Its hard this time of year to find time to blog. We are bringing in the harvest and enjoying good meals filled with fresh foods. This week we had gazpacho, pesto, grilled vegetables, squash soup and baked apples as well as many fresh Colorado peaches. We are also trying to make sure we have enough herbs harvested and dried for the winter; plantain, mint, comfrey, red clover, feverfew and calendula are herbs I am focused on now.
Today I just picked the first of the elderberries and wow, this plant is loaded with berries this year. Did you know elderberries contain a chemical that inhibits viral neuraminidase, the same activity found in the antiviral drug Tamiflu? Neuraminidase is a viral enzyme that is essential for viral replication so by inhibiting this enzyme elderberries can inhibit replication of viruses that cause colds and flu. In my opinion it is the best anti flu medicine available - whats more - it actually tastes good. I'll make both a syrup of elderberry to use as a cough medicine and I'll make a tincture of elderberry to take during the winter if I come down with a cold or flu. I also use elderberries in my ThymaFlu product for colds and flu. You can also make a nice cordial from elderberry to sip on (for medicinal purposes). Elderberries and other fruits are rich in anthocyanins, a great antioxidant. Ingestion of berries in general has been linked to decreased rates of cancer and heart disease. Topically elderberries have been used in wound healing, to promote skin health and to lighten and brighten the skin. I hope you are enjoying the gifts of your harvest whether you've grown it yourself, wildcrafted it or bought it at your local farmers market.