Since starting my family on a regimen of elderberry, (being more diligent during the cold and flu season), we have seen a drastic reduction in sickness in our household. I can tell a huge difference in the health of my first child, Lylah who is now 6, and my second, Cooper who is 2.
Lylah had frequent ear infections, was on a path to getting tubes in her ears and suffered from allergies. When she was 3, I stared making elderberry syrup and she has not had an ear infection or taken medication for allergies since. Cooper has only had one round of antibiotics (for an ear infection) in his life and has never taken an allergy med because I started giving him elderberry syrup as soon as he was old enough to take it!
It’s safe to say that I am a believer, and I am DEFINITELY for trying all-natural health and wellness options first before turning to prescription and over-the-counter drugs. (I also believe in the power of modern medicine and am grateful for it. I just start with the natural stuff!)
Holistic and preventative health solutions have become the basis of my family’s foundation for living an overall healthy lifestyle which also includes clean eating. Food is medicine, y’all!
To give you a better idea of the wide array of benefits this syrup provides, I am going to highlight each ingredient and link to clinical research backing up the claims. Notice how each ingredient is familiar and that you can easily pronounce its name. That’s because we use real food and real ingredients, not mechanically engineered substitutes that can do more harm than good.
Let’s get started with elderberries!
The European elderberry, Sambicus Nigra, offers the most medicinal properties of the elderberry species, and it’s the only one we source here at Harbin Hollow!
Elderberries stimulate the immune response and prevent viral infections. If you do catch a virus, take elderberry syrup at the first sign of sickness so the elderberry can stop the replication of the virus. This, in turn, shortens your duration of sickness and helps reduce symptoms, without the pesky side effects of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. 
Elderberry-based supplements are believed to work by supplying the body with antioxidants and boosting its natural immune response. One recent study concluded “supplementation with elderberry was found to substantially reduce upper respiratory symptoms,”  and another states it “is promising as an inexpensive and low‐risk treatment for influenza and other viral and non‐viral pathogens – and potentially as a preventative for acute viral infections.” 
The elderberry is the superhero of berries. Its flavor is rich and can be compared to that of a blackberry, just a little tarter. We take care of that by adding local middle Tennessee honey to sweeten our elderberry syrup. Of course, honey does a lot more than add some sweetness!
Local Honey Benefits
When we started making elderberry products, finding a local, trusted, inspected honey farm to supply us was extremely important. Unfortunately, many commercial brands of honey you find on grocery store shelves have been adulterated with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or antibiotics, and have been heated to high temperatures killing the majority of the benefits found in honey. Our honey is only sourced from Pick TN honey farms inspected and permitted by the TN Department of Agriculture.
Honey is a natural sweetener, has a complex composition, and compared to sugar, has a lower glycemic index and energetic value.Honey contains antioxidant vitamins E and C as well as minerals and have prebiotic oligosaccharides that help to feed gut flora.
However, honey does still react in the body similarly to sugar, so if you are a diabetic, use in moderation and monitor your blood sugar levels when consuming. For those of you watching your blood glucose levels, we have our “No Sugar Added” Elderberry Syrup sweetened with a blend of erythritol and Stevia.
Honey has also been proven effective for treating coughs, particularly in children. Most over-the-counter and prescription drugs for cough have been proven ineffective or unsafe for our kiddos. “A single dose of honey before bedtime was shown in recent studies to diminish cough and the discomfort experienced by children and their parents. 
Not to mention, it tastes great! It’s a no brainer to me, natural stuff over the chemicals all day, every day, which brings us to our next ingredient, cinnamon.
Ceylon Cinnamon Benefits
Ceylon Cinnamon is also known has “true cinnamon” and “Sri Lankan cinnamon”. It supports your immune health because it is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. The cinnamon you find commonly in your local grocery store is called Cassia Cinnamon and doesn’t quite pack the same medicinal punch as the Ceylon Cinnamon.
“Studies in animals and humans from different parts of the world have demonstrated numerous beneficial health effects of cinnamon, such as anti-inflammatory properties, anti-microbial activity, reducing cardiovascular disease, boosting cognitive function and reducing risk of colonic cancer.”  It can even help lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise your good cholesterol (HDL). Cinnamon has also shown positive results in reducing blood glucose levels in adults living with Type 2 Diabetes. 
Talk about a superfood! Ceylon Cinnamon is the good stuff! We use the cinnamon sticks versus the powder to fully infuse the syrup with the good stuff. It also does not separate or require the use of xanthan gum to bind it which is commonly needed when using powdered spices.
The same goes for our next powerhouse ingredient, ginger root.
Ginger Root Benefits
Ginger has been used for thousands of years for the treatment of numerous ailments, such as colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension. It’s one of the most commonly consumed dietary condiments in the world. 
Ginger decreases oxidative-stress because it is high in anti-oxidants. There have been studies confirming it as an anti-inflammatory and has reduced pain in people with osteoporosis and arthritis.
In Asian cultures, ginger is frequently used to treat coughs and upper respiratory symptoms. I couldn’t live without ginger candy during pregnancy to treat morning sickness, and “the anticancer potential of ginger is well documented because its functional ingredients, like gingerols, shogaol, and paradols, are the valuable ingredients which can prevent various cancers.” 
The ginger flavor is subtle yet present in our syrups. It is a bit sweet and warming. On to cloves!
Cloves originate in Indonesia and are a popular spice used in soups, stews, meats, sauces, rice dishes, and holistic remedies such as our elderberry syrup. Cloves are a natural anesthetic commonly used topically to treat tooth aches and promote oral health and may have a “beneficial role in the future of cancer treatment since they can cause cell death and slow cell multiplication.”
The clove adds a warm spice to our syrups and partnered with the cinnamon and elderberry, I describe it as tasting like ‘Christmas in a bottle!’
Last but not least, our final ingredient, lemon, serves a dual purpose.
Lemons are one of the most common and recognizable ingredients in our elderberry syrup. Most people already know they are full of vitamin C and awesome for digestive health. But did you know, “research shows that eating fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke?”  It can!
Lemons can also help control your weight, prevent kidney stones, and reduce your risk of cancer. 
Lastly, there is a special function of lemons in our elderberry syrups in addition to its health benefits. Lemon juice lowers the pH levels by raising the acidity of the syrup which helps make it shelf stable, so you don’t have to refrigerate it until after opening. This allows us to get our syrups on more store shelves in hopes of spreading the HEALTH to more people.
The combination of Harbin Hollow Elderberry Syrup ingredients are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antioxidant. There are no known side effects (other than having an allergy to a specific ingredient) and it is generally considered safe for anyone over the age of one year old. (Infants are advised to skip the honey until they are 12 months or older due to the risk or botulism.)
Take a daily maintenance dose to promote overall wellness or take a dose every 2-3 hours for additional immune support and to treat cold and flu symptoms. The adult dose is 1 tbls, and the kids get 1/2 to 1 tsp.
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Purchase in store at these retailers:
Bloomin' Deals- Portland, TN
Bryant's Country Store- Greenbrier, TN
Cafe 31- White House, TN
Cassie's Vendor Boutique- Cross Plains, TN
Dashwood Nashville- Nashville, TN
Greenbrier Pharmacy- Greenbrier, TN
The Herbal Heart- Nashville, TN
Hendersonville Produce- Hendersonville, TN
Herban Market- Franklin, TN
Hill Family Farm- White House, TN
Howard's Vitamin Store- Gallatin, TN
Market on the Mountain- Lookout Mountain, TN
Orbit Health Food Store- Goodlettsville, TN and Mt. Juliet, TN
Pied Piper Herbs- Portland, TN
Roman Pharmacy- Goodlettsville, TN
Healthy in Bama- Jacksonville, AL
Habegger's Variety Store- Scottsville, KY
Sheldon's Pharmacy- Bowling Green, KY
About the Author:
Michele Harbin is a certified nutrition coach who’s focused turned to creating natural health solutions when she was unhappy with products on the store shelves. She is the owner of Harbin Hollow where they handcraft, all-natural products with health and wellness in mind. She loves to inspire others and found that offering real, tangible solutions like handcrafted elderberry syrup, superfood preserves, and local bee pollen gives folks the tools they need to heal from the inside out. She is wife to television producer Ron Harbin and mother to Lylah Jane (6 years) and Cooper Jennings (2 years). A free spirit with an entrepreneur’s drive, Michele never sits still, loves to travel, has a passion for revamping traditional recipes for healthier versions, is a true Southern girl, and will literally talk your ear off.