Out of all my herbal medicine potions this one is truly a household favorite. Probably because it has a nice dose of honey and well that makes everything taste better, doesn't it?
Elderberry syrup is a wonderful natural elixir for supporting the immune and respiratory system. It’s also a great ally in fighting and reducing the duration of colds and flus. The beauty in making your own is it’s way more cost effective and you can add a lot more herbs to make it even more potent and flavorful.
The most commonly used elder variety is native to Europe and called sambucus nigra. We have two varieties here in North America–one is toxic and the other medicinal. Edler canadensis, the medicine of choice for North America grows on low soils, flowers in mid-summer and has dark purple berries. In herbal medicine, we use the leaves, flowers and berries, which blend perfectly in syrup to provide an abundance of support for your immune system.
Compounds in the berries help block receptor sites that viruses use to get into your cells while the flowers act as a natural antihistamine to provide relief for colds, flu and allergy symptoms.
Its specific for colds, fever, flu, nausea, hay fever, tonsillitis, sinusitis, rheumatism, coughs and sore throats.
Below is the recipe I made this year. Note: I make changes to it each year and it just depends on what herbs I have on hand. It has a number of immune boosting herbs to support you through the fall and winter.
Feel free to make it your own by playing with different immune boosting herbs. It can also be as simple as using dried elderberries, ginger and a cinnamon stick. I use a little a splash of brandy as I mail some to family members and it gives it a little extra preservative power. Honey is preserving it so you can certainly omit the brandy. Store in fridge. Will last several months....if not consumed by then!
And it’s a wonderful addition to oatmeal, pancakes and waffles!
1 ½ cups dried elderberries
1 Tbsp ginger
1 Tbsp licorice
1 Tbsp dried orange peel
1 Tbsp reishi (ground)
1 Tbsp astragalus
1 Tbsp edler flower
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4-5 cups of water
16 oz Raw honey
2-3 Tbsp of brandy (optional)
- Pour water into medium saucepan and add all the herbs (do not add honey!)
- Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer until the liquid has reduced by almost half (may take over an 1 hour). Generally I simmer for 1 hour and infuse for 1 hour. Remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour decoction through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
- Discard the elderberries and herbs (compost if you can!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add equal amount of honey (1:1 ratio of liquid to honey) and stir well. This is where you can add some brandy as an extra preservative.
- When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into clean dry glass bottles of some kind.
Now, you've just made homemade elderberry syrup!
Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties.
*Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.