We’ve been living on one income for 6 months now so naturally I’ve tried to be extremely budget conscious. Part of that consciousness has been trying to use everything to its full capacity. Saving veggie ends and peels for stock, reusing condiment bottles for other purposes instead of buying containers, and using veggie greens for pesto instead of throwing them away have been some of the latest and most common simple ways to maximize a dollar.
Another way we save in our house is making natural medicines and tinctures. I make a lot of organic elderberry syrup that also contains echinacea root, echinacea leaf, licorice root, ginger root, black peppercorns, hibiscus, marshmallow root, and clove buds. After steeping the syrup, you drain and throw away the herbs which to me seem to still have life left in them. Of course they wouldn’t be medicinally strong enough to reuse for another batch of syrup, but they CAN be saved and made into flu fighting magic! This blend of herbs is packed with immune boosting, anti-inflammatory properties which are much needed when fighting a sickness.
Recycling Things Into Other Things Is Magic
We love tea. We drink all kinds of tea so I decided to see what would happen if I used the leftover herbs like a tea. To my great surprise and delight it turned out to be a flavorful, deep, rich tea. I knew those herbs still had life left in them! Now what do I do with the tea?
Well, when you’re sick- or more like when your kids are sick what do you want? Something cold to numb the sore throat and something light and easy on the tummy, right? Popsicles are the go to, but they are full of dyes and chemical flavoring so we can do much better than that! Why not take this elderberry tea and make it into popsicles?! Light bulb!!
Like I mentioned above, the majority of the medicinal benefit of the herbs have already been extracted so it needs some partners in crime to be effective. So what is the natural tamer of upset tummies? Ginger! Ginger is excellent for nausea, but it also reduces inflammation, calms indigestion, and reduces pain. Ginger will empty the stomach of those monstrous flu bugs that twist your insides and cause nausea, soothe swollen sore tonsils, and reduce body aches.
So while elderberry tea and ginger are great for reducing the effects of flu, there’s one more that will help you squash those bugs! Activated charcoal dietary supplements. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to be hospitalized with food poisoning, a common treatment after a saline IV is activated charcoal. When you take activated charcoal, toxins bind to it and carry it out of the body so it’s a great addition to these pops!
Magic Purple Pops
Before you get started with making these, I should mention that when these are consumed, a purple tongue and darker stool may occur due to the pigments in the elderberries and activated charcoal!
Put your used elderberries or elderberry herb blend in a sauce pan and add 4 cups of water. Slice a 1″ piece of fresh ginger and put into the pot. Bring to a boil and once boiling, remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely like you do when you make elderberry syrup.
Remove the ginger slices from the tea and discard. If you’re using just elderberries, you can put them in a blender and puree to blend into the liquid. If you’re using a blend of herbs, strain them through a cheesecloth or heavy paper towel and squeeze out any liquid. Pop open 2 capsules of dietary activated charcoal and pour them into your cooled tea until well combined. I added a little honey for sweetness to mine because I have older children, but for those who cannot have honey or for small children (children under the age of 1 year shouldn’t be given honey!) you can use maple syrup to sweeten.
Use a funnel and pour the mixture into freezer pop pouches. Seal and freeze for any time you need the healing power of this trio to boost immunity, fend off cold & flu, soothe strep throat, tonsillitis, or simply soothe an upset stomach!
As always, please check with your medical professional before using something new. Some medications can be rendered ineffective due to the actions of the activated charcoal which binds and discard foreign bodies from the stomach. This includes birth control!
**This is a natural remedy we use in our family and find it effective for treating nausea due to common cold and flu. This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or ailment. Please seek medical advice for your specific situation.