We love taking elderberry syrup for colds and flu because it really can shorten the duration of colds and flu by as much as three days. We were just hit by a nasty cold that knocked us all out for two days in bed with a lingering cough and stuffy nose. Needless to say, we hit the elderberry syrup hard.
If you purchase pre-made elderberry syrup, it can get quite expensive. In fact, we used nearly an entire bottle the first day we were sick. So, the smart and cost-effective alternative is to make your own syrup.
Our grocery store doesn’t sell elderberries. Finding them fresh can be difficult, although if you live in a region where the berries can grow (they are easiest to grow in Eastern United States), you may be able to grow the plants yourself (which would be ideal). However, if you don’t want to or can’t use fresh berries, you can use dried, which are easy to find online.
How to Make Elderberry Syrup
- 1-2 cups of dried elderberries
- 2-3 cups of filtered water (the more filtered the better)
- 1/3 cup of honey (more or less to your taste)
Some people also like to put other immune-boosting ingredients in with the elderberry, such as ginger, honey, cinnamon, or lemon. If you want to add these ingredients, go for it! Fresh ginger and lemon and raw, unfiltered honey provide the best immune-boosting results. Raw garlic is also great for the immune system, but you may want to add in some extra sweetener if you add raw garlic to your syrup.
- Heat up the water to just boiling. Add the elderberries and allow them to sit in the water for 2-3 hours. The longer the berries sit, the more potent the liquid will be.
- Drain the liquid through a sieve (you don’t want to use a regular colander or you won’t be able to squish the berries). Use a spoon to smash the berries against the side of the sieve to remove any additional berry juice. You could also try blending the berries up in the blender.
- After the berries have drained, add 1/3 cup of honey and any other ingredients that you want to add. Stir until everything is mixed in.
- Pour the syrup into your desired container and store in the fridge for 3-4 months. If you ever notice any mold, toss it out, just to be safe.
For maximum effectiveness, take a tablespoon of elderberry syrup 2-3 times a day when you first notice the symptoms of a cold or flu. You can stop taking elderberry about 3 days into the illness.
Do you make your own elderberry syrup? Share your method with us!