How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Colds and Flu

Posted · 31 Comments


It’s the season of elderberries.  Clusters of berries that grow heavily on bushes that can reach up to 10′ tall.

Many people grow these bushes at home while others forage for the berries in the wild.

If you do try your hand at foraging for these berries, make sure you harvest ripened black berries.  There is an imposter out there with red berries which are quite poisonous.

These berries are not as sweet as a raspberry or blueberry, however, they share a mild sort of sweetness similar to that of a wild mulberry or marionberry.

The elderberry can be used in many ways.  Baked in pies, crumbles and tarts or frozen and mixed in sorbets, ice-cream and slushies.  For the homesteader, elderberries are processed and made into jams and sweet syrups.

The use that I have found most intriguing is its cold and flu remedy.


Elderberries have been used traditionally for centuries throughout Europe, North America and Western Asia for its medicinal properties.

It was used to treat infection, remedy colds and flu and as a diuretic when stomach ailments arose.

Today it’s been tested and used for it’s antioxidant activity, to boost the immune system, lower cholesterol, for heart health and to improve vision.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been reading about its uses to fight winter time coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections.

A syrup is made and taken by the spoonful to reduce the length in time of colds and flu.

What I especially love about this treatment is that the syrup made is sweet as candy and something the children will actually enjoy to take.

Elderberry Syrup for Colds and Flu


This simple syrup can be made using fresh ripened elderberries or dried elderberries that you can find on Mountain Rose Herbs.



  1. 1 cup fresh, ripened elderberries
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1/2 – 1 cup raw honey


1. Remove berries from the stems making sure to keep as much of the branch and stems separated from the berries.  (Too large of a quantity can be poisonous)

2. In a sauce pan, add 1 cup berries and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Once the berries have simmered for a half hour, mash the berries with a potato masher.

3. Strain through a jelly bag to separate the juice from the berries skin and seeds.

4. Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup raw honey, stir well and store in a mason jar in the refrigerator.

This should keep for 2-3 months.


As a preventative, a tablespoon a day can be given to adults or a teaspoon a day to children.

At the first sign of illness, a tablespoon full every 2-3 hours for adults or a teaspoonful every 2-3 hours for children.

Have you used elderberry syrup to prevent and treat colds and flu during the wintertime? Please share your testimonials and experiences with us in the comments below.

31 Responses to "How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Colds and Flu"
  1. Look pretty tasty too…now this is what Mary Poppins should have given out!

  2. Laurie Neverman says:

    Sharing. :-)

  3. Irma says:

    I want to make elderberry syrup too. I’ll have to wait a few weeks though. Here in Scotland berries aren’t quite ripe yet. After the nasty flu of the past winter, I’m very keen to try something natural to prevent it.

  4. Simple Mama says:

    We’ve used commercial elderberry syrup for several years now. I purchased a large quantity of dried elderberries from Frontier Natural Foods this year with the intent to make elderberry syrup. I was going to make mine with vodka, but I like this idea better, because my son will most likely take it.

  5. Amber says:

    I love love love elderberry cordial! It’s the tastiest cure I’ve ever used for coughs and colds and flu…I look forward to using fresh one day, but dried berries (yes, from Mtn Rose Herbs!) are quite tasty as well. Great post!

  6. Cindy says:

    We get wild elderberries around here all the time and I make all sorts of things from them including Jam. We have found the best way to remove the berries is to run a fork through them kinda like a comb. They can be very time consuming when you are dealing with many many pounds of them.

  7. Tien says:

    That’s so funny. I have been wanting to make elderberry something for a year now. I finally got the courage to harvest them. I double checked with some friend and found out that I collected American elderberry. I just got done picking off 2 lbs of elderberry and decided to make elderberry juice. It’s very much a labor of love. It’s taken about 4 or 5 hours to pick the berries even with help. The elderberry concentrate at the store is expensive at $24/bottle. -Tien :)

  8. Noelle says:

    What a beautiful recipe! I love natural remedies!

  9. Cassandra says:

    When I was given this remedy my friend told me to put everything i a pot, so i do stems and all…it is much quicker than picking all of those tiny little berries off! I have been using it for years and swear by it.

  10. Diana says:

    Hi Diana,

    My goodness am I thrilled to find your blog! I too have Spanish parents (both) and was born and raised here in the US AND my name is Diana!

    I look forward to browsing your blog but just had to say HI!!



    • Diana Bauman says:

      Diana, How cool! What a small world, huh?! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by and I’m looking forward to chatting with you! Please stop by my facebook fan page… we can chat 😀

      • Diana says:

        Will do! I have to set up my facebook account though… I’m part Gallega… a little anti-social (I prefer private)!!!! 😀

  11. mothersweden says:

    I have been making a version of this for years. It’s an old Swedish cure. I keep mine in the freezer and spoon it out in a bit of water – hot or cold – or in a shot of vodka depending on the “patient”.

  12. This is so interesting, I love the idea of making my own natural medicines. I’ve been seeing all kinds of berries by the sides of the roads, but I’m not sure how to identify the elderberry.

  13. Sounds great, but you know what is amazing with elderberry syrup, 1 oz hendricks Gin, 1 oz elderberry syrup 5 slices of cucumber, shaken on ice with 2 oz of soda. Heavenly. But not for the kids. Medicinal after a crappy day at work!

  14. Paula says:

    We started making elderberry syrup about a year ago for coughs, colds, and flus. It works wonders. For us it seems to halt a cough within a few doses and a cold in less than 2 days. Great stuff.

  15. Corinne says:

    Do you use the same amount of dried berries as you do fresh, and then cook it the same?

  16. Allison Huhmann says:

    I just bought a bottle of elderberry concentrate at an amish store. How would I make the syrup from the concentrate? Thanks :)

  17. Anne says:

    I have used this recipe for years now and my family uses this year round for allergies and colds

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