For The Greater Goods (sm)

Elderberry Syrup Recipe for Combating Flu Season

Now that summer has almost ended and most of our kiddos are back in school, there is one thing looming on my mind… the dreaded flu season.  I love it when the kids go back to school, but what I DON’T love is what they elderberry-syrup-recipeBRING home from school: GERMS!   With all the onslaught of germs comes the sniffles, pukes, night time coughing and fevers… and what I hate even more is that after one kid gets sick, the other ones soon do too… and it seems to go on forever.  Even me, who prided myself on not getting sick had to drag myself to my N.D. last year when I got the flu for the first time in 6 years (and it took me down…hard!).  At the end of my appointment my N.D. typed up my “prescriptions” and first thing on the list was Elderberry Syrup.

He began to tell me that a study was done between Tamiflu (a well-known flu medication) and elderberry syrup comparing how they treat the flu and elderberry syrup knocked Tamiflu out of the park!  Elderberries contain a ton of healthy properties (including antioxidants, tannins, vitamins A, B, and C, flavonoids, and much more), which help strengthen the immune system, which makes elderberry syrup very effective in treating the flu.  But to buy elderberry syrup through my N.D. or health food store it seemed to run anywhere from $15-$20 for a 4-8 oz. bottle.  I thought that was a little steep so I decided I wanted to save some money and take a stab at making my own.  I did and I was able to make 2 batches (of 16 oz. or more) in what it cost for a 4-8 oz. bottle.  What’s even better is that elderberry syrup tastes delicious!  It’s not a syrup I have to fight my children to take…they ask for it!  Now let’s get started with the recipe!

Elderberry Syrup Recipe



  • 2/3 cup dried elderberries
  • 3-3 1/2 cup water (distilled, spring or filtered is best, preferably not tap water)
  • 2 tbsp. of one of the following : garlic (chopped), Ginger root, dried echincacea)
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks or powder
  • 1 tsp. dried whole cloves or 1/2 tsp clove powder  (optional)
  • 1 cup raw or local honey or local honey

Step 1: Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan.


Step 2: Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 45-50 minutes. (I was busy with my toddler and mine simmered for around 60 minutes, and it was fine) The liquid will reduce a bit, and that’s perfectly normal.


Step 3: Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture, I used a fine strainer here but I have also used a nut milk bag and was able to squeeze a lot more juice out, I was a just a little lazy this time around.


Step 4: Now that the liquid is cooled down a bit, stir in your honey.  We do this here because if we did this step in the beginning when the liquid is very hot it would kill all those important flu fighting enzymes in the honey.


There you have it your very own, flu fighting Elderberry Syrup!


Standard dosage for prevention:

Babies – Under the age of 1 should not take syrup which contains honey.

Kids – 1/2 -1 tsp. a daily

Adults – 1/2 tbsp. – 1 tbsp. daily

When the onset of flu or colds strike take normal dosages every 2-3 hours until symptoms are gone. Elderberry syrup stored in a glass container, tightly in the refrigerator will last up to two months!

Not into making Syrup. Try this Elderberry Juice and here are some other good immune boosting supplements!

*Note:  In my recipe above I used garlic.  I usually use grated ginger or dried Echinacea. I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste with the garlic so I decided that  I would grate some organic orange zest purely for flavor.  Using the garlic did change the flavor profile but thankfully the kids still like it…just wouldn’t want to pour it over my pancakes.  Experiment with the flavors you like!

Do The Math: Making Your Own Elderberry Syrup vs. Buying It

I want to show you how much I spent making this flu fighting syrup I want to break it down for you.

  • 2/3 c dried Elderberries = $3.40 (1.70 an oz. at my local herb store)
  • Spices combined (unless you are using Echinacea root then it might be a little more) = less than $1.00
  • 3 c Distilled water= $0.25
  • Raw honey = $3.50 (depending on honey brand you use it could be more or less)

Total= $8.15

That’s a HUGE savings compared to this and you should yield around 190 tsp or 60 Tbsp per batch!

Oh, one more time with the reminder: I’m not a health care professional (yet, starting school next week though, yippee!) and this blog post does not take place of any medical advice. If you have questions, please consult your health care professional.

Here’s to a healthy flu season!   Don’t forget to drink your water.  Good tip is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day (for example: if you weight 150lbs drink 70 ounces of water)!

Share with us in the comments what you do to help keep your immunity up during the flu season!

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I'm a firm believer that you are what you eat and I want to be fresh, local, organic and healthy! I've spent a lifetime experimenting with natural foods, different diets and ways of eating, and have settled on the food philosophy that Michael Pollan expresses so well: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I'm passionate about organic foods, natural living, cooking healthy meals, and improving my health on a daily basis.

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