How to Make Elderberry Syrup

I started making my own elderberry syrup this past fall to offer protection to my family against influenza and other viruses that target us during the winter months. Since making that first batch in September, I’ve tweaked it until finding the perfect recipe, which I’m now sharing with you!

P.S. We didn’t catch the flu this winter!!?

Health Benefits of Elderberry Syrup

There’s currently an open debate about whether or not elderberry syrup really works to prevent the flu. Well, there is some medical research like this study and this one that have concluded that the nutrients within elderberry syrup do appear to prevent and treat viral infections and reduce the duration of flu symptoms (by 4 days!). So that’s enough for me to use it for prevention of viruses like influenza (the flu)! And, of course, we take it anytime we’re sick too, along with these 12 other home remedies.

I’ve noticed elderberry syrup makes a great cough syrup, helps with upset tummies, offers relief from nausea as well as cold symptoms! Black elderberries contain high levels of vitamin A, which promote healthy skin, flavonoids that fight free radicals (disease/cancer) and antioxidants that aid the immune system.

Elderberry Syrup Face Mask

As I mentioned, the vitamin A in elderberry syrup along with other healing properties are effective at treating skin issues, such as acne. So, once you make the syrup recipe below, try this quick elderberry face mask!

Mix a teaspoon of elderberry syrup with a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Gently spread the mixture on your face, let dry and rinse away 10 minutes later. I pat mine off with a wet washcloth.

Other health benefits of elderberry syrup are…

  • Prevent constipation and improve gastrointestinal system
  • Protect against colorectal cancer
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Protect against cardiovascular diseases
  • Lower blood cholesterol (the bad one)

I’m sure there are so many more advantages of ingesting elderberry syrup regularly, but these are the main reasons why my family loves it!

Elderberry syrup to treat allergies and sinus infections

Risks of Elderberry Syrup

All of that being said, there are two important things to know about elderberry syrup before you go whipping up your own batch.

  1. Black elderberries (Sambucus) contain toxic cyanide that you must boil away adequately! See cooking instructions below. If you eat them raw or undercook them, consumption of this poison will cause vomiting and diarrhea. This is a dangerous toxin so I’d rush to the ER if this happens!
  2. Elderberry syrup usually contains honey as an added ingredient, so don’t give to babies under one year old to avoid botulism poisoning!

That’s it! Otherwise elderberry syrup is completely safe and super nutritious!

Where to Buy Elderberry Syrup

I highly recommend purchasing your elderberries in the “off-season”, when the prices are lower. Most places jack their price up (I’ve seen triple the cost) as soon as Fall hits! So I suggest buying your berries in the summer.

For best quality, buy organic black elderberries, which typically arrive dried. I purchased 1 pound from Amazon last year and it lasted us all winter–I made 4 batches in total.


2/3 cup organic dried black elderberries

3 1/2 cups filtered water

2 or 3 tablespoons of raw ginger root, chopped into chunks

1-2 cinnamon sticks

*Optional: 1 tablespoon of ground cloves, echinacea extract

1/4 cup local, raw honey


Add all ingredients to a medium size pot, stir and cover.

Turn stove burner to medium high or high until boiling, then down to medium or medium low to simmer. Keep covered to keep all the nutrients from evaporating.

Simmer covered for one hour. The liquid will reduce by almost half.

Remove from heat and begin mashing the berries to release remaining nutrients into the syrup. Strain well and let cool. Once the syrup is no longer hot (under 95°F) stir in the honey.

Taste and add more honey if desired.

Store in a Mason jar in the refrigerator for several months.

There you go! Super easy right?

How to Take Elderberry Syrup

Adults drink 1 tablespoon of syrup daily to prevent infections. And 1 tablespoon 3 times a day when sick. Children over 1 can be given 1-3 teaspoons per day and 3 teaspoons 3 times a day when sick.

If you make this recipe, let me know what you think in the comments below! Did you opt for another powerful add-in I should know about? Let me know!

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