This article was written in partnership with Further Food. They’re dedicated to combining the proven, ancient healing practices of Eastern medicine with modern science to help us live longer, healthier lives. We’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
Is it just me or has keeping ourselves healthy become a near-full-time preoccupation?
I don’t think a day has gone by in…what feels like forever when I haven’t read or heard about another thing I need to be doing or taking to protect and improve my health.
It’s gotten a little out of hand—as has my supplement cupboard.
I say it’s time for a return to simplicity. Instead of adding more to our wellness routines, we need to pare them back down to what’s essential (advice we can apply to our lives as a whole, too).
But it’s also a privilege and a delight to be able to care for our health! So, when I find something that’s as simple, time-tested, and tasty as Further Food’s new Elderberry Soothing Syrup…I’m inspired to share the love.
My family and friends will vouch for this, since every single one who’s been to my house in the last few weeks may not have received my usual hugs and kisses (responsible socializing, folks), but they have been presented with a teaspoon-full of this cinnamon-honey-clove-’n-berry goodness.
Even my two fussy kiddos drink it up enthusiastically, overjoyed to be getting what we’re now calling “purple super-juice” each morning instead of their usual “yucky” echinacea water. Of course, the echinacea is still in there; I’m just adding half a teaspoon of the most delicious and lowest-sugar Elderberry syrup ever. With a wellness freak like me for a mama, they don’t get much in the way of regular juice, so this is winning in their books!
I’ve taken to adding a teaspoon to my usual evening cup of Rooibos tea. It’s also delicious on its own as a tea (just add hot water), or a spritzer (just add sparkling water, though please not outta single-use plastic, ‘kay). It’s become the magic (glass, of course) bottle of immune-supporting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich spiced fruit blend that lives in my fridge—more like a healthy treat than yet another wellness potion I’ve gotta get into the daily roster.
I love that it’s rooted in traditional herbal medicine: packed full of the highest quality European Haschberg elderberries, but still perfectly blended to have none of the tartness of your grandmother’s elderberry elixir yet far less of the poisonous sugar content lurking in most other brands.
The low-down on elderberry: an age-old immunity remedy with added health benefits.
Elderberries for immune support have been a hot topic since the 5th century BCE, when the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, referred to it as “nature’s medicine chest.”
When we say elderberry, we are actually referring to multiple varieties of black and blue berries that come from the indigenous Sambucus tree. There are all sorts of elderberries, though the most common is the European elderberry, or Sambucus nigra. But what makes this small black fruit so special?
For something we tend to think of as a “traditional remedy,” there’s actually a lot of hard science behind its health-hero status, which you can dig into here if you’re a wellness curious sort like me who loves to geek out on that stuff.
At a glance, here are five reasons elderberries are such an amazing all-rounder for our health:
1. Elderberries may help improve cold and flu symptoms: This is, of course, their most well-known benefit. Elderberries have a strong link to helping support the immune system, having been shown in studies to decrease the length and severity of the flu.
2. Elderberries are high in vitamin C: Getting more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by as much as 30%. Elderberries pack a nice punch; per 100 grams of elderberry fruit, you can obtain up to 60% of the recommended daily intake.
3. Elderberries are high in antioxidants: Anthocyanin is the flavonoid with antioxidant superpowers that gives elderberries their rich color! In addition to reducing oxidative damage and fighting free radicals in the body (linked to premature aging and many chronic diseases), anthocyanins may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and even anti-cancer benefits.
4. Elderberries may support heart health: Elderberry has been shown to increase your body’s secretion of insulin, enabling better blood sugar level control that can prevent heart and vascular disease. Team elderberries’ star player, anthocyanin, has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
5. Elderberries may support skin health: Tons of skincare products include elderberry in their formula, and elderberry’s nutritious content may be why. Aside from antioxidants, they’re also chock-full of vitamin A, amounting to a powerful free radical damage limiting, skin health-promoting one-two punch. Elderberries also contain an abundance of two of the best-known superstars of skin health, vitamins C and E.
So, what’s special about Further Food’s Elderberry Soothing Syrup?
We’ve been getting to know this female-founded small giant for a while now. We’ve tried and loved their impeccable-sourced range of collagen peptides, sampled their soul-warming superfood turmeric, and lessened our stress with their premium ashwagandha.
Not only do they have an inspiring story and a noble mission, but they also take sustainability seriously. There’s no better trifecta in our books.
Their Soothing Syrup was born out of founder Lillian Zhao’s personal recipe for getting all the benefits of elderberry with more flavor and less sugar:
“I’m a longtime user of Elderberry. When I look at all the options in store, everything out there has so much sugar. When a wellness product is high in sugar, it defeats the purpose of being good for you.
So, you know what I did? I made my own elderberry syrup! I’d go to my local Farmer’s market and buy elderberry tincture, then blend it with some honey, cinnamon, and cloves. Now, cinnamon and cloves are not only super flavorful but also have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as warming spices to promote qi-energy flow. I’ve been making this delicious elderberry tea and I’ve been enjoying it with my husband every morning.
And then I thought: we should make this for Further Food. And that’s exactly what we did. It’s so delicious and fragrant and tastes similar to spiced apple cider, but it’s elderberry cider. And it only has one gram of sugar per serving, which is the lowest you can find out there. This is a product that will take care of you, and that’s all I could ever want in a supplement.” ~ Lillian
This delicious syrup is the ultimate “food as medicine” secret weapon that you can enjoy in all sorts of creative ways. Straight-up is still my personal fave, though. Every time I take a teaspoon, I almost feel like Mary Poppins—only without the actual spoonful of sugar.