Elderberry Syrup

Cold and flu season has arrived and one way to fortify your immune system is elderberry syrup. Elderberry (sambucus nigra) is one of the oldest remedies known to man. And the great thing is that it works. You can find numerous research studies on the effectiveness of elderberry in treating colds and flu. Let’s hear it for old wives. They knew what they were talking about.

Making elderberry syrup is very easy. I order dried elderberries online because I’m not a knowledgeable forager, and better safe than sorry. 

Here is my recipe for making elderberry syrup.

  • 2/3 cup dried black elderberries
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons dried or fresh ginger root
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cloves (2-3 whole)
  • 1 cup raw honey

In a saucepan, combine water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half (about 45 minutes). I like to use the crockpot. When the liquid has reduced, allow it to cool to lukewarm. Carefully mash the berries and pour the liquid into a glass container, then discard the berries. They have done their work.

Add the raw honey (you could also use sugar, or maple syrup) and stir to dissolve. Store in the refrigerator.

The standard dose is 1/2 teaspoon for children, or 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon for adults daily. If you do get sick, take the the standard dose 2-3 times daily. Elderberry syrup can shorten the duration of your illness by up to four days or more, and is useful in reducing mucus, cough, sore throat and more.

As with any medication, don’t exceed the recommended dosage especially with children. However, it does taste a lot better than cough medicine, and it’s great on pancakes.