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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 the belly and the nerves, and helps offset the blood sugar-altering effects 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 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.



54 Responses to “Simple Spiced Elderberry Syrup”

  1. Samantha bahtijar said…
    Can I use orgamic korintje cinnomon??
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I've never used that kind of cinnamon before, but I'll bet it would work!
  2. Jeff Rutkowski said…
    We have an abundance of wild elderberries here in the Adirondacks and this is a great way to use some of them. Here is a tip I have learned over the years: cut the berry bunches off the bush with scissors and put them in a large paper bag. You can easily pick 10 lbs in 15 minutes this way. Put the bag in the freezer without trying to get the berries off the stems. When I need some berries, I just knock the bag around some and scoop them up from inside the bag or pour them out while holding the mass of stems back in the bag. And if you freeze them in plastic bags they will not harden together like most berries and you can easily scoop out a cup or two from a gallon bag, even after they have been frozen for months.
  3. Great Recipe!Thanks for mentioning not to eat raw, have seen so many that fail to advise that and as a 9 year grower/seller I know how important it is to let new users know that.
  4. Joanne Parker said…
    I live in NC and would like to know if you sell elderberries. If so, how much. I am very interested in making this syrup Thank you
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Joanne! I don't sell elderberries, but you can check out your local grocery store or health food store to see if they are available where you live. You can also find dried elderberries online.
  5. Jaime-Ann Laidlaw said…
    Love love love elderberries. I make this for my kids and hubby but I prefer mine less sweet so I use less honey. Have you ever found using less honey affects the effectiveness of it? Just curious. (Thinking honey is mainly for the expectorant factor)
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I wouldn't say that I've noticed a huge difference using a little less honey. You can certainly adjust if you want it less sweet!
  6. Cythia Shady said…
    Can you use ground ginger? I ordered some thinking I was getting the ginger root.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Yes, you can use ground ginger. You'll probably need to use less - try 1 tbsp to start.
  7. Dan said…
    What do you think about adding turmeric to your elderberry syrup.
  8. Kathy said…
    Can I also make a cup of tea from the syrup?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      It would get quite diluted if you mixed the syrup with hot water and it wouldn't be a very flavourful tea. I prefer to take this on its own. However, it might work if you wanted to add a tablespoon to a cup of brewed tea.
  9. Andi Clem said…
    How much do you recommend giving 2 and 4 year olds daily?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I recommend working with a health practitioner for the right dosages for children, as dosage depends on their size as well as their health needs. Children may need a quarter, third or half of the adult dose so it's always best to check in with a practitioner.
  10. Erin said…
    Do you mash the berries after simmering and before draining?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      You don't need to mash anything, as they break down quite a bit.

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