Y’all know how much I love elderberry syrup, but it is not your only option, and for most people, tinctured elderberries are a better choice... and for a whole lot of reasons.
What is a tincture?
A tincture is a liquid extract made from a combination of herbs. We primarily use alcohol because of how great it extracts the useful goodness from the plants more completely and because it offers an unlimited shelf life, but tinctures can be extracted by using alcohol, vegetable glycerine, or apple cider vinegar. All of the herb’s wonderful properties are concentrated in the liquid. The is strained, the herbs are discarded, and the liquid is kept and used.
Read more on our Benefits of Tinctures post!
Why I am a big fan of tinctured elderberry:
1. It Works!
A clinical trial done during a severe flu outbreak in 1992-1993 in Israel showed that black elderberry treated/cured flu symptoms faster than Tamiflu. Another study performed in Oslo, Norway in 2002, also confirmed the amazing efficacy for type A or B flu victims of several different strains. Returns to the state of wellness mostly occurred in two days while a few were well in three days. Tamiflu took 4.5 to 5 days. It took 6 days or more for the flu patients who were taking a placebos to recover. There were no side effects from taking elderberry in either study.
Elderberry contains several healthful immune boosting properties, including antioxidants, tannins, vitamins A, B, and C, and flavonoids, just to name a few. But it’s best known for knocking out the flu right when it starts, so it’s important to take it immediately upon having symptoms.
2. Smaller Doses
Some people like elderberry syrup while some don’t. With the syrup, most people are taking anywhere from 1/2 tsp. to 1 tbsp. per day (and sometimes every few hours, if they have a cold starting). That’s 2 – 15 ml.
With the tincture, you only need very tiny doses. We’re talking 0.1 – 1 ml. If elderberry tincture is not your thing, it’s easy to hide the tiny dose in juice, or even water!
3. So Easy to Disguise
For reluctant family members, tincture is easily discussed in water, juice, or tea, whereas syrup is almost impossible.
4. Completely Shelf Stable
Refrigerated elderberry syrup lasts about a month. That’s okay if you have a small amount and take it straight away, but that makes it hard to have it available for whenever you need it, and hopefully that the syrup or ingredients are available when you need it. Quality organic elderberries and quality organic syrup can pretty hard to come once the flu season hits. We heard from a number of people that they have had to throw away syrup that they didn't have a chance to use up.
Elderberry tincture does not need to be refrigerated, and it will last all season long!
5. More Cost Effective
Because you use less and don’t need to toss any out because it has gone bad, that makes it much more cost effective. Plus, you can buy larger, more economical sizes without fear of it going bad before you can use it.
6. No Added Sugar
Most store-bought elderberry syrups are full of refined sugar and sugar actually lowers your immune system. I have never understood this. I mean…is there even a net benefit at that point?
Homemade syrups are often better, because they usually use raw honey and have a lower total sugar content. Raw honey has a ton of benefits, but some people can’t or choose not to do sugar.
Natural sugar or not, the content is enough to bring on migraines for those who suffer them.
Children under one year of age should NEVER take anything with honey. Even if it is cooked, it is not enough to be safe for our precious wee ones.
In these cases, a tincture is perfect, because there is no sugar added!
7. How Tinctures Will Travel
Because tinctures don’t need refrigeration, and because you don’t need a very large dose, you can carry a small bottle with you, even on planes! This is a huge benefit as you and your family navigate the cold and flu season through the holidays.