How to Make Elderberry Syrup – Cold & Flu Remedy
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
The following are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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.
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
You may also like:
- Garlic Salve – Natural Remedy for Colds and Cough
- Essential Oils For Cold And Flu
- 3 Must-Have Essential Oils For Back To School
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.
- 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 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?
Have you used elderberry syrup before?
This post was updated November 2019
I do have allergy. Thank for post.As you know I have never eat elderberries before and would def give a try.
I would love to follow this recipe but I need to know how much Elder Berry Juice can be used instead of dried or fresh elderberries and it’s cheaper and readily available. Please get back to me soon, I have all the ingredients just need to know proper measurements. Thank you so much! 😀
Thank You! I love using elderberries for cold and flu (I try to go pick a bunch every summer along the country roadsides), but I hadn’t thought of combining it with the powerful punch of local raw honey and ACV. We will be trying this this winter!
My daughter (1 year old) really likes drinking her elderberry in a littler bit of 100% grape juice. Tastes pretty good that way too!
O grape juice is a good idea for those who don’t like the taste! Thanks Laura
Sorry, am trying to understand, do you put the jar in the fringe for six months and than used it or you could used it up to six months. I hope my question doesn’t sound silly.
No that’s a great question! You can use it right away and it lasts up to 6 months in the fridge.
Thankfully elderberries grow wild in Iowa.. probably a lot more states too.
I didn’t want to mess with them LOL , but will this year for sure. Thanks for the info.
I’ve been meaning to write and let you know how wonderful this syrup is. I started using it last spring (2013) for my awful seasonal allergies. This syrup and the use of lemon, lavender and peppermint essential oils, have cured my allergies. I have taken allergy medicine year round for several years, now I don’t take anything. I have also not been sick with anything in the last year. I share this with everyone that asks about allergies. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
A strong cup of Mullein leaf tea can be drank before going outside during allergy season to avoid watery eyes and runny nose.
Thank you for sharing to with us, I am making some today for my allergies and asthma and can not wait to try it:)
I made this last month and my girls just woke up today with runny noses and coughs so we’re trying it out for the first time! Thank you for posting the recipe 🙂
I made some of this back in April and have been using it every day since then and it works well.. I was having issues with post nasel drip really bad and stopped using over the counter allergy meds and started using this and it has stopped. I am going to make my second brew of this today since I used the last of the other batch yesterday. It has a funky taste some times from the vinegar but I would rather have that then using the nasty pills from the store, I highly recommend trying this I love it.
So glad you had such great experience with it! That makes me so excited! Thanks for sharing.
You are welcome and once again thanks for sharing this:) I am still using it and it works so well:)
I’m really glad that more and more people are catching on to the home remedy mindset. NBC news did a GREAT segment on home remedies today,absolutely worth watching if you haven’t seen it already:
I add 1 tsp cinnamon or whole cinnamon stick, clogs and ginger to mine.
I add 1 tsp cinnamon or whole cinnamon stick, clogs and ginger to mine. I got my elderberries from Amazon.
Could you skip the dried elderberries and you use the liquid kind like you find on amazon? If so what dosage would you suggest??
Hi Amy, I am a Christian also. My allergies are bothering me something terrible, so I knew that I had you on my Pinterest board, thank you so much. I’m going to try this today. And what a blessing that you are a Christian, that blesses my heart!! Have a nice day:):)
I have heard of the wonders of elderberries and I guess it’s about time to try its infamous powers. Well, I may be exaggerating for that matter; anything without the chemically-made medicine is something worth trying. Family Allergy Clinic
crazy question…is this supposed to thicken like a syrup? Made almost a month ago, and is just a liquid form. Would it still have the same affects? Btw…we love it!
It can be pretty liquidy too, so I wouldn’t worry about it! Glad you love it!
I have been making it since April of this year and it is alway a liquid form and it works well. I don’t think it is supposed to be a syrup. I have allergy induced asthma and my doctor told me to take allergy pills daily and I have not taken a pill since April and feel better than I did with taking the regular pills taking this.
It’s amazing that most remedies can actually be found in our kitchen. Allergy Easy
Thanks for the great recipe. I finally made this after having my dried elderberries sit on my counter in a glass jar for 3 months. I even harvested the elderberries from my very own elderberry bush/tree on my property in Montana. 🙂
That’s awesome! I tried to do that once, but it didn’t work out well haha!
can fresh elderberries be used?. I live in Nebraska & they abundant in the wild. I have been drinking the tea to help with a cold. i believe it is made from the blossoms.