simple homemade elderberry syrup

elderberry syrupOh, internet.  You are so full of people claiming to have all these magical recipes for concoctions that will keep you from getting sick.  As the mother of two delightful, grubby, germ-infested little people, I have tried them all.

I ate tablespoons full of chopped raw garlic twice a day for a week. (Husband not pleased.)

I drank apple cider vinegar and honey in warm water 3 times a day for an entire month. (Husband still not pleased.)

I tried getting everyone in my family to take a few drops of oregano oil under their tongue daily all winter. (Husband’s over it and would rather get the flu than put oregano oil in his mouth. Fair enough.)

So when I heard people raving about taking elderberry syrup to fight off colds and the flu, I was thinking it was probably either totally gross or totally ineffective.  But I figured I’d give it a shot, because, what the heck, I’m into doing weird stuff like this.

So I made up a batch, spooned it into my kids and myself for the past few months (If you didn’t get the gist, my husband is totally, “Thanks, but NO THANKS.”) And guess what? Despite being surrounded by all sorts of boogers and coughs and barf-inducing bugs, we have emerged unscathed through the first half of the season, while others are down for the count.  At one point, I started to get a cold, so I upped my dosage and the next day, woke up feeling better.  I’m ready to declare this stuff magical.  Or at least, declare it works for us.  So far.  But frankly, anything that gives us even the slightest edge during cold and flu season is totally worth it, in my book.

You can buy elderberry syrup pre-made, but it’s a bit pricey.  And hey, what’s more fun than doing things the hard way? 😉  But seriously, it’s crazy easy to make with only a few ingredients and half an hour.  So why wouldn’t you make it?elderberry syrup

simple homemade elderberry syrup

My kids will happily swallow a spoonful of this plain- it has a pleasant, sweet taste. I like to stir a tablespoon into a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice- it makes a nice herbal tea.

You can get dried elderberries at health food stores, or lots of places on the internet. I ordered these from Amazon.

I give each of my kids a teaspoon once a day, and I take a tablespoon. If I feel something coming on, I double or triple the dose. Stay healthy, friends!


  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries (or 1 cup fresh)
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • Place water, elderberries, and cinnamon stick (if you're using one) in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and continue to cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat and let cool just a bit.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on the berries to make sure you get all the juices out. Discard the remaining berries. Stir in the honey to the warm elderberry liquid until dissolved. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight jar in the fridge. The syrup will keep for several months in the fridge.

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