DIY Elderberry Oxymel [for Colds]

The crud has hit our home. Robb and I have both been battling a cold the past few days and with Caleb only 4 months old, we’ve been careful to try not to spread it to him. Thankfully I’ve read that breastmilk contains protective antibodies to help Caleb’s immune system fight off infection and illness. He seems to be good right now but I’ve been keeping a close eye on his health.

Cold’s suck. I’ve never liked taking medicine to begin with but now I have to take extra precautions while breastfeeding. I’ve always preferred time, rest, and a good dose of Vitamin C. Elderberries are a great source of Vitamin C (as well as being said to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties) and while I usually create a hot tea with the dried berries and a bit of honey, I also like to transform the berries into an oxymel for easy consumption.

A oxymel is basically a syrup with apple cider vinegar added to give it a sweet and sour taste. This is definitely an acquired taste. I actually like it, it is very reminiscent to a shrub. When I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather, I take about a tablespoon full every 4 or 5 hours. For Robb, I mixed a bit of the oxymel with some tonic water – though I admit, he did not like it one bit. I highly recommend stocking up on dried elderberries BEFORE cold and flu season arrives as they become harder to find and a lot of shops sell out. This recipe also needs to sit for a few weeks so make it early on during cold and flu season to make sure that you have it on hand. Once it’s prepared, it’ll last for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

I’ve also been taking Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Cough Syrup + Mucus. Since it’s safe for infants 2+ months, I figured that it would be safe for me to consume. It has a delicious grape flavor and helps to clear mucus and soothe irritated throats. There are no artificial flavors/sweeteners/drugs/alcohol/dyes, only organic agave syrup, English ivy leaf extract and a few other items.

Now that I’m over this cold… it’s time to prepare for allergy season~…

Print Recipe
Elderberry Oxymel
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Instructions
  1. Fill a quart or pint sized mason jar 1/3 full with your dried elderberries.
  2. Add an equal amount of honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well and cover with a plastic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to corrode).
  3. Let this mixture sit for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar a few times a week. When it's done, strain it through cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze the cheesecloth to get out any extra bits of liquid.
Recipe Notes

I like to store my finished oxymel in a glass amber bottle but you can use any container. It'll last for about 6 months in the fridge.

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5 Pregnancy Nighttime Essentials

Sleep.

It’s amazing how valuable sleep becomes when you are pregnant. It never seems like you are able to get enough of it, at least for me. Over the course of my pregnancy, I’ve discovered a few items that have helped sleep come a little bit easier. Hopefully some of these items will help you as well.

 

• Belly Butter – I apply a moisturizing belly butter to my skin every evening after my shower. This not only helps to reduce stretch marks but is a very relaxing ritual that helps to relax my body for bed. I have a recipe coming soon for my belly butter, but in the meantime, you can purchase it at my Etsy shop! I typically like to use an unscented belly butter but you can add a calming essential oil, such as lavender, to help relieve stress and reduce anxious feelings [check out my Lavender Linen Spray DIY as well].

 

PinkBlush Maternity Pants – I LOVE these pants. The fabric feels so soft against my skin and they are cozy enough for both the warm nights of summer all the way through a crisp winter evening. Though they have plenty of room for my expanding belly, they don’t look like maternity pajama pants so I also am planning to wear them post-pregnancy. PinkBlush Maternity is a dangerous website for me to visit as I love pretty much everything that they have to offer. A lot of the clothes, even if they say “Maternity” are styled in a way that you can wear them even after you give birth.

 

Tums – Before I became pregnant, I would get bad heartburn on occasion. Since becoming pregnant, I have experienced horrible heartburn during my second and third trimesters as I was trying to get to sleep. Some nights it would get to the point where I have to stuff so many pillows behind my head that I was basically sitting upright – and that is no way to catch some zzzz’s. After suffering through it for way too long, I finally broke down and picked some Tums up. It’s amazing the difference those chalky little tablets made.

 

Belle – Don’t laugh. A lot of pregnant women tend to use a body pillow of some sort to help support their hips, back, and stomach (like this one) when they are trying to get to sleep. I just use my dog. She is the perfect size and has this amazing ability to know exactly how I need her to lay. As the weather starts to cool off, she generates enough heat to keep me comfortable and provides the right amount of support for my body. Plus, I think it helps her to be so close to Lil Bean and feel him move around.

 

Hot Tea – Even before I found myself pregnant, I enjoyed a nice cup of hot herbal tea before bed. Now that I am pregnant, I have to be careful about what sort of herbs I’m ingesting as not all are pregnancy-friendly. I like to create my own blends but in a pinch, I enjoy the Peaceful Mama Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics. It contains lemon balm, calcium rich oat straw, calming Chamomile, red raspberry leaf and orange peel herbs traditionally used to help calm and relax during pregnancy.

What are/were some of your pregnancy nighttime essentials?