bacardi rum is measured out at 151 proof as part of its signature. I use Barcardi clear for most of my baking that calls for rum.

    I use high test vodka and everclear for most of the medicinals I make because nothing unsavory is likely to grow in that medium.

    YMMV

    Summerthyme can probably offer a better explanation.
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  32. #112
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    Thanks for the explanation of the different alcohols. I made mine with vodka. It was the cheapest bottle I could find at the store. I'd like to learn how to make elderberry wine. We have such huge bushes and they produce so many berries. I didn't know they grew that big. Mine are about 12 feet tall.

  33. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loon View Post
    Thanks for the explanation of the different alcohols. I made mine with vodka. It was the cheapest bottle I could find at the store. I'd like to learn how to make elderberry wine. We have such huge bushes and they produce so many berries. I didn't know they grew that big. Mine are about 12 feet tall.
    If you have wine yeast then here is a good recipe for Elderberry Wine
    http://www.easy-wine.net/making-elderberry-wine.htm

    Old fashioned recipe for elderberry wine:
    From 1911:

    First squeeze the berries and extract the juice, then to two quarts of juice add two quarts of water and three pounds of sugar; place in an open vessel for 24 hours until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently to keep it from settling in the bottom; then place in a keg that it will fill, removing the bung, for six or eight weeks; as it ferments add a few drops of water every day to keep it full to the top; after it is done fermenting bung up and let stand until fall, then strain it and clean the keg well. Strain back into keg or put in bottles. The older it gets the better it is.
    Frankly there are a ton of different recipes for making elderberry wine. It used to be one of those things that people would compete over ... even women. I think it was so common a practice that it even appeared in the original Anne of Green Gables novel.

    Some more examples that I copied real fast:
    Elderberry Wine:

    Put one-half gallon elderberries to one gallon water in stone jar. Let stand five days and squeeze berries each day in some water. After five days, strain juice and add two gallons clear water with one and one-half tablespoonfuls of spice, tied in cloth, to each gallon water, and sweeten to taste. Fill jugs to top and let stand nine days. Each morning add sweetened water to fill jugs, as the dregs will flow off. At the end of nine days, let wine flow through a rubber tube into a clean jar, sweeten and fill clean jugs again. Each morning add sweetened water until wine quits fermenting. Take spices out of jugs. Then cork jugs and keep in cool place.

    Elderberry Wine:

    One peck and a half (three gallons) of elderberry blossoms, thirty pounds of sugar, two cakes of yeast, ten gallons of water. Let stand twenty-four hours, then put in ten gallon keg to ferment. When done fermenting, put in seven pounds of raisins, and it's ready for use.

    Elderberry Wine:

    To every quart of berries add one quart of water. Boil half an hour, rub through strainer; to every gallon of juice add three pounds of refined sugar, quarter of an ounce of cream of tartar. Then boil half an hour. Put in cask or jug; add one pound of raisins to every gallon of the wine, also add a slice of toasted bread covered with good yeast. Don't add bread and yeast until the wine and yeast is lukewarm; Put the cask in a room or cellar of even temperature to foam. When the fermentation has fully freed, put into bottles and cork.
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