A fabulous brew for foraging in the rain when you don’t want to end up with a cold!
I’ve used elderberries (Sambucus nigra) against colds and flu for years. It’s so tasty my children were always happy to drink it, rather than echinacea tincture. So I make litres of elderberry syrup every year. You can make lovely hot, mulled teas by adding thyme, rosemary, sage and other kitchen herbs. Today, having harvested a huge amount of chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) recently I made this spicier version.
Both chaga and elderberries are great at supporting the immune system. Chaga strengthens and balances, elderberry stimulates (cytokine release), lemon contain vitamin C and ginger is antibiotic. I mix it all with some kitchen spices, and hogweed seed when I have it, to make a really tasty, warming brew.
Ingredients (makes 4 cups)
1 cup of elderberry syrup
3 cup water
3 tsp grated chaga
3 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lemon (juice and zest)
Simmer the chaga, lemon zest, grated ginger and all the spices in the water for ten minutes. (If you have time you can leave to infuse overnight to strengthen the medicinal chaga extract but you can also drink it straightaway if in a hurry.) Add the lemon juice and elderberry syrup and warm it right through. Strain off using a sieve lined with a little gauze or muslin. Drink!
NB When grating chaga, hold the black outer edge and grate the brown side where the fungus is most active.