How to Make Elderberry Syrup for the Cold and Flu Season

Elderberry syrup is a super useful remedy to prevent colds and flu this winter or to help you get through it faster if you do happen to get sick. It's easy to make, tastes yummy, and is great for kids. I made a big batch last year and gave it as a little holiday gift to a few of my friends. I kept some for myself of course! In addition to taking a spoonful to prevent illness, you can use it over pancakes, in a cocktail in place of simple syrup, or any other creative way you can think of. 

Elderberries contain vitamins A, B, and C and stimulate the immune system. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. In multiple studies, people with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. It is suggested to take a tablespoon a day to build up the immune system, but if you get sick, you can double or triple the amount. Kids can probably do half this amount. *This recipe contains honey, so should not be given to babies under a year.

In the recipe that I like to use, I add cinnamon and ginger which are herbs used in Chinese medicine to fight colds and flu. I think this year I'll add a little more ginger to zest it up even more. Feel free to play around with your recipe!

Your syrup will be good for a couple months in the fridge. Storing it canning jars is always a nice idea to keep it fresh. If you want your syrup to have an even longer shelf life, alcohol can be added as a natural preservative. The recipe below makes a good amount if you want to give it as a gift. Cut the recipe in half if you're just making some for yourself.

Ginger Cinnamon Elderberry Syrup

Servings: 6-8 (4oz amber bottles)


Time: 1.5 hours


large pot
large bowl
large strainer
cheese cloth (to line the strainer)
4 ounce amber bottles, quantity 6-8
labels for your bottles
liquid measuring cup


3 cups dried elderberries
6 cups water
1-2 large thumbs of ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cups of honey
1/3 cup of high proof alcohol such as vodka (optional)

  1. Chop your fresh ginger root up into slices.
  2. Add the ginger, dried elderberries and cinnamon to your large pot.
  3. Then add all 6 cups of your water and bring the mixture to a boil; immediately drop it down to a simmer. Keep the pot mostly covered, with the lid slightly open.
  4. Keep cooking until the mixture has gone down about half-way. This should take you about 30-45 minutes.
  5. Then strain out your mixture using your strainer lined with cheese cloth. Once the berries have cooled down enough, you can try to wring out the cheese cloth to get out all the liquid.
  6.  Measure the elderberry liquid, and add it to your large bowl. While it is hot, add in equal parts honey. If you like, you can now add the alcohol, which helps preserve the mixture.
  7. Then you can pour it back, a little bit at a time, into your liquid measuring cup to dispense it into each of the amber dosage bottles.
  8. On the labels, write the name of the syrup and the date you made it. Include a list of all ingredients. You should also note that it needs to be stored in a fridge and used within three months.
  9. Then put it on each of your bottles so you can easily spot it in your home apothecary. Use 1-2 tablespoons several times a day when you’re feeling like you need immune support.*

Along with your elderberry syrup, garlic, ginger, astragalus root, and echinacea are also helpful immune system boosters. You know what else is? Acupuncture!

Hope you all have a wonderful and healthy holiday and hope to see you in the New Year! xoxo!