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Elderberry Syrup (colds/flu)



Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to help strengthen the immune system, elderberries are often made into a syrup to help combat sickness, support the respiratory system and reduce fever. It is a natural remedy commonly favored and used by children.


Elderberries have been reported historically to soothe the intestines. They contain compounds that inhibit the enzyme flu viruses use to penetrate our cell membranes, and also have an action that helps to prevent the virus from invading respiratory tract cells. For this reason, elderberries have become a much-loved support for families to use during times of illness. 





Elderberry Syrup 

prep 5 mins

cook 1 hour

inactive 15 mins

total 1 hour, 20 mins

yield 4 cups


  • 2/3 cup dried black elderberries, or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen  (I have used these or these)

  • 3½ cups water

  • 2 TBSP fresh ginger root ( I use about a 1 inch piece pealed and left whole) or 1/4 tsp dried ginger

  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional) 

  • ½ tsp cloves or 1/4 tsp ground cloves

  • 4 Echinacea tea bags (I use 1 TBSP of  this )  (optional)

  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (optional, but adds great benefits)  

  • 1/4-1/2 cup raw honey (add to taste)

  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon (if using), cloves and tea (if using).

  2. 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.

  3. Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.

  4. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.

  5. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.

  6. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.

  7. When it is no longer hot, add the honey and vinegar (if using) and stir well.

  8. When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.

  9. Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.



Instant Pot option: Put all ingredients in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain.



Standard dose:  ½ tsp - 1 tsp for kids and ½ - 1 tablespoon for adults. 

Cold/Flu:  take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.


Keep in refrigerator for up to 6 months


Lara's notes-  I double this recipe and it makes about 6 cups for me.   I personally don't care for the cinnamon so I leave that out, I do use the vinegar which makes it more tangy.  I don't like a lot of honey just enough to counter act the vinegar.  My version isn't sweet and yummy, if you have little ones perhaps leave out the vinegar and make it more sweet.  Others have left out the tea and vinegar and made more of a syrup that could be used on pancakes and waffles.  Our family takes this just as a medicine at the end of Summer or early Fall to ward off any flu/ cold bugs.  We take it through the winter and into early spring if necessary.  







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