Elderberry Syrup for Colds and Flu

Elderberries (Sambucus)

Elderberries (Sambucus)

By Cat, September 2016 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

When I was growing up in 1950s Bigfork, Montana, an elderly neighboring couple planted elderberry bushes along the road near their property. I loved the way they looked, and especially the purple berries that ripened in the summer. Those bushes are still there, and I wonder if their berries have the same medicinal properties as those known for the immune-building cousin, Sambucus Nigra (Black Elderberry).

Today’s Wellness Mamma newsletter includes her posting on Elderberry Syrup; I include her recipe below.

See also: 1. Healing Herbs, Oils, Remedies Menu; Other sites: 1. Learning Herbs five-Flavors Cough Syrup

Elderberry Syrup for Colds and Flu

This recipe is from Wellness Mamma (1). Her entire article is informative and interesting, and well worth a read. She uses the syrup as preventative remedy during peak cold/flu season. As a child, I was given elderberry syrup for coughs and sore throat.

She recommends two sources for the dried berries: Mountain Rose Herbs (2) and Amazon for Frontier brand of Organic elderberries (3). I would get them through our local herb store, Swan Valley Herbs (4).

She recommends avoiding elderberry leaves and stems, as they can be ‘dangerous.’


  • ⅔ cup  (about 3 ounces) dried black elderberries
  • 3½ cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (local honey is best)


  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  5. Ta Da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
  6. Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.


  1. Wellness Mamma on Elderberry Syrup (wellnessmama.com/1888/elderberry-syrup)
  2. Mountain Rose on Elderberries (mountainroseherbs.com/products/elder-berries/profile)
  3. Amazon for Frontier brand Organic dried elderberries (amazon.com/Frontier-Elder-Berries-Whole-Organic/dp/B000UVUHXY)
  4. Swan Valley Herbs: (406) 837-5747; 429 Grand Dr, Bigfork, MT 59911 (they don’t have a website, but they may be on Facebook)

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