There was a time in my life when I counted the years since I last got really sick. In my 20s and early 30s, that was maybe three times. I celebrated being forced down for a few days because it happened so infrequently. Orange juice? Check. Daytime TV game shows such as The Price Is Right? Check. Stack of magazines to read? Check. Sure,
I got a little cold now and again, but for the most part, I was free of flu and other seasonal viruses.
Then, I got married and started a family. Now, my preschool- and elementary-school-age sons just can’t help sharing all those wonderful germs they pick up. Now,
I’m lucky if I can count the weeks between times I get hit with one bug or another.
Last winter, my wife got proactive and started buying elderberry syrup for our family. Reports say that these trendy berries stimulate the immune system and help treat cold and flu symptoms. While comprehensive research has not been done, several small studies have found “a significant effect of elderberry on cold duration and cold-associated symptoms.”
You don’t need to persuade John Moody. His family grows, makes and sells elderberry syrup on a farm in Kentucky. (Read about his elderberry business and other “side hustles” on page 34.) According to him, elderberries are generally easy to grow. “Whether as a stand-alone plant or as a series of shrubs serving as a hedge or fence, elderberry does well in urban, suburban or rural settings,” he writes in The Elderberry Book (New Society Publishers, 2019). “There are few places you cannot grow it, and generally, as long as you select a variety suitable for your location, it will grow well and rapidly.”
W hile elderberries have been used in folk medicine for centuries, you should still get a flu shot each year. (I get mine!) That said, it also helps to take a spoonful of syrup every morning during cold and flu seasons. It tastes good and, it seems to me, doing so helps keep you from feeling under the weather. It certainly doesn’t hurt! — Roger Sipe, Editor