Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to: Make your own elderberry-honey syrup

Today I thought I would share a recipe that is part of our daily health routine.  Elderberry syrup has literally changed our lives.  I first learned of elderberry syrup a couple of years ago, when it was recommended to me to use as a homeopathic treatment for a flu/cold I was battling.  I took some store bought syrup and it helped tremendously, even though it was pretty pricey.  Fast forward a bit, and I started reading more and more about the benefits of elderberries and not only them being used during sickness, but also to prevent illness.   

Here is some info from Herbwisdom about the benefits of elderberries: 

Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1951.

I can truly attest to the benefits of these little magic berries.  My husband and I  have been taking small doses of the syrup everyday for the past 7 months and this is the first cold and flu season that neither of us have gotten sick.  As most of you know I run a daycare out of my house, and getting sick usually just comes with working with small kids.  But not this year, not even the sniffles.  

So, since the syrup can run upwards of $20-25 dollars for a 4-6 oz bottle in the store, I thought I would share our recipe to make your own for much, much less.   This recipe makes 32 oz.  You can easily half it to make a smaller batch if you want.  Here is what you will need to make your own syrup.

~4 cups water
~1 cup of dried elderberries*
~2 cinnamon sticks
~fresh ginger (about a 2 inch piece, peeled)
~2 tsp. whole cloves
~2 cups honey (if you can get your hands on local, raw honey, that is best)
~A large glass bottle or jar 
~small strainer/sieve
~medium saucepan

*Elderberries can be found in bulk at most health food stores or on Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs

Once you have all your supplies gathered, you are going to grab your saucepan and put it on medium heat.  Add water, elderberries, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon sticks.  Give it all a good stir, and bring to a gentle boil.   Once it starts to boil, give it another good stir and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover with lid and let simmer for 20-25 minutes

While the mixture is simmering, take your bottle or jar and add your 2 cups of honey to it.  I use a funnel since my bottle has a small top.  

After about 20 minutes check the elderberry mixture.  It should be reduced to about half the original liquid.  Give it another good stir and remove from burner. Remove large solids (cinnamon, ginger) Toss in trash or compost.

For the next step you are going to need you sieve or strainer and funnel.  Put strainer in funnel and add the warm elderberry juice to your bottle of honey.  Make sure to use a spoon to squeeze all the yummy juice out of your elderberries.  Discard or compost solids.

Once all the juice is added, it will look like this:

Give it a really good shaking to mix the honey with the juice, and VOILA!  Your own elderberry syrup for a fraction of the price.  Make sure you refrigerate your mixture, and it will last for up to six months in the refrigerator. 

The daily dose for adults is 1-2 tsp. daily and 1/2 tsp for kiddos. Remember herbs are medicine and should be treated as such.   I haven't read any info that elderberries interact with any other medicines, but if you are on medication, you might want to ask your doctor or naturopath to make sure.



  1. I have never heard that but seeing as I am (still) battling being sick, elderberries are definitely something I am going to look into. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! Been meaning to make some for a while. x

  3. Wow! This sounds delicious AND extraordinary! Thanks for sharing this, Hollie - I'm looking forward to trying this!


  4. Fantastic. I can't wait to try this.

  5. This is amazing and I can't wait to try some! I'll definitely check my medication list first, and make sure I *can* try some. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Omygoodness!! I always love what you share!! And always feel tempted to try the recipes!! Awesome post! :)

  7. i love elderberries in kombucha, fresh,dried... they smell so incredibly good. i am going to have to make this! thanks for sharing this sounds so yummy.

  8. I've always wanted to try this. Thanks for spelling it out for us, I need that sometimes!