How to Make Elderberry Syrup – Cold & Flu Remedy

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Homemade Elderberry Syrup contains potent immune-boosting compounds that have been shown to help shorten the length of time you’re sick with a cold or the flu, and to reduce the severity of symptoms. This easy Elderberry Syrup recipe is a natural remedy to help fight the common cold, flu, and seasonal allergies. Follow this easy elderberry syrup recipe to help keep your family healthy this year. 
Ingredients you will need: dried elderberries, water, raw apple cider vinegar, and honey.Natural Remedy for Allergies, Flu, asthma, and more

Growing up I had terrible allergies and asthma, which always lead to me getting sick. I was constantly sick as a child. About once a month, I would have a horrible seasonal allergy issue, which would inevitably lead to a sinus infection, and then I would be given antibiotics.

When I first wrote this article nearly 5 years ago, I had just been to the allergist to find out what I was allergic to, and they told me if there was a prize for being the most allergic, I would win. Sad, right? I’m pretty sure that’s a trophy no one wants.

Constant allergies and illness have burdened my life for a long time. Thankfully, with diet changes and a switch to a more natural lifestyle, I rarely get sick now, and when it does happen, it doesn’t last long.

When my family starts getting sick, we instantly make some of this elderberry syrup and start taking it. My family recently came down with a bug from traveling to visit my parents, of course, I got hit the hardest.

My mom got sick right about the same time. I think we all just shared our germs together… true family love. We started our elderberry syrup; she did not. She was sick for about two weeks, while we were sick for about 3-4 days.

You know what else? My mom even told me that every time she gets sick, it lasts about 2 weeks, and she couldn’t believe how fast my family got over our illness.

Thankfully, there are natural remedies that we keep on hand when we start to get sick. Elderberry is a major one.

Benefits of Elderberries

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Elderberries Can Reduce Cold and Flu Duration

Elderberries have been shown to reduce cold and flu days when taken at the first sign of symptoms, within the first 48 hours of onset. This study treated patients suffering from the flu: one group got elderberry syrup and another group got a placebo.

The symptoms of the patients taking the elderberry syrup were relieved, on average, four days sooner than pf those taking a placebo. And, they were less likely to need rescue medication (Source).  

In another study, travelers took elderberry syrup (or a placebo) 10 days before traveling, and stopped taking it 5 days after they came back. Those taking elderberry syrup had a statistically significant lower duration of a cold, and had less severe symptoms (source).

These little berries are full of nutrients, like vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, and potassium, that can help boost the immune system, and help prevent the cold and flu when taken regularly. 

Elderberries can also help treat asthma and allergies, and decrease inflammation. This recipe in particular includes raw local honey and apple cider vinegar, which can help reduce the severity of seasonal allergies.

elderberry syrup for flu and allergy relief

Benefits Of Elderberry Syrup:

Elderberry syrup contains a concentrated form of elderberries, making it a more potent form. This tasty recipe also contains local raw honey, which has been shown to help boost the immune system and relieve seasonal allergies.

Honey is not recommended for children under the age of one. Always talk to a medical professional before giving any medicines to children or babies. 

Substitutions For Elderberry Syrup

  • Since this recipe contains honey and it is not recommended for babies, you could substitute it with maple syrup, or just leave it out.
  • Apple cider vinegar is a strong flavor that many kids may not enjoy. You can also leave this out. 
  • Sometimes I just use water and elderberries and leave out the other ingredients, making a more concentrated elderberry juice instead of syrup. It still has awesome immune-boosting properties.

Where Can You Find Dried Elderberries?

You can buy them online on Amazon (here), or Mountain Rose Herbs. If you’d rather buy local (awesome!), you can also find them in natural grocery stores. Many stores also carry pre-made elderberry syrup, but you will probably pay a pretty penny for it. 

Can You Use Fresh Elderberries Instead Of Dried Elderberries?

Yes, but before you do, I would talk to a professional, as parts of the elderberry plant are dangerous (i.e. the stem, leaves, and green berries). Elderberries also should NOT be consumed raw. I prefer to stick to dry elderberries.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe Video Tutorial

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Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Always talk to your doctor before taking any medications, including elderberry. I’m not a doctor, just a mom who likes to research natural remedies. 

A Bottle of Elderberry Syrup with dried elderberries around

Elderberry Syrup

Homemade Elderberry Syrup is a natural remedy for cold, flu, seasonal allergies, and asthma. Elderberry syrup contains potent immune-boosting compounds that have been shown to help shorten cold and flu days and the severity of symptoms . Follow this easy elderberry syrup recipe below to keep your family healthy this year. 
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Author: Amy


  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup local or raw honey I chose local to get the allergy relief benefits
  • 2/3 cup Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar


  • Fill a pot with water and dried elderberries. Bring to a boil and let boil for 30 minutes. Take off heat and mash elderberries up well (I used a potato masher). Strain out the liquid into a separate bowl using cheese cloth, a coffee filter, or something similar. Once strained, add honey to the elderberry liquid and stir well. Then, add apple cider vinegar. Place in a jar and put in the fridge for up 2 months or in the freezer up to 6 months.


To use:
Adults: 1 Tbs a day. During an illness you can take this every few hours. Children: 1/2- 1 tsp a day. You can take this straight or mix it with some water. If you're using this as a flu/cold medicine, you can take the same dose, but every hour instead of just once a day.
Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @ablossominglife or tag #ablossominglife!

To use for allergies or cold/flu preventative:

  • Adults: 1 Tbs a day. During an illness you can take this every few hours.
  • Children: 1 tsp a day.
  • Babies: Do not give this to babies since it contains honey. Babies under one year are not advised to have honey.
  • You can take this syrup straight or mix it with some water.

* If you’re using this during flu/cold, you can take the same dose, but every 2-3 hours instead of just once a day.

Cost-Effective Cold & Flu Remedy

This did not cost me very much to make. It was maybe $7 dollars for a large batch, and it makes me feel better that I am not ingesting a bunch of chemicals. I know exactly what is in it! Do you use other herbal treatments you take when you are sick?Homemade elderberry syrup to relieve allergies and flu

Have you used elderberry syrup before?

This post was updated November 2019


  1. Sooooooo glad I found this!! I, too, seem to be allergic to everything (I live in FL… everyone here has allergies!) and acquired adult-onset asthma last year. I almost never get the flu (last time was 2003, and the time before that was 1991) and I almost never get a cold either (but just got one this week for the first time in next to forever). Looking forward to trying this out to see what kind of relief I get. I know cutting out all grain, all dairy and everything that is processed has helped immensely… I’ll jump on anything that gives my body a hand up!! Thanks for the info!!!

  2. Hi, Amy,

    Yes, I suffer from allergies and love to hike in the mountains. A Netti pot keeps me functional, but doesn’t really cure the problem so I inevitably I end popping a Claritin to get thru the day.

    I am going to try this remedy, but is that a typo in the directions? Do I really have to keep it in the fridge for 6 months before using it? Or are you saying it lasts for up to 6 months in the fridge?

  3. I have elderberry syrup & it’s basically this recipe minus the acv. Wonder if I just add the acv to some of the elderberry syrup if it’ll work the same?

  4. I like this but I have a freezer full of Elderberries. (my husband loves elderberry pie) I am wondering if I did this but mashed my elderberries then strained and added the water to equal what you have in the recipe.

    1. Use 1 cup “fresh” elderberries and follow the directions as she states above. You can also throw in a cinnamon stick, some cloves and a piece of ginger for added benefits i you like. I actually let my syrup simmer for about an hour then let cool before I mash and strain, but either way is fine.

  5. We use an Elderberry tincture and syrup during cold and flu season for a boost to our immune systems, great stuff!

    Thanks for a wonderful blog post and recipe. I so agree about the local honey for allergies, it helps. I feel very fortunate to live across the street from our local bee farm.

  6. I think that if you keep it sanitized and cleaned regularly it should be fine. Personally, I’ve found that when I use it for my kids, it really cuts down on their coughing at night, but if you don’t notice much of a difference and the maintenance is too much of a pain, you could skip it. I’ve just found it to me really effective and haven’t had to deal with mold, so it works for me! ED help

  7. Thanks for the info Amy! My youngest is only one but I am already afraid he is going to have asthma. He starts wheezing at the drop of a hat. I noticed you said you could give it to children but would 1 be too young? Maybe hubby and I will have to give this a try first for our allergies!

    1. From Kiva Rose at
      For kids under 2, add the syrup to hot water to kill any microbes in the honey that might make them sick.
      Elderberry syrup is one of the most popular cold remedies in Europe. Elder has been used for centuries and is one of the most well documented herbs for colds and flus. It’s also great for lots of other stuff, but we’ll keep it simple for now.
      You can give the syrup by the teaspoon (kids love it) every 2-3 hours while sick, or even use it regularly in your food, such as on pancakes! Elder is VERY high in bioflavonoids and is a great antioxidant. Elder is one of those magical herbs you can do SO much with. You can use the flowers in the Spring as well. There are many, many remedies you can make. We’ll be exploring this herb in more detail on HerbMentor for sure.

  8. I too suffer from allergies and asthma. I will be looking for dried elderberries. It’s funny you would be writing about this today. My dad who is eighty-one was talking about picking and eating elderberries yesterday when he was a boy. They are super good for you.

  9. I am planning on trying this for my husband in the fall. He has seasonal allergies only, thankfully. I wish I could grow my own elderberries, it would be nice to have them on hand for making these types of remedies :0) Your post was so easy to read and understand. Would you mind sharing this at my link-up? I am sure my readers would appreciate it :0) Thanks! Jasmine aka Happy Mrs Bass

  10. Hi Amy. Nice to know of someone who knows allergies can be serious. Last time I went to an allergist (shots didn’t work for me so I haven’t been to one in 40 years, literally) he said if it could be inhaled I’m allergic to it and since I live near where they made space suits I should go and tell them I needed one so I could negotiate school, etc. Funny guy. I’m really sorry to hear what your doc said to you and I applaud your courage to try this recipe. If I can find elderberries maybe I’ll give it a go. I take so much medication now it’s ridiculous and I’m wearing oxygen because I spent time outdoors Sat. and it set me way back. Have you been to the Whole Mom blog? She has a lot of natural treatments for allergies.
    P.S. Like the new blog look! I get your email so it’s been a while since I’ve seen the site.

    1. That stinks that the doctor said that to you that wasn’t very nice! I knew going into it I was very allergic and I asked the doctor if my response was normal so he was more just having a little fun. You allergies are so much worse then mine that is really terrible that you have to wear oxygen Im sorry! I found elderberries at a local coop thats kind of like whole foods near the bulk spices and teas. You can also find them at I hope you can get them and this will help you!

  11. For really bad sore throats, I use currant juice.

    If you have fresh currants, put them in a pot with a little water and then cook them until the colour is gone from the berries. Strain.
    1 tbsp as many times a day as needed – it’s like magic.

    This year, I have tried canning it to see if it will last through the winter, but I haven’t opened one up yet.

    1. My daughter is 16mnths suffering w severe allergies /post nasal drip. Long nights for mommy. Do u think this concoction will be safe/effective for her,?

  12. Amy, I too suffer from allergies and asthma. I’ve been using elderberry syrup for over a year and it has really made a huge difference in the number of times I’ve had to go to the doctor and the amount of antibiotics I’ve taken. Good stuff!

    1. Something I do for asthma is Black Cumin essential oil. Just 3 drops on my wrist and rub wrists together. Within a few minutes the asthma symptoms go away and I breath deep, full breaths. Please note that I do this at the first signs of asthma problems. I have gotten off all asthma meds – especially the cortical steroid.daily inhaler. (It is said black cumin cures all but death)

    2. Thank you for sharing this I have asthma and am going to give the oil a try that would be awesome to get over using nasty chemicals everyday:)

    3. Where do you find Black Cumin essential oil? I use Spark Naturals and they apparently don’t have it.

    4. try your local health food store. That is where I just got mine! I just made this and I am so excited to add it to what I already do. It is prime allergy season plus I am battling something in my lungs right now, so I am excited to see how this works! It tastes good!

    5. How is it stored? And how long is it good for.? I’m very interested because I have allergies and chronic asthma controlled with inhaled steroids. I want to get away from medications that are not natural. Thank you.

    6. Amy have you ever tryed to can the elderberry syrup so you ould have it all winter? If yes how would you do it?

    7. I have used eyebright on babies, but what about elderberry liquid? Is it safe for baits over 1 year old?

5 from 2 votes

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