Boost Your Immunity with this Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Post by Olivia Martino, Registered Dietitian and Co-Owner, Nourish Northwest


It’s happening already, all around us people are getting sick.  Even both Paula and I have been feeling something coming on so we rushed down to the Herb Shoppe to buy some elderberries.  Last year, elderberry syrup saved us both from catching everything that was going around.    This year, we realized that in order not to break the bank we should start making it on our own.  This turned out to be the simplest process, which resulted in a large amount of delicious tasting elderberry syrup.

Also known as Sambucus nigra, elderberries are known for their high antioxidant content and have been used for centuries to boost immunity, help relieve coughs, colds, bacterial and viral infections.  They are high in Vitamin A and C and quercitin, which is a flavanoid that is believed to be the therapeutic bioactive compound.

Dried elderberries are available in bulk at specialty health food stores/herb shops or can be purchased from a variety of sources online.  Based on personal experience, I highly recommend always having a jar of elderberry syrup in your fridge during the cold and flu season.  It’s a true miracle worker!


Elderberry Syrup
adapted from the
  • ⅔ cup black elderberries
  • 3½ cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey
  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. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries 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. Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties.
  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.



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