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Simple Spiced Elderberry Syrup


Some people think of the fall as cold and flu season, but I have news for you. As winter continues on, we're still in it. In fact, many of us may be best suited for Vitamin D supplements and a Vitamin C IV! This is the time to pull out the big guns: the super immune boosters like the bone broths, the medicinal mushrooms, the fermented foods, super hydration and the botanical medicines, like this wildly simple and delicious elderberry syrup.

I buy my elderberries by the bagful in the summer, then make a batch of this syrup and freeze the remaining berries to make more of this recipe in January.

Despite the fame of the "taste awful but it works" cough syrup, medicine can actually taste awesome and this is a prime example.

Elderberry Has An Awesomeness Factor of 10/10

Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and have been used for a long time (like thousands of years) to treat colds and flus. They're a mighty, mighty source of Vitamin C and should for sure be part of any immune-boosting protocol.

Where To Buy Elderberries

  • Fresh at the farmers market when in season.
  • Beg your friends who bought them fresh at the farmer's market for some.
  • Check your local health food store for dried berries.
  • Order online from your fave online herbal apothecary...or, um, Amazon because they actually do sell everything.

Do Not Eat Them Raw: Elderberries need to be cooked to render them safe and to receive the amazing health benefits. Several varieties of elderberry are poisonous when eaten raw.

Before I get into today's recipe, check out this video Josh and I did making a tincture with elderberries.

To make my syrup, I add additional herbs to offer a more balanced healing remedy. The ginger aids in circulation and will help quell any nausea that comes with a cold or flu. Cinnamon lends the awesome taste, calms of the belly and the nerves, and helps offset the blood sugar altering affects of a sweet syrup.

Raw honey is the only way to go, in my opinion, for the sweetener as it's mighty high in anti-microbial and anti-bacterial factors. To keep those properties intact, I add them after the liquid has been reduced and the decoction has been removed from the stove.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

The process is simple: add all the ingredients except the honey to your pot with water and simmer for about an hour until liquid is reduced.

Elderberry Cooking

I recommend taking one tablespoon every day as a preventive and every two to three hours if you feel a cold coming on.

As I mentioned, this is a a great preventive when combined with:

Simple Spiced Elderberry Syrup


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Yield: 2 cups

A simple home remedy to boost immune health and treat the common cold or flu

  • 1 cup fresh or ¾ cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh sliced ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup raw honey

Make It Like So
  1. Place elderberries, water, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.
  2. Remove from heat and using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, strain out mixture. Transfer liquid to a jar and stir in 1 cup of honey.
  3. Keep in the fridge sealed for 2-3 weeks.



43 Responses to “Simple Spiced Elderberry Syrup”

  1. Jacqueline said…
    Awesome recipe and thanks for sharing! I just made my second batch yesterday with the same ingredients. So much tastier than store bought, and seriously cheaper too! Plus you know the quality of ingredients.
  2. linda said…
    Can you expand on elderberries. I have an elderberry bush that freely started growing in my flower bed (how kind of it!!). It has the most fragrant flowers in the summer. Can I cook these, using this recipe or are these poisonous? You also mentioned D supplements and I wonder if you could do a video on supplements. I don't really think scared is the word but I stopped taking supplements because of the fillers in them and the fact that they are not regulated so I almost think they do more harm then good. Please advise.
    • luisa said…
      Elder flowers are very yummy and healthy. I make pancakes our of whole bunches of the flowers. You just make your favorite plain pancake butter (a bit on the runny side), dip a whole elder flower bunch into the batter, and immediately place on a hot, prepared frying pan. When the pancake is almost ready to flip, take your kitchen shears and snip off the stems sticking out of the batter. Flip and fry until golden on the bottom bottom. This is really delicious, try it. You can also make a syrup out of the flowers by layering snipped off blossoms with cane sugar and keeping in a glass jar until syrup forms and then straining out the blossoms. You can also make a tincture out of the blossoms. The possibilities go on and on. Enjoy the health benefits and amazing taste of this flower as well as the berries.
  3. June said…
    Do you know if this can be frozen and still keep nutrionals value?
  4. Ludivine said…
    What dosage would you use with kids? I have a store bought version of elderberry syrup and they recommend 1/4 tsp 3-4 times a day. Would that be about right for a 2 year old?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I would recommend contacting the company and asking them directly.
  5. Lindsay Bagshaw said…
    I accidentally put the honey in before I boiled it. Did I ruin it??
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      If you used raw honey, the nutritional properties of the honey are likely gone. But you'll still get the benefits of all of the other ingredients!
  6. Dona Morrison said…
    Would using less honey change the chemistry of the effectiveness? Thanks for sharing your knowledge!! ~Dona ***Haven’t searched yet but wondering if you’ve shared a good recipe(s) for chaga tea/tincture and/or infusion?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Raw honey has more nutritional value than pasteurized, but if you're concerned about sugar content you can certainly adjust the amount. I did a Facebook Live recently where I made elixirs, and the base was a chaga tea. You can see that here:
  7. Midhat said… October 2, 2018
    Hi. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I just have question about fermentation. Will this syrup ferment if kept in room temperature or it must be kept in refrigerator?
    • Yes, keep this in the refrigerator. The ingredients and process would be different if you wanted to make a fermented elderberry syrup.
  8. stephanie said… October 8, 2018
    mine boiled kinda dry i had 30 min left i added some water took off stove is is till safe to consume ? I know silly question but still . ty
    • I'm not sure if your syrup ended up burnt or not? It's hard to say without being able to see/smell what happened, so you'll have to trust your senses. For me, if there's any doubt, I throw it out.
  9. Joy said… November 4, 2018
    I have been making elderberry syrup for years and have always tossed the elderberries after straining them. Is there a use for the elderberry “sludge”?
    • Once you've simmered herbal concoctions, most of the constituents are in the liquid/syrup. You could use 'the sludge', but there wouldn't be a ton of nutritional value left. Perhaps throw it into a smoothie - or maybe dehydrate it and grind to a powder to use as a natural food colouring.
  10. Susan said… November 12, 2018
    I saw a recipe to make in instant pot. Would this effect the quality? Would it reduce like boiling? Thanks

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