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Homemade elderberry syrup to fight cold & flu viruses

Homemade elderberry syrup for cold & flu season

NOTE: As we welcome Lucas Isaiah to our family and adjust to life as a family of eight, I’ll be sharing some of my very favorite posts from the thousands of posts in our archives. I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed reading back through them once again!

Last week, I started coughing on Tuesday night and woke up with what I think was bronchitis on Wednesday morning. I haven’t had bronchitis since I was little, and I turned into a bit of a whiny baby, I’m afraid.

I knew I didn’t want to endure it for any longer than necessary, so I immediately upped my dosage of Vitamin D3 and whipped up some elderberry syrup for the whole family.

In the world of natural medicine, elderberry syrup has to be among the easiest remedies to make. It uses just a few ingredients, is easy to prepare and the sweetness from the honey makes it a favorite among our girls as well.

Elderberries have been used medicinally for thousands of years, and elderberry syrup has been shown to be effective in reducing the duration of cold and flu viruses both through experience and anecdotal evidence and through small scale scientific studies.

If you’re pregnant or taking diuretics, diabetes medications, chemotherapy, laxatives, theophylline (TheoDur) or immunosuppressants, please talk to your doctor before using elderberry syrup, as there may be drug interactions with these medications, and some sources report that pregnant women should not use elderberry.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Original recipe from Herbal Nurturing by Michele Augur


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dried elderberries
  • 2 tablespoon dried rose hips
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried ginger root
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 2 tablespoon dried echinacea, optional
    *echinacea should only be used when you’re sick and need it, not as a preventative, to prevent becoming immune to its benefits


Combine water, elderberries, rose hips, ginger root, cinnamon stick and echinacea (if using) in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In the meantime, add honey to a jar or bowl. I like to use a jar because I can give it a good shake each day without worrying about drips or spills.

Using a mesh strainer over your jar or bowl (I love this funnel from Bulk Herb Store), strain your herb mixture until it stops dripping. Discard the herbs.

Put the top on tightly and give the mixture a good shake to mix the honey in. Store in the refrigerator.


  • adults: 2-4 teaspoons/day
  • children: 1-2 teaspoons/ day
  • infants: honey should not be given to infants under 1 years old


Please note that I’m not a doctor. This is what’s worked for our family, but you should do your own research and contact your physician with any questions!

Have you ever purchased or made elderberry syrup?

**originally posted in January 2012