In an attempt to improve their immune system, many people have been turning raw honey and elderberry syrup because of their medicinal values.

Even before the pandemic hit, many people were strong believers in natural remedies to improve the immune system, especially organic elderberry syrup and raw honey.

Dr. Elliot Cazes, an obstetrician and gynecology specialist in Tampa, recommends natural remedies to his patients.

“It has been shown by way of scientific studies that there are many ‘natural’ compounds that do boost immunity, fight inflammation and provide antioxidant activity,” Cazes said. “Among those are elderberry, rhubarb, Echinacea and naturally occurring vitamin C. I recommend these to my patients on a regular basis.”

Raw honey has a long medicinal history. Ancient Egyptians not only used honey as offerings to their gods, they also used it as an embalming fluid and a dressing for wounds.

Raw honey is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has the ability to slow down the growth of foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. It also fights certain bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

“We saw a jump in honey sales in early March,” said Marc Andersen of Andersen’s Apiary in Riverview. “Over the last three years we have been tracking a trend toward homeopathic produces like elderberry syrup, Echinacea tea and moringa. A spoonful of local honey each day is a great way to boost your immune system. The phytonutrients in raw honey have antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help to boost your immune system and fight sickness.”

The elderberry’s history dates as far back as 400 B.C. Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Medicine,’ called the elder tree his “medicine chest.” Elderberry is widely considered one of the world’s best healing plants.

The berries and flowers of elderberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost your immune system. They can help tame inflammation, lessen stress and help protect your heart too. Some experts recommend elderberries to help prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms.

“I started making elderberry syrup when my oldest began kindergarten,” said Melody Gershkoff, owner of FishHawk Elderberry and Oils. “I’ve always had a strong immune system, but my poor husband used to catch everything. Colds, flu, you name it. He has yet to get sick. My daughters have not had the flu. If they happen to catch a cold, it lasts a few days and with few symptoms. Because I use local honey in my syrup, I’ve also seen a decrease in our allergies.”

“Currently it is not known if taking natural remedies will protect one’s self from COVID-19, but taking these remedies will boost your immune system, so it could help, but there is no scientific data to support this,” said Dr. Cazes.

To learn more about Andersen’s Apiary, visit or contact Andersen at 575-0282. To learn more about FishHawk Elderberry and Oils, visit

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.