Want to build up your immune system? Here’s a simple and effective elderberry syrup recipe for cold and flu!
Guest post by Erin Josefchak
Winter is half over but cold and flu season is most definitely not over (yet)! If your family hasn’t gotten hit with the flu this year, you are blessed! If you have, then you know how horrible it is, especially for our little ones (and big ones!)!
Homemade remedies are better than store bought
Our family has been using this simple elderberry syrup recipe for ages now. We hardly get sick anymore. True story.
When we do get sick, it lasts two to three days max versus the usual week.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was a clinical study out there that concluded what elderberry syrup users already knew. It’s good for you! And, in a more recent study, researchers concluded that elderberries were comparable to common antiviral medications (like Tamiflu) used to treat flu symptoms.
Not only is it easy and inexpensive to make but my kids LOVE the taste. AND, I can control 100% of what goes into my syrup. No dyes, no preservatives, no chemicals.
And…did I mention that it’s cheaper to make yourself? You can easily go broke buying the store bought stuff! Check out the prices online for elderberry syrup and you will see exactly what I mean.
More about elderberries
So what are elderberries, anyway?
Elderberry, or elder, has been used for centuries to treat influenza, colds, and sinusitis. Dating back to the fifth century BC, the writings of Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Pliny describe the use of medicines derived from the elder tree!
Elder is a large bush or shrub that is native to the U.S. and Europe. The berries are ripe enough to harvest between August and September, depending on the variety and your location.
If you are lucky enough to have an elder shrub in your backyard (or nearby), each shrub can yield 12-15 pounds of fruit! If not, they often grow wild along the roadside or pedestrian paths, forest edges, and abandoned fields.
You may also be interested to know that some berry farms grow elderberries as well. Call your local farms to find out.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup
Take this syrup at the onset of cold or flu symptoms or take as an immunity booster all winter long!
Makes approximately 2.5 cups
- 1/2 cup of dried elderberries *
- 3 cups of distilled or filtered water
- 1 cup of honey**
- ¼ cup of dried rosehips (optional but a great addition for a vitamin C boost)
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- ¼ tsp. grated ginger (optional)
- 2-3 whole cloves (optional)
1. Place berries and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
2. Next, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or mesh strainer while mashing the berries to release remaining juice.
3. When syrup is room temperature, add honey and stir until well combined.
4. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
*you can also use 1 cup fresh elderberries. You can get organic dried elderberries at The Bulk Herb Store.
**honey is not recommended for children less than 2 years of age, however, you can easily replace the honey with agave syrup to make this recipe infant and toddler friendly. Local non-pasteurized honey is best and, if it is in your budget, raw Manuka honey is even better!
- Children: ½ tbsp. a day
- Adults: 1 tbsp. a day
At the onset of symptoms:
- Children: ½ tbsp., 4 times daily
- Adults: 1 tbsp., 4 times daily
Must be refrigerated. Keeps for 3 months. Can be frozen.
This is a great little remedy for soothing a bad cough and clearing out the sinuses!
It’s great for pregnant mamas since brand-name decongestants are not recommended for those who are pregnant or nursing. In addition, brand-name decongestants contain aspartame, dyes, and added sugar! Yikes!
Tea for Colds
Makes 1 tea
- 1 tsp honey*
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Dash of cinnamon (boosts immune system)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (to clear sinuses)
- Crushed garlic clove (anti-viral)
- Pinch of grated ginger (cough suppressor & anti-nausea)
- 1-2 fresh mint leaves, bruised (calms upset stomach & anti-nausea)
Add the above ingredients to a cup of boiling water. Enjoy!
* Local non-pasteurized honey is best and, if it is in your budget, raw Manuka honey is even better!
Want more natural remedies for cold and flu season? Check out these posts!
What are your natural remedies for cold and flu?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nurse, or licensed healthcare practitioner. Information obtained from this website is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by any health agency (FDA or Health Canada). Products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your physician before making any health decisions for you and your family. Thank you!
Erin Josefchak is a wife to Marc, mommy to Tyler & Sierra, saved by Jesus Christ, amateur writer, and aspiring herbalist living in rural Quebec, Canada. She is committed to leading a faith-filled, frugal, and chemical-free life.
Erin’s passion is discovering the healing powers of God’s amazing creations – plants! She wants to bring glory to God and bless others with her knowledge of plants to increase their faith, improve their quality of life, and help them heal naturally with plants and prayer. She loves reading the Word, doing research, coffee, writing, baking, and making memories with her family!