We’re finally on the mend after two weeks of a bad cold traveling through our family. I feel like the minute the first boots and sweater weather arrives all of North Carolina school children catch something awful.
I’m grateful for all my mama friends who’ve taught me home remedies and mentored me through a journey of learning wellness tricks. I discovered elderberry syrup through my friend Christine about four years ago, and it’s become a necessary staple in my fall and winter wellness arsenal.
Elderberries (Sambucus in Latin) are very high in antioxidants, flavanoids, and vitamins (especially C). These and other properties help boost the immune system and fight cold, flu, virus and bacterial infections. It’s a fantastic remedy since it’s a catch-all for fighting both viral and bacterial junk.
Elderberry syrup is the extracted liquid from boiling the elderberries. When you add other immune boosting and cold fighting properties like cinnamon, clove, ginger, and raw honey, you create a powerhouse tonic that can prevent illness and fight illness for the whole family.
There are tons of recipes on Google and Pinterest you can follow. Below is the recipe I’ve used for years, and it works great and tastes great (my kids called it “special juice”).
Elderberry Syrup Recipe:
(Note: you can purchase dried elderberries from Amazon, eBay, herbal stores online, and possibly from your local health food store).
- 2 Cups Dried Elderberries (Sambucus Nigra, organic if possible)
- 8 Cups Filtered Water
- 2-4 Cinnamon Sticks
- Fresh Ginger (a good sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces)
- Whole Clove (2-4 depending on taste)
- 2 Cups Raw Honey (or a bit less, and local if possible)
- Young Living essential oils for extra boost (optional)
Bring water, cinnamon, ginger, clove and dried elderberries to a boil in a large pot, reduce heat and simmer until the liquid reduces by about half. This usually takes 45-60 minutes for me.
Strain the liquid into a large glass or steel bowl (not plastic), and let the liquid cool until it’s warm (to melt honey) but not hot (you don’t want to kill off the good bacteria in the raw honey by heating it).
When the liquid has cooled, add the raw honey and gently stir to combine.
At this point I also add some Young Living essential oils for a significant immune-boosting kick to the syrup. I add 4-8 drops each of Thieves, Frankincense, Ginger, Cinnamon Bark, Clove and Nutmeg. All of these oils contain constituents that are highly anti-viral, antibacterial, and helpful to the immune system. It’s not necessary that you add the essential oils to make the syrup effective, but if you have access to high quality oils it’s worth adding a few drops (100% pure, therapeutic grade, from a highly reputable company – please don’t buy oils on Amazon or at the grocery store and add them, they are full of synthetic junk that’s bad for your health).
I use large glass bottles to store my syrup. I get them at Hobby Lobby and IKEA. My friend Amanda taught me you can also use similar looking bottles from Aldi (the glass lemonade/juice bottles – once you use the juice they make great bottling jars).
Store your syrup in the fridge. It lasts longer that way and also tastes way better cold.
During flu season I give my children 1/2 tsp twice a day when they are healthy, and 1/2-1 tsp at least three times a day (often more) when they are sick. If they’re sick I also add echinacea drops before they chug it.
I wish your family a season of good health and strong immune systems! Let me know if you give this recipe a try. I’d also love to hear your recipe if you have a different one.
P.S. I also keep a few bottles of these on hand to take with me if we’re traveling or exposed to a lot of people for an event.