With fall and winter just around the corner, cold and flu season is quickly approaching. If you’re looking for a simple, easy way to boost your family’s immune system this fall and winter, this is the perfect time to consider elderberry syrup. It is a great way to support your body and it’s safe for the whole family! 

While I have a nursing background, I lean towards trying natural medicine first and elderberry syrup is one of my favorite natural remedies to have in my tool box to combat sickness. 

In this blog post we will talk about the health benefits of elderberries and how you can make your own elderberry syrup at home. We will also discuss some of the other ways that you can help keep you and your family healthy this winter. 

What are Elderberries

Elderberries, or sambucus nigra, are small black berries that grow on small trees or shrubs and are native to Europe. They are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Raw berries contain a toxic substance that can be harmful to humans if ingested and it is necessary to cook them before consuming. There are a few things that can be done with the berries, but making an elderberry tea, a delicious syrup or an elderberry tincture are three of the most common ways. Due to the high amounts of Vitamin C and antioxidants, regular consumption of elderberry support can provide general immune support and combat flu symptoms. 

Where Can I Find Elderberries?

While you can find elderberry products in many grocery stores, it is important to be careful of the source as you want to use a high quality syrup and most commercial products are full of added sugar and other junk. If you would like to buy your elderberry syrup, consider checking your local health food store. Look for a  product with as few ingredients as possible, and look for something sweetened with maple syrup or honey. I prefer to make my own elderberry syrup so that I know exactly what is in it. It is also a little cheaper to buy the ingredients in bulk and then make syrup as I need it, which is another benefit. If you simply don’t have the time to make elderberry syrup yourself, I recommend the Earthly brand Elderberry Elixir or Adaptogenic Immunity Blend

What Can I used Elderberry Syrup For?

In addition to high amounts of Vitamin C and antioxidants, elderberries also contain powerful anti-viral properties making it an excellent natural flu remedy. In our home, I use elderberry syrup to treat sore throats, coughs, colds, runny noses, congestion, allergies – basically any time we are feeling yuck. At the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat, I start dishing out elderberry syrup and it often keeps symptoms from progressing and allows us to heal faster. 

How Do I Take Elderberries?

There are several trains of thought on this, but as a preventative measure,  I personally aim for myself and my family to consume elderberry syrup once daily, 5 days a week. When someone starts to feel sick, or if we know we have been exposed to illness, then we will increase our dose to twice a day. If we are acutely ill, I try to get at least three doses of elderberry syrup in the sick person. 

Only a small amount of syrup is necessary to be beneficial. I use about a teaspoon for each dose, but up to a tablespoon of elderberry syrup would be a safe dosage. Honestly, one of the things I love about natural medicine is that it is really hard to “overdose”, as long as you are consuming the syrup in reasonable quantities, you will be fine. I do recommend some caution though as elderberries consumed in large amounts can cause stomach upset. It is generally a good idea to start with small amounts and see how your body tolerates it. Some people really do not like the taste of elderberry and if this is you, I suggest two things: either try adding more honey to make it sweeter or use it combined with your favorite maple syrup and drizzle it over pancakes or waffles. 

Do be cautious with small children as babies under one year old should not consume raw honey due to the risk for botulism. You could either omit the honey in the syrup for children under one year of age, or if you are breast-feeding, consider increasing your own intake to support your baby.

Of course, if you have any concerns or a medical condition that you think would keep you from taking elderberry syrup, be sure to consult with your health care provider before using. 

Will I Get Sick If I Take Elderberry Syrup?

Keep in mind that while elderberry syrup is an excellent way to boost the immune system, it will not prevent every illness. In addition to taking elderberry syrup, I recommend that you focus on a diet high in protein, fruits, and vegetables and enjoy plentiful amounts of fresh air and sunshine as additional measures to combat sickness. Sleep is another powerful way to combat illness; aim to get at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night. I have found that focusing on diet, fresh air, exercise, sleep, and good supplements supports our bodies in a way to minimize sickness and shorten the duration of illness when we do get sick. 

While no one enjoys being sick, and it is incredibly difficult to watch your children be sick, not all sickness is bad. In fact, being exposed to common colds and viruses is one way that your body builds immunity and is stronger for the next wave of sickness you encounter. The body is incredible in the way that God designed it to heal itself. Give your body the right tools to prevent illness, but certainly don’t fear it. 

What are the Ingredients in Elderberry Syrup?

Elderberries – Quality, dried elderberries are the foundational ingredient to this recipe. I purchase these dried elderberries from Amazon and they will last for multiple batches of syrup. Store unused berries in an airtight jar and they will last for months. 

Cinnamon Sticks – Did you know that cinnamon has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties? With all those benefits its a great addition to your homemade syrup and it adds delicious flavor as well!

Whole Cloves – Cloves also have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties making them another great addition to your syrup. 

Honey – Raw honey has incredible health benefits and is an antioxidant as well as being anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, to name just a few things. If you can find raw local honey that’s even better. Many studies show that regularly ingesting local, raw honey can help reduce allergy symptoms. Honey in this recipe is not only added for the health benefits, but is used to sweeten the syrup as well. 

Water – Water is your liquid base in this recipe. 

• Additional add-ins – Rose hips, lemon juice, and star anise are some other common ingredients found in elderberry syrups. All of them have additional health benefits as well as the potential to add delicious flavor to your syrup. 

Elderberry syrup is a delicious, easy way to boost your immune system and help maintain good health. It can be used to treat a variety of cold and flu symptoms and is an incredibly beneficial supplement to add to your natural medicine cabinet. I hope you’ll take the time either source and buy or make your own elderberry syrup so that you will be prepared the next time a family member gets sick. 

Elderberry Syrup


  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 1/3 cup honey


  • Combine three cups of water, dried elderberries, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a sauce pan over medium heat. If you're adding rose hips or star anise, you can also add that now.  
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and let simmer for 45 minutes. Watch it closely, if too much liquid evaporates, you can add a little more water.
  • After is has simmered for 45 minutes. Pour the water/elderberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a glass measuring cup to separate the berries from the liquid. Use a wooden spoon or the back side of a measuring cup to squish all of the elderberry juice out.
  • Cool to room temperature. Stir in honey to taste.
  • Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to six months. Some sediment will settle at the bottom and that is normal, if it starts to taste "bubbly" it has probably gone bad and you should make a new batch. 


– It’s important to let the elderberry syrup cool before adding the honey or the heat can kill the beneficial properties of the honey. 
– If the elderberry flavor is too weak or too strong for your taste, try adding a few more or few less berries at the beginning. Play around with the ratios until you have a delicious elderberry syrup that you enjoy.

Elderberry syrup is a delicious, easy way to boost your immune system and help maintain good health. It can be used to treat a variety of cold and flu symptoms and is an incredibly beneficial supplement to add to your natural medicine cabinet. I hope you’ll take the time either source and buy or make your own elderberry syrup so that you will be prepared the next time a family member gets sick. 

*This is not to be considered medical advice. Consult with a trusted healthcare provider before starting any new supplement and always  pursue medical treatment for concerning signs or symptoms. 

* Some links in this post may be affiliate links and I will make a small commission when you shop through my link (with no extra cost to you!). Thanks for supporting my small business. 

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