Naturally support your immune system and fight off tough cold and flu viruses with this homemade elderberry syrup recipe with honey. It’s easy to learn how to make elderberry syrup with just three simple ingredients. This natural cold and flu remedy provides an immune boost that reduces the duration of your illness and helps with relief of symptoms. Even better, it’s a safe and effective solution for the whole family.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup
Homemade elderberry syrup is a common remedy used during flu season. While not a cure, it is often used to assist with relief of symptoms caused by cold and flu. It does this by boosting your body’s natural immunity to help fight off illness. Studies have shown that elderberry can shorten the duration of symptoms when taken within the first 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.
This immunity cold and flu elixir is made from dried elderberries and honey as an herbal, plant based medicine. It is also sold other the counter as a natural remedy. In addition to elderberry syrup, dried elderberries can also be use to make an elderberry tincture with brandy, vodka, or bourbon. Both of these solutions are effective at reducing the duration of influenza. However, tinctures — which are naturally preserved with alcohol — have a much longer shelf life than elderberry syrup with honey.
My homemade elderberry syrup recipe with honey is a simple and tasty way to ingest the nutrients offered by elderberries. It’s believed that taken daily, elderberry syrup can support your immunity to help prevent colds and flu, as well as aid in the recovery of an existing illness such as the flu and colds. This liquid remedy is pleasing to taste. It’s also able to both shorten the duration an illness as well as reduce excessive mucus and soothe sore throat pain.
What Are Elderberries?
The elderberries used to make home remedies that fight colds and flu are produced by elder plant or tree known as Sambucus nigra. The berries from this plant have an extensive history of use as a plant based medicine. Its recorded use dates back to 400 BC. Hippocrates, who is known as the “Father of Medicine,” called the elder tree his “medicine chest.” Since then elderberries, along with this plant’s flowers, are used as a common folk solution to promote health and wellness.
Both the fruit from the elder tree as well as the flowers provide health benefits. Aside from the immune boost they provide the body to fight cold and flu viruses, they also contain a number of beneficial antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that assist with symptom relief of other common health concerns.
Health Benefits of Elderberries
Black elderberries have been used for hundreds of years for their medicinal value in treating colds and the flu. They are also use for symptom relief of allergies as well as to boost overall respiratory health. Found along rivers, forests and even roadsides, this common botanical yields ripe berries that are rich in antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Studies have shown, that consuming elderberry syrup can greatly reduce the duration of colds and flu. Therefore making it an effective, and tasty, natural home remedy.
Following are the health benefits you’ll enjoy when consuming products made with elderberries.
- Homemade elderberry syrup, and other elderberry products such as elderberry tincture and elderberry tea, naturally boost immunity to support wellness.
- Studies indicate that the composition of this berry is able to fight and protect against both viral and bacterial infections.
- The consumption of elderberries is able to shorten the duration of colds and influenza. However, berries should be cooked or dried prior to use as raw elderberries may cause vomiting.
- Elderberries help with infections that affect your ability to breath, including sinus infections.
- When used a supplement, elderberries can help with symptom relief of allergies.
- This berry is a natural diuretic and helps with bowel movements when you are constipated.
- Its anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, combined with the naturally occurring antioxidants promote overall health and wellness.
- The antioxidants and vitamin A present in the berries of the Sambucus nigra plant support healthy skin.
- There is some evidence that the antioxidants found in this plant can reduce inflammation.
- In addition to the other health benefits of elderberries, they are also used as a home remedy for headaches and fever, stress and minor skin conditions.
Where to Buy Elderberries
This elderberry syrup recipe is made using dried elderberries. Therefore, if you don’t live in an area where you can safely forage elderberries, or local purchase options are limited, you can simply buy all the ingredients you need to make elderberry syrup online.
You can source the dried elderberries needed to make elderberry syrup with honey on Amazon here, with Prime shipping if you’re in a time crunch. You can also buy organic dried elderberries online from Mountain Rose Herbs. While shipping may take a bit longer — they are located in Washington state — it’s well worth the wait.
In addition the dried elderberries used to make this wellness elixir, you may also want to pick up some spices at your local grocer. Adding cinnamon sticks, organic cloves and organic ginger root to this elderberry syrup adds extra flavor so it tastes even better. These spices can also offer additional immune support as with the case of my cold and flu wellness elixir. Simply add these additional ingredients to the bag of elderberries before you begin.
Don’t have time to make your own? You can also buy Elderberry Syrup either locally or online if you’re in a pinch and need a cold and flu remedy right away.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe with Honey
Are you ready to learn how to make organic elderberry syrup with honey for your family? Following you’ll discover all the ingredients, tools and supplies you need to make this wellness elixir. This plant based syrup is such a wonderful way to naturally support immune health and promote wellness.
Ingredients Used to Make Elderberry Syrup:
These are the ingredients needed to make this cold and flu wellness elixir:
- 1 1/2 oz. organic dried elderberries
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 cup raw honey
Tools and Supplies:
In addition the recipe ingredients, you’ll also need some tools and supplies to get started. These include the following:
- amber or cobalt blue glass bottles with droppers
- digital kitchen scale
- large pyrex measuring cup
- large cotton muslin bag
- small funnel
- small sauce pan
- labels to mark the contents and the date the syrup was produced
How to Make Elderberry Syrup with Honey
Are you ready to use your own elderberries to make this natural, plant based elixir? Be sure to start with dried berries. Then follow these directions to make naturally sweetened elderberry syrup with honey:
1. Start by weighing out the dried elderberries called for in the recipe. Then them place inside a large cotton muslin bag. Secure the bag closed. (A muslin bag is optional. If you don’t have one, simply add the berries directly to the pan.)
2. Pour the filtered tap water into a small saucepan on the stove, turn the heat to medium-high. Add the bag of elderberries to the pot. Bring the water to a boil.
3. Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat down to a simmer. Then simmer the berries for twenty minutes at minimum or until the water is reduced to half. (Alternately, you can reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.)
4. Now remove the elderberries from the water. Firmly press firmly the bag to squeeze out all of the remaining elderberry juice from the berries. (If you did not use a mesh bag, a fine mesh strainer can be used to strain the berries from the water.)
5. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then mix the water with the raw honey — I bought local clover honey from my Farmer’s Market — in the glass pyrex measuring cup. Stir to combine thoroughly. (Keep in mind raw honey is not recommended to children under two years of age.)
6. Finally, using a funnel, slowly fill your amber glass bottles with elderberry syrup. Don’t fill them too full or the syrup will spill out of the edges when you place the lids with the droppers on them. (Alternately, you can also use a sterilized mason jar.) Label as desired.
You can store your elderberry syrup with honey in the fridge for 2-3 months. After that, it should be tossed and a fresh batch should be prepared. If you need an elderberry product with a longer shelf life, then I recommend that you learn how to make elderberry tincture.
Elderberry Syrup Dosage
You can use elderberry syrup as a preventative to protect against the cold or flu as well as to alleviate symptoms. Take one Tablespoon of this wellness elixir daily to help prevent illness. If you have an existing cold or flu, take one teaspoon every 2-3 hours while ill or experiencing symptoms.
You don’t have to dose this wellness elixir like medicine, however! Feel free to pour this tasty berry syrup onto waffles and pancakes. Or use them as a topping for ice cream!
How Do You Store Homemade Elderberry Syrup?
Homemade elderberry syrup is best stored in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or cabinet. Amber dropper bottles work best for storing this liquid remedy as they help block out light and preserve their potency. They also make it easy to take a dose as needed. However, you can also store this product in a mason jar, if desired.
Refrigeration is required for this plant remedy. When stored in the refrigerator, your homemade elderberry syrup will have a shelf life of 2 to 3 months.
- 1 1/2 oz. organic dried elderberries
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 cup raw honey
Weigh out the dried elderberries, then place inside a large cotton muslin bag.
Pour filtered tap water into a small saucepan on the stove. Turn the heat on high and add the bag of elderberries. Bring the water to a boil.
Reduce heat to low or medium-low to bring to a simmer. Then allow to simmer for 20 minutes at minimum or until the water is reduced to half.
Remove the elderberries from the water and press firmly to squeeze out all of the remaining juice from the berries. If you did not use a mesh bag, use a fine mesh strainer to remove the berries from the water.
Once the mixture has cooled to a lukewarm temperature, combine the water with the raw honey in the glass Pyrex measuring cup. Stir to mix thoroughly.
Use a funnel to slowly fill your amber glass bottles with elderberry syrup and screw on the droppers.
Label the homemade elderberry syrup with the contents and the date it was produced.
Raw honey should not be used for children under 2.
If desired, you can use a mason jar to store this cold and flu elixir.
Store the syrup in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months.
If you'd like, you can add spices to the mixture to improve the flavor and add additional health benefits. To do this, add one Tablespoon fresh grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves when you add the dried elderberries to the saucepan.
To use, take one Tablespoon of this wellness elixir daily to help prevent illness. If you have an existing cold or flu, take one teaspoon every 2-3 hours to shorten the duration of symptoms and provide relief.
Serving Size:1 teaspoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 11Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g
This folk remedy has many variations to the recipe. If you’d like, you can add spices to the mixture to improve the flavor and add additional health benefits. If desired, add one Tablespoon fresh grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves when you add the elderberries to the saucepan.
Precautions and Safety
It is not recommended that you use elderberry syrup with honey for longer than 12 weeks. This is due to lack of reliable data on outcomes of long term use. Further, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume elderberry. If you have an autoimmune disease you also should not take elderberry without first consulting a physician, as it can stimulate your immune response and exacerbate the condition.
This homemade elderberry syrup recipe is made using dried berries as the raw or ripe berries can be toxic. The seeds of raw elderberries contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside which can result of the buildup of cyanide in the body. In addition the raw berries may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Therefore, berries should be dried or cooked before use for safety.
Elderberry Tincture vs Syrup
What is the difference between an elderberry syrup and a tincture? Both elderberry syrup and tinctures are made with elderberry. However elderberry tincture vs syrup yield a number of differences, primarily in the process of how they are made as well as the length of the shelf life.
The main difference between an elderberry tincture and elderberry syrup is the alcohol. A tincture is basically an herb or combination of herbs with medicinal properties that have been infused in alcohol. After infusing the chosen herbs for four to six weeks, the herbal material is then strained from the alcohol. The resulting tincture then retains the medicinal properties of the herbs used. In this case, an elderberry tincture is alcohol that has been infused with elderberries.
Elderberry syrup, on the other hand, does not contain alcohol. Typically, an elderberry syrup is made with water, elderberries and honey (or sugar.) Although sometimes additional ingredients such as cinnamon sticks, ginger, lemon, clove and garlic are also added. Rather than infusing the elderberries in alcohol over a long period of time as with the tincture, elderberry syrup can be made in the same day. You simply simmer the elderberries in hot water for twenty minutes. Then remove the elderberries and add honey to taste.
Unlike an elderberry tincture, which is shelf stable, elderberry syrup should be refrigerated after it is made, and used within 2 to 3 months. An elderberry tincture, on the other hand, will last up to 5 years.
While neither of these products are by no means a cure, there is clinical evidence based off multiple studies that show that elderberry is effective at reducing the duration of both cold and flu symptoms.
Ways to Use Elderberries
Elderberry syrup is perhaps the most popular way to use elderberries. Touted as a natural cold and flu remedy, this homemade liquid syrup is both tasty and easy to make. However, it is also used to make tinctures, teas, elderberry extract, and capsules that are ingested as supplements.
Learn More About Herbs and Botanicals
Want to teach your children about the benefits of natural herbs and botanicals? Check out the book, A Kids Herb Book, by Lesley Tierra! It’s packed with beautiful illustrations, charming herb facts, coloring pages, herb checklists, funny stories, herbal bedtime stories, a “how to make” section, herbal mythology written for kids, as well as a plethora of engaging herbal information for the young ones.
More Natural Ways to Support Immune Health
If you liked learning how to make elderberry syrup for cold and flu relief, then you may also enjoy my fire cider vinegar recipe. Fire cider vinegar is a traditional, warming apple cider vinegar tonic. It acts as a holistic decongestant while also supporting immune health. Get the recipe here.
Alternately, you may also want to try one of these other natural ways to achieve relief from colds and flu.
- Homemade Cold Remedy Drink for Symptom Relief
- Breathe Easy Essential Oil Blend and Homemade Vapor Rub
- How to Make Custom Herbal Tea Blends for Colds and Flu
- Elderberry Tincture Recipe for Immune Support
- DIY Shower Steamers with Menthol Crystals
- Sickness Support Bath Soak Recipe with Essential Oils
- Golden Milk Recipe and Benefits for a Natural Immune Boost
- Fire Cider Vinegar Recipe for Symptom Relief of Colds, Flu and Allergies
If you enjoyed my instructions on how to make your own elderberry syrup with honey, then be sure to check out my other health and wellness posts. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.