BOOST - Elderberry syrup

Life is rushing by at the moment, but I thought I'd drop in and say type "Hi"!  Afterall, if I had enough time yesterday to clean out my herbal cabinet, then I certainly have enough time to come here and talk about it, right?

Isn't it orderly?

I got a call from a distraught mama who wanted some Elderberry Syrup for her little one who has been battling an on again/off again cold for a few weeks.  Oddly enough I was planning on making a large batch soon, so my herbal helpers and I hopped to it.

Organic elder berries and elder flowers

Then today I got two more calls requesting it.   Got me thinking...hmm....I already have all the info typed up from a class I offered earlier this year, so I thought I'd share it with the blogosphere.  After all, it's quite simple to make and really does help boost your immunity.  Yeah, that's why I call it BOOST.  Clever, huh?


Elder-Berry Immunity Syrup

Elder has long been touted as a healing plant in many lands and for thousands of years! The flowers and berries are the parts of the plant most commonly used. Pure Elder flower tea is wonderful medicine for treatment of colds and flu. Did you know that research has shown that the influenza virus has tiny spikes that it uses to invade healthy cells…the Elderberry disarms this action within 24-48 hours. As if that weren’t enough, it actually improves antibody formation against the influenza virus, ensuring stronger immunity!! That’s one tough berry!

So here’s the recipe for the Elder Syrup that I make. This is a staple in any Herbalist’s kitchen and there are many slight variations.

1 cup dried elder berries

½ cup elder flowers

4 TBS fresh diced ginger.

4 cups water

1 cup honey (you can use vegetable glycerite if you are not into honey)

¼ brandy or any other 80 proof alcohol.
**You do not need to add the brandy, in fact I rarely do because a) we use it fast enough that there's no need to preserve it longer and b) my kids take at least a tsp a day during the cold/flu season...that'd be a lot of booze.  Ha Ha!   Seriously though...if you're making a large batch just for your family, then go ahead and add the bit of brandy to extend it's shelf life a bit.

In a small saucepan simmer the water and elder (both berries and flowers) on med-low heat for 30 min. Crush the berries well and strain through a cloth, squeezing every last bit of juice from them. Return the juice to the pan and add the ginger. Simmer 10 min. covered. Strain ginger from liquid and reduce liquid to 1 cup on low heat. Remove from heat and pour the honey in, stirring to dissolve it (about 2 min). Add the brandy (if using). Cool and bottle.  Store in the refrigerator and it will keep for 3 months (5 months if you add the brandy).  If it smells "off" throw it out though, ok?  Good.  Oh, also go read my disclaimer at the bottom of the blog, ok? Great.

Dosage: Take 1 tsp a day as a tonic, or 1tsp 3 times a day if sick. This dosage is safe for both kids and adults. Not for children under 1 due to the honey. Make a tea instead! Elder syrup can be used as a gentle laxative if needed.  Never eat uncooked elder berries.

So go forth and make some this know you want to.

What's your favorite natural immunity booster?


  1. Hi Laura,

    Love the sound of the syrup - would love to try making some. Quick question . . . there are elderberries all over the village ripe for picking. How would you suggest I dry them out?

    Hope all's well.


  2. I made a similar Elderberry syrup recently. My middle son likes it mixed with water as a juicy treat. I'm convinced it's helped him avoid the minor colds the rest of us have been dealing with.

  3. interesting....i am sure i will be referring back to this as the weather turns colder..

  4. oh i wish i thought of this before, when elderberries and elder flowers were bountiful around here. it would have inspired me to get on with it and do this. so distracted by other things....

    i'll bookmark it for next year.

    thanks for sharing.

  5. I just wrote down your recipe. Thank you! We are all sick here.

  6. Where can I get dried elderberries? This sounds wonderful and much cheaper than the small bottle of elderberry syrup I bought for $18! It will last the 5 of us like 3 days! Thanks for any info! :)~rachel

  7. i had a quick question, do think the elderberry syrup would be safe during pregnancy? i am looking for alternatives to help support me during my pregnancy, and i'd really like to take this too. i did end up making it so my son can have it, as we await the dreaded cold season here to begin! thank you sooooo much for the recipe :) kim

  8. Hi Eve - Since you do NOT live in a dry sunny environment (sorry!) try getting your hands on a dehydrator. Any quality will do for drying the berries. have fun!

    Rachel - Yes, it is so very overpriced in the store isn't it? I buy my organic elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs online. Good prices and a wonderful company!

    Kim - I cannot advise you to take this during pregnancy because I am not a doctor and don't feel comfortable telling you that....but....I CAN say that I take it while pregnant and nursing and have no ill effects, so there ya go. :)

  9. thanks! i did some poking around and that seems to be the general advice, that many have taken it while pregnant, so I will decide at my own risk :) thanks again - kim

  10. thanks for the info! I am so excited to try to make it myself:) by the way...your cheesy kale chips recipe is the BEST one we have found! love it!

  11. LOVE your herbal cabinet! Perhaps you'll give us a guided tour someday? *hint*

    Elderberry syrup is a staple in my house during cold and flu season. In fact, I foraged some wild elderberries this summer and made my own Elderberry Syrup too, so I'm ready for any nasty bugs that come my way!

  12. Oh Laura -I NEED and will make my own sometime this year, but if you have any left over from your batch you know I'm always in need of some Boost :) Let me know if you have any.


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