Elderberry syrup is probably one of the most well known remedies for colds and flu. For as long as we know, it has been used to boost our immune systems when colds and flu rear their ugly heads. Gaia Herbs notes “The [elderberry] plant has been used since the fifth century AD, and it was valued by both Native American and European herbalists throughout history.”
Elderberries are so widely used that even news outlets have reported on their benefits, including CBS:
“One small study found an elderberry extract called Sambucol could shorten the duration of flu symptoms after a person gets sick by about 3 days. That would be similar to prescription antiviral medications like Tamiflu or Relenza, which have been proven effective in much larger studies and approved by the FDA to shorten the duration of the flu.”
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that “Elder[berries] may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties” and that “elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, including the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion.”
Thankfully, elderberry syrup is easy to make and all the ingredients can be found at your local health food store (or endless sources online). Our recipe for elderberry syrup also includes additional warming and antiseptic herbs and adaptogens to give our immune systems an extra kick and a little warming comfort.
Ingredients (organic is preferred when available):
- 1 cup (100g) Elderberries
- 1 Cinnamon stick (4g)
- 1 tablespoon (6g) dried ginger
- 5 whole cloves (1g)
- ⅓ cup (25g) Rose Hips
- 5 cups (40oz) of water
- 1 cup (350g) of raw honey
- Stovetop or hotplate
- Measuring cups/spoons and/or a digital scale
- Medium saucepan
- Funnel and cheesecloth or other straining method
- Jar with sealing lid
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
- Once boiling, add all dried ingredients and reduce to simmer.
- Simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Over the hour the liquid should reduce by about a third.
- Carefully strain the mixture into a jar. The saucepan and contents will be hot; take proper precautions to avoid spills and burns.
- Add honey to the mixture in the jar and stir to combine. The residual heat from the syrup should be enough to melt the honey.
- Let cool uncovered 5-10 minutes.
- Seal jar, label with contents and date, and store in refrigerator.
- Finished yield will be about 3 cups (800g) of elderberry syrup. Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
You just might find you enjoy the taste of this much more than you would expect. The honey provides a nice sweetness along with the fruity elderberries and warming herbs.
DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease/medical condition or replace your health care professional.
- Bove, Mary. “Black Elderberry 101 — Everything You Need to Know.” Gaia Herbs, 31 Jan. 2017, http://www.gaiaherbs.com/blog/2017/01/31/black-elderberry-101/.
- “Can elderberry help treat colds and flu?” CBS News, 9 Feb. 2015, 12:40pm, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/can-elderberry-help-treat-colds-and-flu/.
- “ Elderberry.” University of Maryland Medical Center, 2 Feb. 2016, http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/elderberry.