CLEVELAND — Cleveland based Nicole Lazar has always had an interest in health and wellness, and a few years ago, when she was pregnant with her son, that interest turned into a mission.
She started looking around for elderberry supplements.
“All the supplements I found had high levels of sugar, which is not what you want when you’re trying to boost your immune system and stay healthy,” she said.
So, having a background in holistic health, she took matters, literally, into her own hands.
“I got to work on my stove and 3.5 years later, here we are,” she said.
She made her own elderberry syrup. It had no additives and is mixed with locally made honey.
“I made it for myself, for my family, my parents wanted some, my friends wanted some, my neighbors wanted some and word spread and a lot of people were interested,” she said.
From there, the business took off. Now, the syrup known as “Health Junkie” comes in three flavors: cherry, cinnamon, and ginger. The syrups are on store shelves in Ohio Heinen's and other small markets throughout the area.
Research shows elderberries are high in antioxidants and offer a lot of other health benefits that help boost immune systems, widely known for their flu and cold fighting powers. Researchers claim elderberry shortens the time and severity of sicknesses.
Lazar said her product is not a supplement, just simply a syrup made out of real, healthy ingredients.
“I don’t make any of the health claims, but people really swear by it and elderberry, in general, is really good to have on hand right now with all that research out there in the middle of the ongoing health crisis,” she said.
Normally, cold and flu season is her busy season, but due to COVID-19 her production and demand increased sixfold.
She said the more popular, well known products went off the shelves fast.
“Those disappeared off store shelves very quickly, and at that point, who is going to supply Cleveland? Really, it was Health Junkie that kept elderberry syrup on the store shelves,” she said. “Making sure that people could get what they need.”
If you’d like to get your hands on Health Junkie’s products- click here.