Dr. Brenda Gill
By Dr. Brenda Gill
October 8th, 2014

Wow, what a wonderful fall.  With all the sunshine this year and some cold nights, it’s time to start thinking about making your elderberry tincture.  It’s perfect timing, since it seems like the first round of flu has happened with students going back to school. 

Elderberries are an incredibly strong bioflavinoid and anti-oxidant.  Many of you have read about the latest and greatest bioflavinoids- goji and acaci berries.  They are all the same thing-wonderful bioflavinoids, just like elderberries, but, these grown right in our backyard and are free for the picking!!!!!!  Elderberry enhances your immune system to fight off those nasty bugs much more effectively!

Elderberry trees are thin, mid-sized trees that look almost like tall bushes that branch out with narrow, long leaves and have an umbrella-like berry formation at the end of the branches.  The berries are purply blue and quite small-about the size of peppercorns.  You often see them growing along a roadside, but, those you don’t want to pick due to the absorption of chemicals from passing vehicles.    However, they are plentiful if you go for a hike in the surrounding mountains of our area or for a walk in your neighbourhood since they are growing in people’s yards. 

Pick about 8-12 umbrellas of berries from the ends of the branches and rinse under purified water.  Remove the berries from their umbrella braches and pack a quart jar with the berries.  Pour your favorite liquor on top- I typically use overproof vodka, since it extracts the active ingredients of plants the best, but, you can use brandy, rum, whatever you like.  Cover the jar with a sealer lid and set on a saucer and sit it in a cool window.  Every week, turn upside down 4-5 times and return to the saucer for at least a month until the liquid is a dark purple colour.  At this point, you can strain off the berries and pour the liquid into a bottle.  I use the brown 500ml tincture bottles, since the top seals well, but, any bottle will do to store it.  You can take a ½ tsp of the tincture in smoothies or in water each day.  If you wish to eliminate the alcohol for children or yourself, you can put ½ tsp in tea/boiled water and the alcohol will evaporate.    

Bioflavinoids maximize the immune function by increasing the number & activity of white blood cells.  This allows the immune system to be more vigilant for viruses, bacteria and other microbes that it needs to be eliminated from the body and increases the speed to make more white blood cells to fight infections.  Therefore, to prevent & treat all those flus and colds this winter, especially whooping cough, use elderberry tincture.     

Another wonderful use of bioflavinoids is to minimize any other inflammatory response from the immune system.  They minimize the immune system’s production of histamine and all other inflammatory products by stabilizing the system.  Therefore, they minimize allergy symptoms of runny noses, scratchy eyes, sinus congestion, skin rashes, hives, asthma and any other over-reaction of the immune system.

They also strengthen the walls of arteries and veins, so, are great for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and ulcerations, prevent arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.  I always use them in any cancer, since they help to regulate proper immune function.  NOTE THAT THEY DO NOT OVER-STIMULATE THE IMMUNE FUNCTION AND, THEREFORE, DECREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CHEMOTHERAPY OR RADIATION!  THEY HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE!! YES, THEY INCREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CHEMO AND RADIATION AND HAVE THE ADDED BONUS OF MINIMIZING THE SIDE EFFECTS OF HEART AND VESSEL WALL DAMAGE!

I also use them to improve eye function to improve eyesight, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

As you can see, there are many uses for this spectacular small tree, so, get out there for that wonderful sunshine and bring a bag with you to collect your winter’s harvest!!!!!!! 

For those that can’t make the trek, you can always call our office for a tincture of elderberry.  It is available in a 1 month size.  Also, if you need 250 ml or 500 ml brown bottles, we may have extra ones, so, if you would like some, please call and see if we have some you can have.

Brenda Gill is a naturopath practising in Rossland.


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