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. 
5 from 2 votes
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Author: Amy

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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

117 Comments

  1. Since you mention asthma, I’m assuming this is for “congestion” type allergies?
    I ask because I get them.
    & when you are on anti-depressants & high blood pressure meds (low dose), you CAN’T take sudafed.

    So late summer/early fall quite literally sucks….

    Finally, at the request of Mom went to dr..
    She said (what I could understand, with her accent) my throat was irritated. . .
    & prescribed antibiotic.

  2. hi this may be a stupid question but I am allergic to bees soes that mean I am also allergic to honey? or can I use this ayrup because I have horrible allergies and I am desperate for relief

    1. Totally not a stupid question! I do not believe so. My brother was very allergic to bees and was not allergic to honey! But that being said definitely consult your doctor or allergist to be sure before trying this recipe!

  3. If fresh berries do I cook? (For syrup)
    Can I mix fresh juice an honey to drink ? (Uncooked)
    Does elderberry jelly have any benefit ?
    I have been fighting this crud for four year, spent a fortune on every type of Dr. even chest X-ray an upper GI. May be I should just settle for a jug of Elder wine ! Ha !
    Thanks. Van Ed.

  4. I get my elderberries from my backyard – local and I know they were not harvested next to a road with all the car fumes.

    I also use raw honey that is real local – we are beekeepers – hives in the back yard.

    I love the Elderberry Syrup and have used it for allergies and colds.

    My grandkids [over the age of 2] love the elderberries prepared as for the syrup only cooking a little longer to reduce the liquid. Then when at room temp add equal amount of honey. Use this as a cough syrup that has a built in expectorant.

  5. Amy!!! Please respond to my question!! Can you substitute elderberry juice for the dried elderberries???

  6. I am very anxious to try this! I too am wondering how much Elderberry Syrup you would use in place of the dried elderberries. Both my daughter and I have allergies & asthma and my other daughter has a severe dust mite allergy.

  7. Hi Amy! 2 qs….does someone w seasonal allergies have to take this every day for the whole season? Also…would this be safe for pets??? My dog gets bad allergies n the doc put him on tons of meds whichare making him so sleepy I’d love to try something more natural than just doping him up!

    1. Hey Christin! Well it would work best if you did do it every day, but honestly I didn’t do it every single day and still had great results! I am not sure if it would be safe for pets! I would as your vet if the ingredients would be. You can make a simpler version with just water, apple cider vinegar, and local honey that might work better for your pet. But again, ask your vet first I would never want anything bad to happen to your doggy! Hope that kinda helps 🙂

  8. My mother suffers from really bad allergies to the point that she is not able to function during the day. I made her this recipe and she no longer has allergies; she is happy. This is a great holistic alternative if you do not want to medicate yourselves with over the counter medicine. Which does not really work by the way. Thank you for this great recipe.

  9. About how much liquid do you get from the elderberries? Trying to figure out how much pure elderberry syrup to substitute. Thanks!

  10. I have some concentrated elderberry syrup. How many mg should I add to make it approx. equivalent to what is in your recipe? Any ideas? I’m very eager to give it a try as my allergies are kicking in and I really don’t want to go back on the 2 meds required to keep them under control. Thanks in advance! -Ellen in Ohio

  11. I suffer from a lot of allergies and on top of that I have had a cold for almost 3 weeks and just can’t shake it. I just made my first batch and am hoping that it helps!!

  12. where I live, we have wild elderberry bushes all over the place. will fresh work and do I use the same amount of ingredients?

    1. Yes you can use fresh. Use 1 cup of fresh berries and follow the rest of the formula. You an also add a cinnamon stick, some cloves and ginger to boost the benefits.

  13. Well, I’m willing to give it a try! It’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one who amazes my allergist. My allergist (whom I love) has called me “his problem child patient” because he doesn’t even know what to do with me! I’ve tried so many things, both medicinal and natural, but I will keep trying. Thanks for sharing.

  14. To increase the benefits of this syrup, add 5 whole cloves, a cinnamon stick and a 1/4 inch medallion of fresh ginger to the elderberry/water when boiling.

  15. I have milk allergies which are very annoying. Even the smallest
    Amount of a milk product(milk, cheese, butter) makes my throat immediately mucus up.
    And I need to clear my throat. Will this help or will this only help with air borne allergies?

    1. Syrita, I have the same problem. Fact is, dairy in all it’s forms, including whey and casein, stimulate mucus production. I know that I, personally, create more than enough mucus on my own, I certainly don’t need to help that along!!! I have found that staying dairy-free has improved my respiratory health exponentially, and I now, for the first time in my life, breathe freely in the morning when I awake. My take on it is that it will work well hand-in-hand with remaining dairy-free

5 from 2 votes

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