With shorter days and long cold nights, embracing our inner homebody feels so right. With the recent holiday intensity in our rear view mirror, we’ve earned it. This month, we’re indulging in a new favorite: some tasty elderberry hot chocolate.
This recipe comes from Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, a dedicated supporter of addressing the “whole health” of a person. For those who might not be familiar with Dr. Low Dog, she’s an expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements and women’s health. What does that really mean? She has an extensive knowledge of holistic health with a special interest in helping women thrive.
She’s earned many awards including for her work in the area of indigenous and alternative medicine and has written some great books like National Geographic’s Guide to Medicinal Herbs. You might have also heard her on NPR’s People’s Pharmacy.
Okay! That was my long-winded way of saying that she is the real deal.
You might be asking, “Why elderberry?”
Elderberry has long been used as a natural cold and flu fighter. (According to folklore, Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” called elderberry his “medicine chest.”) Considered one of the top antiviral herbs, elderberry is rich in flavonoids and its high antioxidant level helps our immune system thrive. When used within the first 48 hours, elderberry is known to cut down on the duration of a cold or flu.
Great also for chronic fatigue, inflammation, sinus infections and allergies. Elderberry is great for the winter season, but don’t forget about its other healing properties for the rest of the year.
Elderberry Hot Chocolate
3 Tbsp organic cocoa powder
1 Tbsp dried elderberries
3/4 cup water
3 cups whole milk or almond milk
3 ounces organic semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp raw sugar*
Directions: Simmer 1 Tbsp elderberries in water for 10 minutes. Strain. Put strained liquid back in saucepan and bring to just under boil. Whisk in cocoa powder (I like NuNaturals Organic Dutch Processed) until smooth. Add milk, chocolate chips (I like Equal Exchange 55% cacao semisweet chips) and sugar. Stir frequently until all ingredients are well blended. Serves 3-4 cups. Enjoy!
*Always remember that you can substitute certain ingredients with ones you might prefer. Personally, I love honey, so would swap out sugar for honey. I also prefer rice or hemp milk. Experiment and have fun!