Elderberry syrup is a staple in most natural medicine cabinets. It's wonderful because it tastes good and helps boost the immune system.
Elderberries are high in vitamin C and boast a generous amount of antioxidants and beta-carotene.
Fresh elderberries contain a toxic compound that can cause some gastrointestinal distress. This compound is inactivated by cooking. So, if you ever decide to make a tincture with elderberries, be sure to cook them for 30 minutes.
This recipe uses dried elderberries, but fresh ones could be used instead (since we are cooking them for 30 minutes), If you choose to use fresh elderberries, you will need to double the amount.
Elderberry syrup has been used for many years with great success. Its effectiveness is now backed by scientific studies.
“Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo.” (Source)
If you would like to browse others studies, you can do so here.
Elderberry syrup is now readily available at most pharmacies, and also on Amazon.com, but if you'd like to try your hand at making it, you'll likely be pleased with how simple the process is.
How to Make Elderberry Syrup
Cinnamon and ginger are added to this elderberry syrup recipe to aid in increasing circulation. These could be left out if desired, but they do enhance the syrup significantly.
- 1/2 cup dried elderberries (buy from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon chips (buy from Mountain Rose Herbs)
- 2.5 cups distilled water
- 1 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
Place the dried elderberries in water and soak for 30 minutes.
Once soaked, add the cinnamon chips and ginger then bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until mixture has reduced by about half. Mash the elderberries with a potato masher a few times as they cook.
Strain well through a mesh strainer.
I like to press them down with the back of a spoon to get as much juice out of them as possible. If you don't mind getting messy, once the mixture has cooled, wrap cheesecloth around the strained berries and squeeze with clean hands.
Add syrup back to the pot and warm gently, do not boil (you are only warming enough to get the honey to mix well). Add honey and stir until well blended.
Store in the fridge.
Many people take a small dose of elderberry syrup every day during cold and flu season. For kids, the dose is about 1/2-1 teaspoon a day but is increased during acute sickness (during acute sickness it is common to give 1 teaspoon 3 o4 4 times throughout the day – one teaspoon every 2-3 hours). Because this recipe includes honey, don't give it to children under the age of 1 year old.
As a preventative, adults generally take 1/2 Tablespoon to 1 Tablespoon once a day, increasing to 3-4 times a day during acute illness.
These suggestions are approximate. Please use your own discretion.