Immune Boosting, Cold and Flu Fighting Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Not too long ago, my family was exposed to the flu. Last week my son was down for the count the whole week while my husband took one sick day from work. And all I could do was remember how I felt last year with the flu and how it seemed to never end. Being determined, I raced to the store to grab some elderberry syrup because I was not catching it. If I did, I was going to do what I could to lessen the symptoms and the duration of the dreaded illness.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is not something new for our family. We’ve been taking it for years, but I was out and had an order for dried black elderberries in the mail when the sickness hit our home. Making a batch of homemade elderberry syrup was already on my to do list because the store-bought brand tastes horrible to me because of the glucose syrup (corn syrup). But, I had to put aside my tastes so I could reap the benefits of the precious little black berries.

I am living proof, elderberry syrup works! After two teaspoons of the syrup, the scratchy feeling in my throat went away. For the next several days, I took upwards of 10 teaspoons each day and never had a symptom to rear its ugly head. My stubborn son refused his momma’s magical syrup and my husband gladly took it after spending most of the sick day in bed.

Elderberries are an actual food; they are used in jellies, jams, pies, and even wine. A yummy food with healthy benefits. Elderberry has a long history of being used in traditional medicine. Only the flowers and berries can be used, but the berries must be ripe and cooked if ingesting them. Unripe berries can be green or red depending on the variety. If you pick wild elderberry, BE SURE you know how to identify them.

There can be drug interactions when taking Elderberry with prescription medicines. Pregnant and nursing women are warned against taking them.

There should be no ill side effects when you properly take Elderberry. Although, it has been known to cause tummy problems when too much is ingested. Nothing too serious, you just won't want to leave the house. :)

I’ve not read anywhere about the length of time on taking Elderberry. Because of this, we only take it when we need to combat a cold or flu.  We also take it a couple of days before we know we are going to be in a large group of people for a long period of time.

Just a thought about honey. Children under a year old should not ingest honey. While you can certainly leave out the honey, the berries are so tart – almost bitter, a sweetener is needed. Look at using cane sugar as a sweetener.

Just a thought about elderberries. The seeds are bitter. If you mash the berries too much, you’ll give off the bitterness from the seeds.

Elderberry Syrup

  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup honey (cane sugar)


In a medium pot, bring water and berries to a boil. Turn down and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Strain the juice into a glass container (I use my large measuring cup). Little press on the berries with the back of a spoon, being careful not to crush the seeds. Allow the juice to cool. Add the honey and stir until mixed well. Store in a jar in the refrigerator.

Adult - 1 Tablespoon up to 4 times a day.
Child – ½ – 1 teaspoons up to 3 times a day.

Do you take elderberry syrup or another traditional medicine to combat a cold or the flu?

Disclaimer: I am NOT a healthcare provider. I am simply a wife and mom who is sharing what she has learned from research and a trial and error routine of finding healthy foods and all natural methods  for my family to enjoy.


  1. Thank you for sharing your recipe, Lori. I normally buy elderberry syrup during the cold and flu months, but I think I may have to order some berries and give it a try.

  2. The only elder berries I know of that grow here are tiny red berries, and they're inedible. I've never heard of elderberry syrup...learn something new every day!

  3. Deborah, it's one of those home remedies that actually work. You ought to look into it for your family.

  4. Hi, Denise! Yes, you need to give it a try. Making it is very easy.


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