RECIPE: Homemade Elderberry Syrup – great for coughs and colds!


NOTE: This recipe is originally from Wellness Mama

Ever have a cold or the flu and despite taking conventional medicines, you still feel lousy? I’ve got a solution for you! Now, I’m not saying elderberry syrup is a miracle cure or anything, but it will help lessen the severity of your illness. And it’s natural; not chock-full of chemicals.

You’ll want to use black elderberries to make your syrup. A bag of them is not hard to find. Trusty Amazon (who I’m mad at right now, but that’s a story for another day) carries these highly-rated elderberries.

Why use elderberries? explains the benefits:

Known for its antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. explains further:

Elderberries are the fruit from the flowering plant known as Sambucus,more commonly referred to as elder or elderflower. The full scientific name of the most common variant, from which we get the majority of our elderberries, is Sambucus nigra. You will primarily find elderberries in the Northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America, although some southern species are grown in Australia. The berries are black or very dark blue, and have a sharp, sweet flavor.

There’s a ton of information about elderberries at both of those websites, so I won’t repeat it all here. Suffice it to say eldberberries are another thing other cultures have known about and used for centuries.

So why make syrup? Basically, because it gives you a concentrated dose of elderberries, which quickens healing. Also, I should note this recipe for elderberry syrup also contains other immune-boosting natural elements like cinnamon and honey. And yes, you can buy elderberry syrup at most stores nowadays, but this method is way cheaper and pretty easy!


This recipe makes a quart of syrup–probably enough to take care of an entire family through the cold and flu season. It takes only five minutes to whip up, though it needs to cook for an hour. But fear not–you don’t have to stand over it. Let it simmer and get happy-happy while you watch an episode of your favorite show. You deserve a little “me time”, right?

  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!).
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.


Ta Da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.

Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If illness does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

As far as how long it lasts, I would recommend freezing much of it using ice cube trays and then depositing the cubes in a bag, ready for when you need them. If you plan to take it to immune-boost, you’ll want to keep more out. Depending on how you choose to store your syrup it can last anywhere from two weeks to several months in the fridge. I err on the side of caution and don’t keep it more than a month or so.

If you don’t want to use honey–some people aren’t a fan of adding that much sweetener to the recipe, despite the health benefits, you can use maple syrup or agave nectar. Molasses can also be used. Lastly, if you’re an adult, omit the sweetener and make a tincture using equal parts syrup and food-grade alcohol. Vodka and brandy seem to work best. Powdered elderberries can also be used, rather than whole, which is what the recipe calls for. Use a half-cup rather than the 2/3 in the recipe.

Do you use elderberry syrup? Another natural cold and flu treatment? Tell me in the comments!