Elderberry Syrup to Build Immunity

Reader Contribution by Nicole Wilkey
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As a follow-up to my previous article on ‘Master Tonic’ {also known as Fire Cider}, below is my go-to recipe for Elderberry Syrup. A proven elixir of elderberries, spices and often, raw honey, to help fight off the cold and flu.  Also known as ‘Sambucus’, many people swear by elderberry syrup during the winter months, either as a preventative measure when germs are flying around or to lessen the duration and severity of an existing infection.

Are you looking this season to try out more herbal remedies and want to start with a recipe that is simple to prepare? This is a great place to start, quick, easy and effective.

According to herbwisdom.com, elderberries are full of antioxidants and bioflavonoids that destroy the ability of certain viruses to infect healthy cells. They also contain tannins, carotenoids, rutin, viburnic acid, anthocyanins, quercetin, vitamins A, B and high amounts of vitamin C. In addition to being helpful for colds and flu, elderberry has also been shown to lower cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, improve vision, act as a laxative, a diuretic, a diaphoretic, be antibacterial and antiviral.

Elderberries grow wild and are common throughout North America and Europe. If you are foraging for elderberry in the wild, it is important to know that many uncooked berries, unripe berries and other plant parts of certain varieties may be poisonous. Always pick ripe berries and cook them in a recipe such as this. Sambucus nigra, or commonly known as Black Elderberry, is the only variety known to be non-toxic when used raw, which may be helpful information should you decide to cultivate your own elderberry patch.

If you are not foraging for your own berries, there are many quality dried elderberry options available online to make your own syrup for a fraction of the cost that you will pay at a health food store. We are all about DIY here at Flicker Farm whenever we can, and this recipe is too quick and too easy to not cook up some of your own medicine. I have also found this syrup to be very kid friendly!


3/4 cup organic elderberries
3 cups of water
1 organic cinnamon stick
1 tsp organic ground ginger
4 organic whole cloves {optional}
1 cup of raw and unfiltered honey**


1. Add water, elderberries, cinnamon stick, ground ginger and cloves to a pot over medium-high heat. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer this mixture for about 30 minutes or until dark in color and reduced or thickened.

2. Set the reduced syrup aside to cool. You want it to cool down before adding the raw honey so that you don’t kill off any of the natural enzymes found in raw honey- warm is fine, hot is not. Once the syrup is cooled, strain the solids and add 1 cup of the raw and unfiltered honey to the syrup and mix to combine. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Take 1 tablespoon daily though the winter months, or as needed as a preventative measure. If you are currently sick, try 1 tablespoon, 3-4 times per day until you are feeling healthy again. You can drink the syrup straight or mix into smoothies, warm tea, water, or juice.

**If you are on a low/no sugar diet, you could omit the honey and use an alternative natural sweetener such as stevia. It should be said though, that raw honey has its own healing properties that may aid in recovery.

This recipe makes approximately 18 oz of elderberry syrup. Cheers to health!

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