Natural flu remedies in high demand
BATON ROUGE - With increased chances of getting the flu this year, people are turning to a more natural way of staying healthy. It’s called elderberry syrup. Medical Centers have linked it to both preventing and treating the flu.
Those who make is say it takes up to an hour to make. Once it’s ready, they encourage people to take a teaspoon or tablespoon per day. If someone already has the flu, take it four times a day. But the problem is that it’s not easy to get your hands on.
“It's been crazy, to say the least,” said Kristen O'Keefe, owner of Ellie Mae's Elderberry. “The demand is definitely on the rise."
For the past two years, O'Keefe has been brewing her own batches and selling them at Premiere Produce in Zachary and Unique Creations in Zachary. But she's never had to cook this much.
“I was [brewing] weekly, and then cold and flu season hit and everyone wanted elderberries,” said O'Keefe. “So I'm up to three times a week brewing batches."
For Leah Conti, this is the first time she's selling her makings.
“I just decided to make it for my family because I wanted us to stay healthy,” said Conti. “I thought other people need this as well, so I put it out on Facebook."
It’s safe to say her Juniper Kitchen creation is a hit.
“Yeah, a few minutes later I sold 40 jars,” Conti said.
The product is in such high demand, those making it are having a hard time getting their hands on the ingredients.
"It's been sold out itself to buy the berries themselves online through the co-op that people get it from, through Amazon,” said Conti. “People are just trying to get it every way they can."
The reason: customers are finding the syrup works.
“There's anti-viral properties,” said O'Keefe. “It has the highest level of antioxidants than any other berry, the vitamin C, vitamins and minerals in the berry are off the chart compared to other herbs and spices. It's been around since ancient times.”
Elderberries, which are similar to blueberries, can be grown here in Louisiana. But since they're so sought out, O'Keefe says she gets hers shipped in bulk from Washington where the climate is best for the crop.