When the holidays roll around, that usually signifies cold and flu season and time to stock up on elderberry syrup and all the herbs. And this was just the case for me last week. I’ve been hearing of sicknesses going around and it hit a little too close to home when my son came home sick one evening. So the herbalist in me came out and we started taking all of the flu and covid (viral infection) protocols. (Get all my supplement and essential oil protocols here.) But I realized I needed to stock up and make some elderberry syrup.
Elderberry has long been used as a natural remedy for the flu in Israel, which is where the commercial elderberry Sambucol originated 1. Many studies have since been done on elderberry and the results have been consistently positive.
One study cited,
Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza 2
Another study on elderberry and covid stated:
Analyzing the potential antiviral mode of action of phenolic compounds, it was shown that the flavonoids present in elderberry fruits can directly bind to H1N1 Influenza virus particles, thereby inhibiting the entry of the virus into the host cells3
Why Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries themselves are bitter although when dried or cooked they are not quite as bitter. And elderberries, when consumed in large amounts can upset the digestive system resulting in diarrhea. All of this to say, most people would not want to just eat raw elderberries. But made into a syrup or mixed with other herbs, this berry becomes a potent powerhouse against flu and viral infections.
How to Take Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry syrup, and even elderberry jam, is common in Europe and many people eat it regularly meaning it is generally considered safe. With that approach in mind, we will usually take 1 tsp a day during cold and flu season or if we know we have been exposed. If one of us does get sick, the rest of the family will take 1 tsp morning and night to prevent getting sick. And when we are fighting a viral infection, we will take 1 tsp at least 3 times a day up to 5 times a day.
Making Elderberry Syrup
Why make elderberry syrup when you can buy Sambucol or some other prepared syrup or gummy? First, the gummies tend to have way too much sugar! I don’t like the idea of consuming sugar with my herbs every day and especially when I am sick. Studies have shown that sugar will lower the immune system and if I am fighting something, I need my immune system working at top performance. Second, prepared elderberry syrups are expensive! They are convenient in a pinch. But I can make enough elderberry syrup to last the whole winter for not much more than I could purchase 1 bottle at the store. That’s a no brainer to me. And it’s so easy that even my kids can make it! So don’t worry, you can make it also- even if you “don’t cook”. 😉
Where to Buy Elderberries and Supplies
- Elderberries can be bought from Amazon here
- Flour sacks are cheapest at Walmart. or get them from Amazon here.
- Cinnamon sticks
Hoping you health and wellness and a toolbox full of herbal remedies to support you in the journey!
- 1 mason jar
- 1 flour sack or thin cloth You will use this to strain out the berries and herbs
- 2/3 cup dried elderberry
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp dried ginger if using fresh, double amount
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 cup raw honey
- 1 tbs real vanilla extract make sure no water or additives
Heat the ingredients
- Place the elderberries, water and all spices except honey and vanilla into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Once it reaches a boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by half. About 30-45 min.
- Occasionally stir to make sure berries don't stick or burn.
Strain and Sweeten
- Once liquid has reduced to about half, remove from heat and allow to cool so that it is warm but will not burn to the touch.
- Using a spoon, mash berries to retain juice.
- Using a thin cloth (I use a flour sack), strain out all herbs and berries, making sure to squeeze berries to get all juice from them.
- Once all berries and herbs are strained out, mix in honey and vanilla extract with remaining liquid.
- Once honey is incorporated well, pour into a mason jar, seal with a lid, and store in the refrigerator.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15080016/ ↩︎
- Roschek, B., Jr.; Fink, R.C.; McMichael, M.D.; Li, D.; Alberte, R.S. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry 2009, 70, 1255–1261. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed] ↩︎