Elderberry Syrup is one of my favorite cold and flu preventatives and also my go-to remedy to soothe a cold or flu that has already arrived. It is fantastic for coughs as well. It is very inexpensive and so easy to make yourself. A quart of it costs about $5 to make at home versus the upwards of $9 per 4 ounces you will pay at a health food store.
Black Elderberries, or Sambucus Nigra, have been used for thousands of years to strengthen the immune system. They are a wonderful source of vitamin C. Elderberry Syrup can be taken daily as a tonic and dosage increased when one is ill.
I use the recipe from Rosemary Gladstar from her book “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health”, but there are many variations to making this syrup. I added comments where needed. This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled!
1 cup Fresh or 1/2 Dried Elderberries(I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
3 cups water
1 cup honey(or sugar) – I only use honey if I am not reducing the syrup into a thick cough syrup. *See below for reason.
1. Place the berries in a saucepan and and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes.
2. Smash the berries. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer(smashing and mashing as you go to get out all the juice) and add 1 cup of honey, or adjust to taste.
3. Bottle the syrup and store in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least 2 to 3 months. If you sterilize your bottles and lids first, your will reduce the chance of mold forming where air hits the inside of the jar and lid.
Caution: Use only blue elderberries; the red ones are potentially toxic if eaten in large quantities. Never eat elderberries that haven’t been cooked first.
Another word of caution – Elderberry stains….everything! Be careful!
*Because I use raw honey, I do not reduce further after adding because it will kill the enzymes in the honey. Reduce prior to adding the honey or use sugar(evaporated cane sugar).
You can also add freshly grated ginger to this recipe for added medicinal benefits.
I usually give my kids, toddler and up about a tablespoon daily during cold and flu season. I take 2 tablespoons daily.
To Your Health,
Sarah is a wife, mom of 4, farm owner, and real food blogger at Real Food Outlaws. She is also an Master Herbalist and owns 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique and Apothecary. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College and is a Clinical/Functional Nutritionist and Advanced Nutrition Response Testing™ Practitioner at Natural Health Improvement Center of South Jersey and Natural Health Improvement Center of Des Moines. You can often find her barefoot in the garden (or kitchen), or rummaging through a refrigerator (not necessarily her own).