Homemade Elderberry Syrup for Colds and Flu

We’ve been building our arsenal of natural remedies to combat the flu as it continues run to rampant across the country.  Besides taking Vitamin D3 to help boost our immune systems during the Winter, we’ve been thrilled with the healthy boost that our elderberry syrup has offered us and our kids.

Here is Joanie’s simple recipe.  Trust me, it’ll be worth the time and effort to fend off those germs!

Ingredients

2/3 cup dried organic black elderberries (buy here)
3 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons of fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon of clove powder
1 cup of raw, local honey (buy it here)

Directions

  1. Add first 5 ingredients (everything except honey) to a medium size saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat
  3. Let simmer for 3- 4 hours to reduce by nearly half, stirring occasionally
  4. Remove from heat and strain liquid to remove elderberries and ginger, discard or compost
  5. Once completely cooled, add honey and mix well
  6. Store in airtight container and keep refrigerated (the syrup lasts about a month when refrigerated)

Dosage

The standard dosage is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for kids daily and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon for adults daily for prevention of cold and flu during the toughest part of the season.  If the flu strikes, take the normal dosage every 2 to 3 hours until symptoms disappear.

Believe me, the kids won’t fight you on this one because it’s delicious!  And you won’t have to worry about risky food dyes either.

What’s in your natural arsenal?

P.S.  Fighting a cough that just won’t go away?  You’ve got to try EcoKaren’s Asian Pear and Honey Cough remedy!

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  • Jenbstamps

    Where do you buy the elderberries?  I can’t find them locally.

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Hi Jen,

      We found them through Amazon because we don’t have them locally right now either: http://amzn.to/10uXKUv

      Joanie

  • Pingback: How to Prevent Flu and Colds Naturally — ecokaren

  • Desiree Fleck

    I have made a syrup just like this in the past and it works like a charm!! Even for my mom who had bronchitis for a week, when she took this she felt at least 90% better OVERNIGHT! It’s totally awesome! I have bought my elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs in the past. I’ll need to buy some more since I also use it in many teas… but I’m hoping to have a big crop of elderberries later this year!! I planted some native elderberry bushes last year and I’m crossing my fingers and toes! :)

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      So glad you’ve found it as helpful as we did, Desiree. And good luck with your elderberry bushes. We’re hoping to have them in our gardens as soon as possible too!

  • Bce

    I bought already made syrup from my health food store for my son recently. I gave him the syrup late morning and the fever was gone in the night with no symptoms remaining (he had said his stomach hurt and he was sneezing). I would like to take it too, but the bottle says not to if you’re breastfeeding. It seems I should be able to take this since in is just berries. I’ll have to research it further.

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      It really works well, doesn’t it? And you’re right, ingredient research is definitely the way to go to answer your questions about the syrup and breastfeeding. We’d love to know what you discover!

    • Woody Oakley

      Elderberries can be cathartic, which is why they are not recommended for babies and nursing mothers.

      • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

        Hi Woody,

        I did a little research on your point above and here’s what I found: “The American Botanical Council reports in ‘The ABC Clinical Guide to Elder Berry’ that use of elderberry by pregnant women is not suggested solely on the basis of lack of research information. This publication says there is no data suggesting elderberry preparations, including elderberry juice, might have adverse effects during pregnancy or lactation. Thus, elderberry may in fact be safe during pregnancy.
        Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/488998-is-elderberry-juice-safe-during-pregnancy/#ixzz2VBNhw4A3

        Hope that helps,

        Joanie

  • Stephanie Moram

    I can;t wait until elderberry season. I am going to buy so many!

  • mkeemouse

    Can you use fresh Elderberries?? and do you think you could can this??

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Yes, fresh would work well. Just reduce water and simmer time (approx. 30 minutes). Something to consider regarding canning, Elderberry syrup’s health benefits can deteriorate over time. More research may be needed to determine whether this is a good idea.

      Joanie

      • MeanGranny

        I used to can several quarts of elderberry juice in a hot water bath. When someone got a cold, I’d open one, and we’d drink it. It was still very effective several months later!

      • Sherry

        I would not can this, you would lose most of the health benefits! A huge part of the healthful properties in honey comes from its enzymatic components, when you heat honey on high (or pasteurize it), you’re killing almost all of those things.

  • lovetoknow

    will this work with huckleberries as well?

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      I am not aware of huckleberries having the same amazing health benefits as elderberries. Although, I am sure huckleberries would make some wonderful jam.

      Joanie

  • Pingback: Simple Tips on How to Make Homemade Elderberry Syrup for Colds and Flu - Amazing Herbs and Oils

  • Bonny

    can this be frozen without loss of effectiveness?

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Yes

  • Laurie

    I have fresh elderberries every year and would love to make this. I see you said they could be used…about how much water do you think I would need and do you think I would need the same measurement of berries?

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      I would use half as much water- 1 3/4 cups~ Joanie

  • ana

    Thanks so much for this post! I am wondering if this is safe to take daily while pregnant or nursing? Also is it safe for younger kids (toddlers)? Some articles online suggest otherwise (which surprised me). Thanks again!

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Hi Ana,

      Congratulations on your pregnancy! I believe the online articles are talking about the fact the RAW elderberry leaves, berries, seeds and roots contain cyanide-producing compounds. They should not be consumed without cooking properly. -Joanie

    • Carol Halgrimson

      I remember hearing that HONEY is NOT to be given to children under 1 or 2 years of age. You may want to check on that to be on the safe side. Anyone else know anything about this?

      • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

        You’re right Carol, most physicians recommend against giving honey to kids under one year. ~Alicia

  • Cindy

    When you simmer, do you put a lid on the saucepan?

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Nope, leave the lid off. The simmer is to cook the elderberries but also reduce to concentrate the liquid- Joanie

  • Debbie

    Making some syrup now and since I’ve never smelled a boiling syrup in the process, does it have an unpleasant smell? My husband says it smells like feet!

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Hmmm. It should smell very nice, even lingering long after it’s finished. Wonder if your berries have turned- Joanie

      • Debbie

        They don’t seem to smell as bad/strong now and they have been simmering for an hour. I’m following your recipe and this is the first time I’ve made, smelled, or worked with Elderberries. How would I know if they have turned? I’d hate to use the syrup not knowing what to smell or look for. Thank you.

        • Debbie

          Another thing, I have dried berries and they smell like berries while in the bag…nothing off and gross…to me they almost smell like licorice, but I also have a cold right now. When scooping out of the bag, am I supposed to sift through the berries and look for stems or woody pieces and discard them? I didn’t on my first bottle. Thank you for your help.

          • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

            I’ve never needed to sift through my berries. And since you’re straining the final product wouldn’t stress out over this.

  • mary

    You say this freezes well? How do you store it, and how long does it last?

  • annie

    I’m brewing some up right now for my 2.5 yr old son who’s had a cough for ages. It smellsa amaamazing! Very heady. But I’ve found that it’s reducing too much too quickly even on the very lowest heat. Ive had to add more water before it disappears.! Im not sure why..? Oh I’ve also added some Mullein at the end of the brewing, which couldn’t have been more than 2.5 hours, it just evaporated too quickly. . But I can’t wait to try it out!

    • http://thesoftlanding.com/ The Soft Landing Sisters

      Hi Annie,

      Using a gas burner can cause the syrup to cook too fast and at a higher heat. To remedy this, I’ve found sliding the pan slightly off to the side so only part of the flame is heating can slow the process down to a simmer. Be sure to rotate the pan every so often so all sides are being heated. It is every important to simmer the elderberries for the full amount of time.- Joanie

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