Around this time of year, when summer is about halfway over, I start to think about cold and flu remedies I need to get started before the weather gets cooler. You may be wondering why I need to start now and the short answer is – herbal remedies take a looong time, up to six weeks or longer, to make. So, with that in mind, I always aim to get things cracking as we approach August well before cold and flu season rolls in.
Today, I’m going to teach you how to make a much faster remedy that’s both delicious and effective – homemade elderberry syrup!
This delicious remedy is something I try to keep on hand to help boost immunity and help prevent cold and flu throughout the year and it’s excellent for both children and adults alike.
It’s one of my staples for seasonal wellness, so I think now is the perfect time to learn how to make it yourself before the hard-hitting viruses roll in in a few months.
DIY Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu
Elderberry is one of my favorite cold and flu herbs since it’s so easy to use and make into a multitude of remedies. It also tastes delicious, especially when made into a syrup that you can drizzle over pancakes and roasted meats. My husband even likes to use it to flavor lemonade!
Some of the health benefits of elderberry syrup include:
• Boosts immunity and help prevent seasonal illness (this is due to its complex sugar content)
• Can cut the duration of colds and flu by half
• Effective against 10 different strains of flu virus
• Helps fight sinus infections and other upper respiratory infections
• High anti-inflammatory properties
• High in antioxidants
• High in both vitamin A and vitamin C
• High in quercetin (an antioxidant that is great for controlling seasonal allergies)
• Is highly anti-viral and antibacterial
• Naturally diuretic
In fact, elderberry has been proven to disarm the enzymes viruses use to penetrate healthy cells. If you take elderberry as a preventative, it can actually PREVENT infection, especially infections in the sinuses and throat.
If taken after catching a cold or flu, elderberry prevents the spread of the virus and has shown significant improvement within 24 hours and almost complete eradication of sickness after three days of consistent use.
You can read more about my favorite elderberry benefits and elderberry uses here.
I think it goes without saying that elderberry is pretty amazing! These small dried berries from the Sambucus Nigra plant are so unassuming yet so powerfully medicinal. I feel lucky to have such a potent remedy that not only helps the body fight off cold and flu more quickly, but also help prevent them.
So, why not just but elderberry syrup from the store? Well, for one, that gets really pricey really quick. Second, many of the elderberry syrups you find at the store are made with processed sugar which sort of defeats the purpose of using them.
Buying dried elderberries in bulk (or harvesting the fresh berries) ensures that you have plenty of fresh and inexpensive elderberry syrup on hand whenever you need it.
DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe for Preventing and Treating Cold and Flu
Below is the recipe I like to use because it has a great blend of other herbs that help support the immune system.
You can actually omit all the extra ingredients or just add whatever you have on hand that sounds good to you. The beauty of elderberry syrup is that the combinations are endless when it comes to flavor and medicinal quality. Play around with it and see what you like best!
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own homemade elderberry syrup:
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (or use one cinnamon stick)
• 1 tsp dried orange peel
• 1TB dried rosehips
• 2 TB fresh ginger (sliced thin)
• 2-3 whole cloves
• 3-4 cardamom pods
• 2/3 cup dried elderberries
• 1 cup of raw honey (this is added after straining and cooling!)
• 2 cups of spring water (not from the tap!)
For medicinal herbs, I recommend checking out mountainroseherbs.com!
Super Simple Version – Just Three Ingredients!
Loving Preparation – DIY Elderberry Syrup
1. Add water, elderberries, and other herbs/spices to a pot and bring it to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat and stir, then simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. This takes about 45 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and strain the berries and other ingredients through a fine mesh sieve. I use the back of a spoon to press as much juice from the berries as I can.
4. Allow the strained liquid to cool to room temperature before adding the raw honey.
5. Stir well and bottle.
6. Store in the fridge.
This syrup will last 2-3 months when kept in the fridge. You can also freeze it to extend the shelf life.
You can even go a step further and add a splash of brandy to give this syrup a more soothing quality for treating sore throat, but maybe keep that version for the adults ?
The standard dose is ½-1 tsp for children (1 year and older) and ½-1TB for adults once daily.
During a cold or flu, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours for a few days until symptoms dissipate.
Don’t want to make your own elderberry syrup? You can buy my favorite elderberry syrup here!
Have you made elderberry syrup before? Share your recipe in the comments section below!
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