How to Make Elderberry Syrup

The more and more I study about herbs and natural remedies, the more and more I am amazed at all that God has provided for us. Not surprising news of course, since our blessings are always more than we can see, but it’s just such a different way of thinking in our modern society. So much of what he has given us responsibility over, we seem to have forgotten through the years. He has given us so many things that can help prevent and treat sickness as well as heal and restore our bodies. Case in point – elderberry syrup.

You can find it at any health food store, and many places carry it online. But did you know you can make your own? It’s so easy to do and very cost effective!

This recipe has been updated HERE, with a few more tips and tricks to make it taste great.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries (or one cup fresh)
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups water
  • (mountain rose herbs also recommends grated ginger, a cinnamon stick, and a few cloves in their video all of which have warming properties that would be beneficial especially when you’re already sick!)

Take a 1/2 cup of dried elderberries,

Dried elderberries

place in a pan with the 2 cups of water, along with any other herbs and spices (I used a cinnamon stick this time) bring to a boil, and then let simmer (uncovered) for about 20 minutes.

Simmering elderberries

Once reduced (about half – give or take. It doesn’t have to be exact science) pour through a mesh strainer

strained elderberries

and then just use the back of a spoon to squeeze out any juice left in the berries.

IMG_1470

Add in the one cup honey and stir until combined. (personally, next time I do this, I’ll wait for the liquid to cool down a bit before I add it in. Raw honey has so many great healing properties to it, I don’t want to damage it with the heat.)

Raw Honey

Once thoroughly combined, just place into a storage jar and keep in the fridge!

Elderberry syrup

It will last for a couple weeks in the fridge, so make only enough for those weeks as it can go bad. Cost wise, it’s hard to say, since I didn’t pay attention to how much the 1/2 cup cost me. But it couldn’t have been more than a buck or so. And the honey only cost me about $2.00 for one cup. So by my not so scientific calculations……it cost me about $4.00 for about 16 ounces. Much cheaper than the small $14.00 bottles at the store!

My husband and I have been taking a couple teaspoons a day, my toddler half that. From people I know that take it, some take up to a tablespoon at a time, so I don’t think it’s something you can overdue to much. Plus, the concentration will be a bit different with each batch due to simmer time, etc. Like I said, it’s not an exact science. If/when we become sick I’ll take the same dose every few hours to help deal with symptoms.

Benefits of Elderberry Syrup:

  • Contains 3 different flavonoids. Flavonoids are effective against at least 8 different strains of the flu virus!
  • Helps boost the immune system.
  • It stops the production of hormone-like cytokines that cause inflammation.
  • Studies have also shown that elderberry reduces excessive sinus mucus secretion, and some even suggest that elderberry can help lessen swelling of mucous membranes, improve sinus drainage, and decrease nasal congestion.

For some more info or to order your own, you can check out the info page at Mountain Rose Herbs.

This post is linked to :

Works for me Wednesday – cause making it at home works for me!!

Frugal Fridays

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle is an author, amateur herbalist, lover of real food, and an advocate for natural health. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health, so much so that she is currently taking courses to become a master herbalist. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she began this blog in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to healing.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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Comments

  1. I’m with you, constantly amazed at everything God has blessed us with as far as plants, food, etc go and how beneficial they really and truly are. Everything works together, there is a purpose for everything, and without one element–everything would just fall apart. God is just Breathtaking! :)

    Anyway–

    We found an Elderberry patch in our field this summer that we had no idea about. We got too busy when they were ripe, and the birds beat us. I’ve never in my life eaten one before–but I’m stoked to know how beneficial they are! I’ll beat those birds next time! :)

  2. Wow, I had no idea it was so easy. You are right it is expensive at the store. So, I am guessing you could use this even when you aren’t sick as a preventative??

  3. Where did you get your elderberries? Did they come from Mountain Rose, too?

    • @Rachel R., This first batch, I just picked up enough to try one batch, but I have an order with Mountain Rose herbs for a whole pound. Some friends and I went in an ordered tham together to get the 15% discount and share shipping charges. :-)

  4. Can you get elderberries at a health or grocery store? I want to make this but would rather not have to order them! Thank you so much for sharing this..I am excited!

    • @Stephanie, I did pick some up at our health food store, but am ordering a pound of them from Mountain Rose as we speak. If your store doesn’t carry them, they might be able to order them for you.

  5. Where did you find the dried elderberries?

    And how do you use the syrup? Just like a medicinal syrup, by itself?

    Jessie

    • @Vanderbilt Wife, I got some at our local health food store and I’m currently ordering them from Mountain Rose Herbs. And we just take the syrup by the spoonful, although I’ve used it to sweeten yogurt as well.

  6. This is so great! I was just asking about ways to ward off sickness in my littles over on Keeper of the Home’s new forum and she mentioned your post!!! Thanks!

    Do you know how much for a dose??

    Thanks for this info! I’m hoping to try it!

  7. I’m curious how you use it. Do you just take a dose (how much) a day? Or put it in something? (Like morning smoothies?)
    Thanks!

    • @jeannette, Us adults take a couple teaspoons per day and if we become ill, I’ll take the same dose every few hours.

    • @jeannette, Oh- also, we do just take it by the spoonful as it tastes quite pleasant, but it can be diluted in water, I’ve used it to sweeten plain yogurt, and some I know even just use it for syrup on pancakes!

  8. Thanks for this recipe! My healthfood store carries dried elderberries. I’m going to get some and try this. An elderberry bush (or 2) is on my list of things to get for my herb garden.

    • @Linda, Your welcome! We don’t have any wild ones around here either, so I’ll be planting my own in the spring. And hopefully I’ll have time to put in an actual herb garden as well!

  9. I’m excited to try this! I’ve heard that the stems are toxic – do you need to sort through the berries beforehand to remove the few stem pieces that are mixed in with the berries?

  10. I’ve heard awesome things about this stuff – thanks for taking the mystery out of it! I linked to this post on my weekly roundup – my post is here. Thanks for sharing!!

  11. Awesome! I am so tired of paying so much money every two weeks for our elderberry syrup. I’m just wondering where I can buy the elderberries however. I’m pretty sure I have never once seen them at my health food store.

  12. Awesome to know because I found them while surfing this morning, after reading this, and wondered if they were legit enough to give my money to. Thanks!

    • @Melissa, Mountain Rose Herbs is awesome! I’ve ordered from them many times and it always comes when they say and it’s really good quality. (fyi, a shameless plug- if you click their ad from my site, I get a small percentage :-) But thats totally not the reason I like them! They are a good company too.

  13. I will click through your site since you’re the one that gave me the heads up. :)

    • @Melissa, Thanks! Much appreciated as the little bit I earn off this site helps my family make purchases we believe will better our health. Purchases we otherwise wouldn’t be able to make. So thank you!

  14. This is a how-to I have been looking for. Thanks. I have been using ZAND elderberry and zinc herbalozenges for throat tickles this fall but have been wanting to give my own elderberry syrup a try. Next stop, the apothecary for some dried berries.

    • @kia, So have you tried it yet? I have learned a couple things since then I thought I’d pass along quickly.

      Start with 1/2 cup honey and increase it to taste.

      Bring it hot enough to just BELOW simmering. For some reason it can get an odd flavor if it’s boiled. A crockpot actually works well too!

  15. You said that it will only keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I’m curious because I’ve read varying account elsewhere. I’ve seen anywhere between 2 weeks to a few months. I was wondering if, since you’ve had some experience with the syrup since writing the post, you have come to a different conclusion about the amount of time the syrup will keep. Also, how do you know if it has gone bad?? I’m afraid that I won’t notice. Will it be harmful to my family if it has gone bad? Thanks!

    • @Alex, I found that it does keep at least a month – that’s as long as a batch lasted for us. :-) I never had any go bad, though I’m sure it may get moldy or smell if it does! If you don’t think you’ll go through it fast enough, you can just halve the recipe first to see how long it lasts.

    • @Alex,
      I actually have a jar in the fridge at my parents’ from last year that is still okay. I think using the raw honey helps preserve it, just like a mead. Plus, by boiling, you’ve killed off most anything that would grow in it, until exposed to the air for an extended period.

  16. Sarah Hopkins says:

    I’m curious to know: how many batches you can make from one pound of dried berries? I’m trying to decide how much to order since our local health food store does not stock elderberries.

    Thank you!

  17. This recipe looks great and I just got in my elderberries. However, I have a 9 month old and would like to give him some this cold/flu season. Should I just leave out the honey? Thanks!
    Shannon

    • @shannon, While the raw honey will have some benefits, it’s really to make it taste good enough to take! And to help with preservation. You could use sucanat easily. (or another unrefined sugar)

  18. A couple spelling corrections in your post: overdue (refers to something late) should be overdo and the next word to should be too

    My doctor told me not to eat any sugars or sweeteners of any kind (not even stevia) to controll my blood sugar w/o meds. Do you have any suggestions on how to make this palatable w/o the sweetening?

    • donielle says:

      @Shalom, Thank you. :-)

      And I’d maybe take it with juice if I couldn’t sweeten it a touch. Or just take it without! :-) And drink/eat something right after.

    • @Shalom,
      The honey is not just for sweetening, it’s for preservative. I usually use some honey as preservative and also some raw apple cider vinegar. I’m sure you could use all apple cider vinegar. Not sure how it would taste, though, but might be an adventure to try.
      The important thing is the ratio of preservative to elderberry “tea”. it’s 1:1.
      good luck.

  19. I, have been making medicinal elderberry syrup for several years for my family (hubby + 6 kids and I did not conceive for the first 3 years of marriage and then BOOM). Our recipes are similar, but mine will keep for up to 1 year. How do I know? We had one left behind in a basement refrigerator, and it was still good. I am thinking that yours should last much longer than you have indicated due to the honey amount. The key is the amount of honey. After straining off the berries, measure the liquid (to be precise) and you should add an equal amount of raw honey. This will keep well in the refrigerator for a long time. For those that want to have some that doesn’t need refrigeration, you would increase the honey to be a 2:1 ratio to your liquid berry juice. This can come in handy to be able to travel with, but you would have to take more to get the same medicinal effect, which means consuming more honey.

    I also add lime juice to mine, so I’m not sure how much that may be contributing to the preservation factor, but the citric acid in the lime will lower the pH, which will help make it last longer. I also add gingerroot, which doesn’t affect longevity, but adds more medicinal boost.

    So, just so you can compare, a typical batch size for me is 2 cups of dried berries, 6 cups of distilled or purified water, 2 oz. weight of grated gingerroot (which I simmer with the berries for about 50 minutes, until it is reduced to about 4 1/2 cups). After straining this and letting it cool, I add about 3 cups of honey, since that is what my strained liquid comes to. I then add the juice from 2 limes. I keep this in dark amber bottles in the fridge and as I said, it has kept for 1 year, which is quite convenient. My dosage is 2 – 3 tsp. for adults. 2 tsp. for ages 6 – 12, 1 tsp. for ages 2 – 5. Nursing mothers can take 1 T. 5 minutes before nursing to pass benefits to baby. Preventatively, these doses can be taken 2X/day. When illness hits, go to 4X/day.

    I would love to know what you have learned since first making your recipe, like have you found it does keep longer or does it consistently go bad on you if you leave it too long.

    • @Lauren, I’ve never actually had it go bad – it’s normally something we use up within a month. I just feel like I need to put an “expiration” so that if someone doesn’t add enough honey, that they don’t consume food stuffs that have gone bad. :-)

      Plus, I only make it when needed – I keep all the ingredients on hand and just make up a batch at a time.

  20. Just made a batch. I appreciated all the pictures.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] A berry that is particularly helpful in preventing the flu virus from infecting cells. Donielle has a great recipe for elderberry syrup that I plan to try making! It can also be bought at health food stores, in both adult and [...]

  2. [...] of the question because, well, I have no elderberries (do they grow here?). Then, I stumbled upon this blog, and her recipe which used dried elderberries to make syrup (also with photos of the steps along [...]

  3. [...] How to Make Elderberry Syrup — from Naturally Knocked Up — The longer I go without health insurance, the more interested I am in herbal and natural remedies. That is only half-way true, but it does motivate me to try new things to try to keep us out of the doctor’s office! We just ran out of the elderberry syrup I bought and now I am going to try to make it. (Bought the dried berries from Mountain Rose Herbs.) Elderberries have many benefits, including helping with the flu. We start taking elderberry syrup as soon as we suspect we might be feeling bad, although some take it daily during flu season as a preventative. Thankfully, its fairly tasty. My son thinks its candy and gets all excited when I pull the bottle out. [...]

  4. […] elderberry (This is a great antiviral and I like to keep dry and frozen around for tinctures and syrup) yarrow, ginger, turmeric (my friend Gwen has a great post on turmeric on her blog), peppermint, […]

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