As the Summer starts to wane, it’s time to fortify our immune systems and buckle down for the colder half of the year. Elderberry tincture has been a staple in my medicine cabinet for a number of years to help boost immunity and stave off cold and flu.
It’s quick and simple to make (like all tinctures) and lasts indefinitely. You can make small or large quantities based on your needs and the size of your family and have a reliable herbal remedy at hand whenever you need it.
How to Make Simple Elderberry Tincture
If you’ve been around the HHH blog for a while, then you know how often I gush over elderberries.
Honestly, if I had to choose one single herb to have on hand for my family (even families with small children!), it would always be the humble and unassuming elderberry.
These amazing berries have the ability to effectively fight off over 8 strains of flu virus and are known to help reduce the duration of cold and flu by half.
To reap the benefits of elderberry tincture, take it on a daily basis to help strengthen your immune system’s resistance to cold and flu. This remedy especially useful for young children at school and adults at the workplace where germs and viruses are easily shared.
I use the folk method to make my tinctures which makes them quick and easy to throw together.
Here’s what you will need to make elderberry tincture:
• A mason jar
• Dried elderberries (if you use fresh elderberries, use caution! They must be very ripe and without any stems or leaves – freezing them first makes removing stems much easier!)
• 80 proof vodka
Loving Preparation – Simple Elderberry Tincture
1. For the folk method, all you need to do is fill your jar ¼ of the way with dried elderberries. If you use fresh ripe berries, fill the jar halfway and muddle them to break the skins.
2. Next, fill the jar to the shoulder with 80 proof vodka.
3. Cap closed, and shake to mix.
4. Allow to the tincture to macerate for 4-6 weeks before use. Shake on occasion and top off with alcohol as needed to keep the elderberries submerged.
How to Use Elderberry Tincture
For adults, take 10-30 drops of tincture up to 3x daily during cold and flu. For daily immunity support, take 10-30 drops of tincture once daily, preferably before heading out to run errands, go to school, or go to work.
I will often take this before visiting or hosting friends and family, going out, and before running errands. It’s worked remarkably well at keeping me hale and healthy during cold and flu season.
For children 2 years and older, administer 7-10 drops of tincture up to 3x daily during cold and flu and once daily for general immune support.
The amount of alcohol in 7-10 drops is really minute, but it’s your call as a parent whether or not you want to give it to your child.
I prefer alcohol tinctures over glycerin tinctures because the medicinal qualities of the plant material is extracted much better in alcohol than in glycerin.
However, you can certainly make an elderberry glycerite by simply omitting the alcohol and using food grade glycerin instead. The maceration time is the same.
How to Make Fancy Elderberry Tincture
If you really want to boost the medicinal qualities of your elderberry tincture, add in a few different cold and flu fighting herbs to the mix.
Some herbs to consider include:
• Boneset – an amazing herb for treating flu symptoms (I get mine from mountainroseherbs)
• Echinacea – great for boosting white blood cells during cold and flu
• Elderflowers – helps with fever
• Fresh ginger – helps with mucus, congestion, digestive upset, and chills
• Fresh sage – great for cough and sore throat
• Fresh thyme – helps with mucus and congestion and cough
• Hyssop – a wonderful herb for treating cough
• Rose hips – full of vitamin C and good for boosting immunity
• Yarrow – helps reduce fever and has a drying effect on mucus-y coughs and sinus infections
Simply add a couple tablespoons of the desired herb in with your elderberries and cover with 80 proof vodka.
Have you made elderberry tincture before? Please share in the comments below!
You may also enjoy reading:
The Benefits of Elderberry
Natural Cold Remedies – The Healing Power of Elder
Cold Bustin’ Elderberry Tea
How to Make an Elderberry Elixir
DIY Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu – Potent, Quick, & Easy!
Broad-Spectrum Essential Oil Blend for Cold and Flu
Ho, Giang Thanh Thi, et al. “Structure–activity relationship of immunomodulating pectins from elderberries.” Carbohydrate polymers 125 (2015): 314-322.
Kong, Fan-kun. “Pilot clinical study on a proprietary elderberry extract: efficacy in addressing influenza symptoms.” Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics 5 (2009): 32-43.
Shaner, Edward. “Herbal formulation for stimulating the immune system to prevent colds and the flu and method of using same.” U.S. Patent Application No. 09/739,212.
Tiralongo, Evelin, Shirley Wee, and Rodney Lea. “Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travellers: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Nutrients 8.4 (2016): 182.