Elderberries are one of my most-used go-to remedies for cooler months. The dried berries of the Sambucis Nigra plant are naturally high in immune-boosting compounds that are specifically shown to help beat the cold and flu more quickly. They can be used to make a variety of remedies, and my favorite is this simple elderberry syrup.
Elderberry: A Natural Remedy for Mild Colds and Flu?
There is certainly a time and a place for conventional medicine and doctors visits. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that conventional medicine can do for a common cold or even a mild case of the flu.
If you or your child has ever had a rough case of the common cold or the flu, you know how miserable it can be. Especially for moms, it is awful to see your children feeling so bad and not be able to fix it. Thankfully, nature provides some remedies that can help avoid minor illnesses and shorten the duration if you do get them.
Black elderberries (sambucus nigra) have been shown to help avoid these illnesses and speed recovery in those who already have them. I’ve also found that elderberries seem to offer some relief of discomfort during minor illnesses.
Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberries naturally contain A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. Israeli researchers found that the complex sugars in elderberries support the immune system in fighting cold and flu. They developed several formulas based on these complex sugars that have been clinically shown to help ameliorate all kinds of cold/flu. In fact:
Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover.
Elderberry Syrup: Easy Way to Get the Benefits
Elderberry syrup provides the concentrated immune-supporting benefits of black elderberries in a great-tasting way. My homemade recipe uses homemade elderberry concentrate with synergistic herbs like cinnamon and ginger, plus raw honey for an extra immune boost. If you can’t/don’t use honey, see the substitution suggestions below the recipe.
Why make your own?
For one, you’ll save a lot of money!
Several natural elderberry syrups are available at health stores or online, but usually for around $15 or more for 4-8 ounces. This recipe makes 16 ounces for a cost of under ten dollars and kids love the taste!
You can also fully customize this recipe based on your needs and flavor preferences.
That said, if dried elderberries aren’t available and you’re in a pinch, there are some great pre-made elderberry gummies and elderberry syrup that work just as well (just cost more). Also, if you happen to have fresh or frozen elderberries on hand, double the quantity of dried elderberries listed in the recipe.
How to Make Elderberry Syrup to Avoid the Flu
prep 5 mins cook 1 hour inactive 15 mins total 1 hour, 20 mins author katie wells yield 4 cups
A simple elderberry syrup recipe made with dried elderberries, honey and herbs for an immune boosting and delicious syrup. Can be used medicinally or on homemade pancakes or waffles.
- 2/3 cup dried black elderberries, or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen
- 3½ cups water
- 2 TBSP fresh or dried ginger root
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp cloves or clove powder
- 1 cup raw honey
- Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and let cool until it is 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.
- Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
- When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
- When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
- 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.
Instant Pot option: Put all ingredients in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain.
Standard dose is ½ tsp – 1 tsp for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.
Wells, Katie “Elderberry: A Natural Remedy for Mild Colds and Flu?.” Wellness Mama, August 21st, 2018 , wellnessmama.com/1888/elderberry-syrup/