How to Make Elder Berry Syrup {And the Benefits of Using it}

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I started making my own elder berry syrup a few years ago.  I remember the winter we started taking it no one in my family even got a cold (and we ALWAYS get colds).  I started with a very simple recipe and have added to it over the years.  You could easily leave out everything but the water and elderberry, but I like the benefits of all the ingredients (see bottom of post for why I use each ingredient).

What you'll need:

2 cups water
1/2 cup dried elder berries (or 1 cup fresh)
1-2 cinnamon sticks
1 T grated ginger (or dried/ground)
5 whole cloves (not cloves of garlic - the spice clove)
2-3 star anise (anise star pods)
1 cup local raw honey

These herbs and spices can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs, The Bulk Herb Store, or Vitacost.

What you'll do:

1.  Place the first 6 ingredients into a pot and simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half.

2.  Strain well.  You can put a towel over a colander or use a sieve to accomplish this.  After it's well strained you want to squeeze all the juice and goodness from the berries.  I remove the cinnamon sticks and star anise and place the rest into a cheesecloth for this step.  You can also use the back of a spoon to smash the berries into a sieve.  You want all the juice and goodness that you can get.

3.  Let the liquid cool to 90-100 degrees then add honey and stir.  Place in a glass container and store in the refrigerator for up to a few months.  You can add vodka to make it last even longer.


  • This recipe can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc.  
  • This will last several months.  If you want it to last even longer you could add some rum or vodka.  Ours has never gone bad though and I don't add the alcohol.
  • For prevention of illness and to boost the immune system adults should take 1 tablespoon daily and children should take 1 teaspoon daily. 
  • If illness should strike, adults can take 1 tablespoon 4-8 times daily and children should take 1 teaspoon 4-8 times daily.  It should be taken at the first sign of sickness.
  • It can be taken right from the spoon, mixed with water to make a tea, mixed with sparkling water, or eaten as any other syrup.
  • When elderberry is eaten as a raw fruit it could cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, but these effects are not as common when it is cooked.  My family has never experienced any of these.
  • It should not be given to anyone under the age of 1.
  • Don't want to make your own?  You can purchase it here.
Photo By: Geishaboy500
Benefits of each ingredient:

Elderberry - Elderberry is antiviral.  It is known to fight against influenza (especially when given within 24-48 hours).  Some evidence even suggest it can help with cancer, constipation, nerve pain, hay fever, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and other illnesses.  It's often referred to as "Nature's Tamiflu" and it improves the immune system.
Cinnamon - It has anti-fungal properties and can be used to lower pain when combined with honey.  It fights e-coli bacteria, can eliminate headaches and migraine, and it can help stabilize blood sugar.
Ginger - Ginger improves the absorption of nutrients in the body.  It has anti-inflammatory properties and can rid throat and nose congestion.
Cloves - They are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Cloves contain eugenol which is toxic against fungus, bacteria, yeast, and candida, and it has anesthetic and analgesic properties.
Star Anise - Star anise is the principle active ingredient in Tamiflu.  It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  It is used to treat asthma, dry cough, and bronchitis.  It can also promote sound sleep.
Local Raw Honey - Local honey can help build an immunity to seasonal allergies. It is full of minerals and vitamins and it aids in digestion.  Honey is a cough suppressant and contains antioxidants and photo-nutrients.

Other beneficial ingredients that can be added:

These herbs and spices can be found at Mountain Rose HerbsThe Bulk Herb Store, Amazon, or Vitacost.

You may also find these resources helpful:

Information I have provided is for entertainment purposes only and I am not providing medical, legal or other professional advice. As the reader you should reading and/or use any of the information you glean from this blog at your own risk.  :)  I have done a lot of research on this topic, but it does not mean that it is right for your family just because it is right for mine.

You should also know that I have included affiliate links in this post which means that if you purchase something through clicking some of the links in this post I will get a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.  Thank you for your support of this blog and my family.

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