With summer (and kids) comes the need for hydrating beverages that are fun, colorful, and tasty! I have been trying to create these beverages for the kids by embracing the nourishing and the healing gifts of summer. This means using available and nutritive plants and herbs, either wild or gardened, and skipping out on the synthetic and harmful ingredients all too common in our grocery stores.
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Elderflower is blooming right now in our area and is easily spotted amongst the summer greenery with her lucent floral umbels. Elderflower offers many nutritive and healing properties. It stimulates the immune system and is commonly used medicinally to encourage the passing of a cold or flu. Clinical studies show that elder prevents the influenza virus from replicating itself, allowing the immune system to gain control and rid itself of the virus. The fresh or dried flowers can be drunk as a hot tea to induce sweating and help break a fever. Drink a cup of elderflower to wind down at the end of the day, lift the spirits, or calm frazzled nerves without sedation. Use it topically to treat minor wounds, skin irritations, or inflammations. Elder is safe for children and makes a great household companion!
A word of caution though – the leaves, stems, and bark contain toxic compounds called hydrocyanic acid that will cause digestive distress if consumed. Be sure to remove as much of the stem as possible. Also, be sure to properly identify the blue or black berried elder (Sambucus nigra), as the red berried elder is toxic.
Wild Blueberries have been surviving and thriving for over 10,000 years. The hardiness and protective qualities of these bushes are passed on to us through consumption of their tiny yet powerful little gems – the blueberries. You’ll notice the blue pigment runs through the entire berry and not just the skin as with its cultivated and plump pampered counterpart. This pigment is a result anthocyanin (also found in elder), an extremely powerful phytonutrient known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. These antioxidants protect you against aging, inflammation, and illness amongst so very much more. The wild blueberry is an everyday necessity if you ask me! Medical Medium praises this berry in his book Life Changing Foods – a must read!
Lemons are an uplifting and mood boosting citrus with their vibrant and sunny disposition. They are exceptionally high in bioavailable vitamin C – this is vitamin C that our body will readily absorb and use. It is an essential nutrient for immune system functioning. Lemons are known for alkalizing our body, a necessity in todays acidic processed food world, preventing cancer growth and disease. They assist the liver in detoxing the body, carrying out waste, and will even help with digestive issues as they encourage the liver to produce more bile.
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 4 tbsp fresh elderflower or 2 tbsp dried – stems removed!
- 1 lemon – juice and zest
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup or raw honey to taste
- 3 cups water
- In a saucepan combine the water, elderflower, and wild blueberries. Cover this and bring it to a boil. As it begins to boil, remove from the heat and allow it to steep until cooled.
- Strain your elderflower/blueberry tea into a quart sized jar, making sure to squeeze all the juicy goodness out of your marc (elderflower and blueberry bits) and into your jar.
- Squeeze in your lemon juice and zest, along with the maple syrup or honey to taste.
- Pour over ice into individual glasses, or add ice to your quart jar and enjoy throughout the day!
Replenish your body with the healing gifts of summer. Elderflower & Wild Blueberry is a sweetly hydrating and nourishing infusion.