07 August 2013

The Amazing Health Benefits of Elderflower Cordial

Summer days in my childhood were filled with the scent of elder coming from the elder bushes along roads, paths, in the fields and gardens. There was hardly a home without a jug of cool elderflower cordial on the counter to refresh the guests in the summer heat.

Nowadays elderflower cordial marks a powerful comeback and is offered in most trendy cafes around Europe not only because of its sweet taste but also because of its health benefits. You can make elderflower cordial yourself fairly easy at home and store up to a year.

health benefits of elderflower cordial and how to make it at home via @kanelstrand
Photo: Bill Tyne

Health benefits of elderflower
Elderflower has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. It is rich in antioxidants and its healing properties have for centuries been used as a remedy for coughs, colds, hay fever and even rheumatism, so much so that it has acquired the nickname of Nature's Medicine Chest.

Some of the nutrients found in Elderflower include Bioflavonoids, Choline, Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids, Pectin and Tannins. Together with the vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-3 complex, and Vitamin they give the elderflower its anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antiviral properties.
  • boosts immune system,
  • purifies the blood,
  • treats asthma, bronchitis, coughs and colds,
  • relieves symptoms of respiratory allergies,
  • diuretic (increases urine production),
  • iaphoretic (increases sweating),
  • laxative,
  • insect-repellent,
  • relieves intestinal problems including diarrhea or constipation, helps to stabilize
  • bowel function,
  • corrects kidney function.

How to harvest elderflowers
Elderflowers are in season from the end of May to the beginning of June which is also the best time for picking. They grow in a variety of conditions including both wet and dry fertile soils, though they prefer sunny locations.

The flowerheads are best collected fresh and new when the tiny buds have just opened and come to bloom before the fragrance is tainted with bitterness. Harvest in dry and sunny weather. Instead of picking, cut the cluster of flowers and put in a basket without pressing.

How to make elderflower cordial
Start preparing your elderflower cordial on the day of harvesting while the flowers are still fresh.

40 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
1 kg (2,2 lb) sugar
1 l (1 qt) water
85 g (3 oz) citric acid

Make sure that your elderflower heads are clean. Don't wash to prevent them from losing the aroma. Arrange them in a clean glass bowl and cover with sugar. Mix the citric acid in the water and pour in the glass bowl. Cover and keep in a cool place, away from direct sunlight for 2 weeks. Mix gently with a wooden spoon every day. The longer you let the mixture infuse, the stronger the scent of the cordial will be.

In 2 weeks strain the syrup in a clean, dry glass bottle. You can preserve it for up to a year in a cool dark place or a fridge.

For drinking dilute with cold water.

For medicinal use, take 1 tablespoon of concentrate each morning.

Have you tried Elderflower cordial?

DISCLAIMER: Please note that these treatments are only meant as guidelines and in no way replace the advice or treatment provided by your medical practitioner. It is always good to seek the advice of your physician, homeopath, naturopath, or herbalist for professional advice in any matter related to your health. This article is for information purposes only.