Homemade Elderberry Syrup

“Flu Season”
Everyone knows about it, and everyone wants to avoid coming down with it.
I mean, let’s be real, the flu sucks. It makes you feel terribly, knocks you down for days, and is really just a bad time overall. And, with last year’s flu shot at less than 50% effective, many people are looking for more natural options[1].

In any case, I’m always on the lookout for natural ways to boost my immune system. This elderberry syrup is intended for every day use to keep the immune system strong and ready for any attack, and because it does contain honey, it is not recommended for infants under one year old. However, the honey can simply be replaced with maple syrup (as it’s really just used for flavoring anyway) for a safe, baby-friendly option.

What are Elderberries?

Elderberries are dark berries that grow from the elder tree all over Europe and North America. This beautiful berry has been utilized for hundreds of years to help treat fever and viral illness, and today modern science is finally catching up with this ancient-known remedy. Studies have found elderberry to be extremely effective at treating, and reducing duration of, colds and the flu, aiding in symptoms like headache, chills, sneezing and nasal discharge, sore throat, and cough[2,3].

How to Make Elderberry Syrup

This recipe is super easy to throw together, and doesn’t require much supervision or interaction at all.
You will need:
  • 1 Cup Dried Elderberries (You can find the ones I use here)
  • 4 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger or 1 Tbsp Dried Ginger (You can find some here)
  • 1 Tsp Cloves (You can find some here)
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks (You can find them here)
  • 1 Cup Local Raw Honey (Or sub for maple syrup, which you can find here)
 
Like I said, this recipe is extremely simple and you can have a full jar of read-to-use elderberry syrup in just a few hours!
First, add your elderberries, water, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon to a pot. Cover, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and allow to simmer for 60-90 minutes. You want to boil out about half the liquid in the pot, which took just over an hour for me.
Once you’ve reduced the water level, allow everything to cool enough to be handled.
After everything has cooled a bit, strain the elderberry mixture. The elderberries still hold A LOT of liquid, so squeezing through a cheesecloth will ensure you get the most you can.
Allow the syrup to cool again, to a lukewarm temperature then add the honey. Keep mixing until your liquid thickens into a syrup, as all the honey dissolves. Store in a mason jar in the fridge.
Refrigerated, this syrup should last about 3-4 months. We take 1 tablespoon daily during cold and flu season (Oct-Mar). If you feel like you’re battling something, take 1 tablespoon every 4 hours or so. For babies and toddlers, dose with 1/2 teaspoon daily for immune support, and 1/2 teaspoon every 4 hours when sick. Older children can have 1-2 teaspoon daily, and 1-2 teaspoon every 4 hours when sick. This isn’t your typical medicine-it is delicious and nutritious! Enjoy and be well.
Until next time,
Savannah

References:

1. CDC Summary of the 2017-2018 Influenza Season
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm
2. NCBI Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Clinical Trial
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848651/
3. NCBI Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016