Flu Prevention: Elderberry Syrup!

DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Even though I work in a hospital, I do not turn to medication to treat or prevent illness in my family. In fact, my children have never even had antibiotics! In my granola mama journey to achieve optimum health for my babies, I have focused more-so on prevention and it seems to have paid off with some very healthy little ones. This flu season has hit…HARD. I see it both at work and out in the community. I decided to take action and keep it out of my home. I came across this recipe for Elderberry syrup and just had to make it immediately!

Why is elderberry syrup healthy? Because elderberries….

  • are very high in vitamin A
  • have more vitamin C than oranges
  • are very high in quercitin (an antioxidant)
  • are anti-inflammatory
  • possess antiviral properties that have been shown to treat colds and flu



  • Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey because the heat will destroy many of its medicinal benefits)
  • Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.


  • At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled
  • Pour through a strainer into a glass bowl



  • Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm
  • When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well
  • When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind (I used an old dressing bottle)


  • Standard dose is 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp for kids and 1/2 Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults
  • If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear
  • Store in the fridge, it will last several months!
  • Also, it tastes great on pancakes or ice-cream!


Take THIS not THAT


Just a few words on the alternative…

Back in 2008, the FDA started reviewing reports of abnormal behavior and disturbing brain effects in more than 1,800 children who had taken Tamiflu. The symptoms included convulsions, delirium and delusions. In Japan, five deaths were reported in children under 16 as a result of such neurological or psychiatric problems. Seven adult deaths have also been attributed to Tamiflu, due to its neuropsychiatric effect. According to a 2009 study, more than half of children taking Tamiflu experience side effects such as nausea and nightmares. Other more rare and bizarre side effects have also been reported, such as the case of a 19-year old British girl who developed toxic epidermal necrolysis and blindness after taking Tamiflu last year.” (Mercola.com)


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Leave a Reply

  1. Hi I just found your blog and love it. Can you use dry elderberries? I can’t find fresh ones. Can you recommend where to find fresh organic elderberries? I was going to order dry elderberries from Mountain Rose Herb Company. Thanks

    • I use dry elderberries. I just soak them in distilled water to reconstitute the night before. I drain them, saving the liquid! The liquid that was not needed to puff up the berries again should be used as the water to boil them in – just measure it so the proportions are correct.

  2. Kate I read something about Sambucol being effective yet different than plain elderberry syrup. Do you know anything about it? What are your thoughts?

  3. Hi,
    I just made this with fresh black elder berries that I picked. I ended up with a greater volume of syrup because they were a lot juicier than I anticipated! I’m looking forward to giving this to my family, but do you know if it’s safe for me to give it to a 19 month old? She starts daycare on Tuesday and I’d love her to be able to take it.

  4. Hey there, since I became a mom 4 years ago, I have been digging around for information on raising a well family. I am excited I found this blog! My question is how different is store bought ground cloves and cinnamon (in the spice aisle) from what you have linked here? I recently started making my own shampoo and lotion, and as you know, starting out takes a lot of money so I can’t really afford to order a whole stock of supplies. *I understand that store bought clove powder won’t be organic, but will it have the same benefits?*

  5. I love this recipe! I haven’t made it yet, but I’m on a clinical rotation (last year of Doctor of Pharmacy program) at an online resource and database that focuses on complimentary and alternative medicine and I looked into the ingredients of this syrup and there are actual studies with some evidence of the effects of elderberry on influenza. There are studies that suggest cyanide toxicity can occur if the elderberries are not cooked thoroughly though. Not enough published evidence exists to make a recommendation about taking this during pregnancy.

  6. Hi! I just found your blog and I love it! Thank you! We were recently transferred to Canada for business so I’m having a hard time finding some of the ingredients (Canada’s Amazon website doesn’t have a lot of options). I did however find Elderberry Concentrate that I would like to use until I find dried elderberries. How would you suggest I use it for my kids (I have 15 month old twins and a 4 year old)? Should I still mix it will all the other ingredients in your recipe and boil? The instructions suggest to stir with warm or cold water before drinking. Any ideas?

    • As I am not familiar with the product I can’t give advice on dosing. But you should just be able to follow the instructions on the box? I would definitely dilute it. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

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  9. Great recipe. The only thing I would suggest is to use Ceylon Cinnamon sticks which has low Coumarin levels (compared to Cassia Cinnamon) which can damage your liver. OK, admittedly this is a small amount of Cinnamon, but if you are using good honey, I say use good Cinnamon.

    I generally prefer to use whole Cinnamon sticks, especially with Ceylon Cinnamon because the powder has usually lost its efficacy from being exposed to sunlight and being in storage for so long. And this is a great recipe where you can use the sticks.

  10. Hello there fellow RN, I am making this wonderful recipe and the amazing fragrance is filling my home. After such a long time of boiling how much of the beneficial ingredients are still present, do you know?

    • Actually, cooking the Elderberries is what makes them beneficial. They can be toxic if eaten raw in large amounts. Adding the honey at the end makes sure that the honey remains nutritionally intact. It does smell very good when cooking :)

  11. thanks for a great post, I just followed your link to get the elderberries and honey, but have you ever made this with fresh ginger? I have some organic ginger sitting here, and am wondering about using that instead. If so, would I change the quantities? thanks again!

  12. Can you store the extra dry elderberries in the cabinet or do you need to freeze them to keep them fresh? (I’m making my first batch of syrup right now! Yay!)

    • I cannot speak from experience, but I would think if you divide it into 48 doses (approximately how many gummies the recipe makes) and add that amount, substituting juice foe the liquid (if it’s less than 1/4 cup). Make sense. That’s how I would do it. But again, I have not tried it myself…

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  14. Last time I made elderberry syrup I just used elderberries, water and honey. This recipe gave it a lot more flavor! The kids said it tasted much better! Thank you!

  15. I bought the dried elderberry powder from Mountain Rose Herbs instead of the whole berries. I tried making someone else’s recipe but didn’t reduce the syrup by half only simmering for 20 minutes. It didn’t turn into a syrup.

    I’m going to try your recipe. I’m hoping the powder versus whole doesn’t make much of a difference and I actually get a syrup this time. Oh and the kids did not like the ginger in the mix. I’ll try leaving it out this time.

  16. Hello… I made this tonight and think I did something wrong. It seems really liquidy, (I had it on low for an hour) also the taste is SUPER strong. I am not sure my son will take it. I put some organic stavia drops in to sweeten it up but should it be very liquidy or more syrupy?

  17. Is it possible to use instead of the dried elderberries, frozen ones? I haven’t been able to buy the one online but I know Trader Joe’s carries the frozen ones. Thanks :)

  18. I’ve been adding this with some tart cherry juice to my glass of seltzer water each night – very tasty! Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to try making it with clove, cinnamon, and ginger essential oils when I run out of this batch :)

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  20. I plan on making this for my husband and me to take and I was wondering when my baby can start taking it. He’s 6.5 months. I know he can’t have the honey, but what if I left that out?

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  22. I am making my first batch if this right now and I have a few questions. I read through most of the other posts to seek answers, but still have a few questions. Can this be given to a 23 month old or is it for 2 and up? Also, we do vaccinate on a delayed schedule, do you think that this would interfere too much with her immune system, as we have a big vaccination coming up next month.I myself have an autoimmune disease kind of like lupus and have read that it may not be a good idea for me to take this. Do you know anything about that? I am not sure if you have any of these answers, but I figured I would ask. Thanks for a great recipe,

    • Well, I am not licensed to give medical advice. But, I can say that I gave it to my kids when they were <2 years old. I am not sure what to tell you about autoimmune disease and how this might affect it. You might need to google search it. Sorry I could not be of more help.

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