We are now entering the heart of cold and flu season. (This is different from Powder Flu season, which also happens to mysteriously manifest this time of year. See below). For centuries, many have turned to the elderberry during this season to boost immunity and, some say, as a way to reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. Out of respect to this fabled fruit, Elderberry Kombucha is now back on tap at a store near you for the season.
In addition to its role as an herbal remedy, the elderberry has inspired many a legend. A few years ago, the University of Vermont Extension, through its Elderberry Project, chronicled the quirky history and lore of the elderberry. Here are a few fun findings:
– European elderberry harvesters intentionally leave some for the migrating birds, recognizing the elderberry’s importance as a healthy food source.
– Port wine, typically from Portugal, for a time was viewed as a health drink. Perhaps this is because some vineyards would sneak elderberries into to the wine must along with the more expensive grapes. The dark elderberries wouldn’t change the deep purple color of the port and may have helped deliver some healthy benefits.
– Hans Christian Andersen wrote a surreal children’s story (aren’t they all kinda surreal?) about an elderberry tree. More on this later.
– Harry Potter fans will remember that the Elder Wand, which was made of elder wood with a cluster of elderberries carved into it, was one of the three Deathly Hallows. Interestingly, the Elder Wand was said to be made by Death himself, which seems incongruous with the healing properties of the elderberry.
– The Common Elderberry has a near doppelganger, called the Stinking Elderberry. There are a few differences between the plants but the biggest is that it, well, stinks.
The Hans Christian Andersen story, The Little Eldertree Mother, inspired our Artist-in-Residence “Spicy” Mike Kin to create the illustration above. The story is about a young boy who catches a cold while playing in the wet landscape of Copenhagen. While the boy is warming up with some elderberry tea, he listens to a story from his elderly neighbor about a woman who lived in an elderberry tree. When the old man finishes the story, the boy sees that the Eldertree Mother has sprouted from the teapot. The story is about remembrance, shared experience, and the transportive power of fairy tales (and a good tea).
So fill up your growler of our Elderberry Tea Kombucha during cold and flu season and perhaps, like the little boy in the story, you’ll visit “warm countries” too.
About that Powder Flu? Well, we can help with that too:
Caught the “Powder Flu?” Drink a Kombucha. We need to be very cautious discussing health benefits (per the FDA) but we can say with confidence that if you drink Aqua ViTea Kombucha while treating the “powder flu” you will feel energized & miraculously return to work the next day.