Elderberry Syrup

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Elderberries have a long history of medicinal use going back to Ancient Egypt. There is also evidence they may have been cultivated by prehistoric man. It is widely known as a top antiviral. They are an amazing immune booster and have been shown to reduce cold and flu symptoms. In one study in the Journal of International Medical Research, the use of elderberry, when taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, shortened the duration of the flu by an average of four days. It can help ease allergies, sinus infections and even helps to reduce blood sugar.

One of the optional ingredients in this recipe is star anise. Star anise contains shikimic acid which is one of the active components of Tamiflu.  They use the shikimic acid to produce the active ingredient in Tamiflu.

You can make this recipe with just elderberries, water and raw honey or add any of the optional ingredients.

By making it yourself, you can save quite a bit of money, as a small 5 oz bottle can cost $20 dollars.  The last two times I bough 1 lb of dried elderberries, they cost $32 for 1 lb. The price right now on Amazon is around $40 per lb., however Mountain Rose Herbs has them for $16 per pound!  A 1 lb bag will make approximately 6 batches of this recipe. I estimate that you can make a batch (14 oz) including the spices and raw honey for around $4 per batch (if you buy berries from Mountain Rose Herbs).  Pretty good savings!  If you would like to save time and buy elderberry syrup, I would recommend checking out Gaia Herbs elderberry syrup. 

My family and I take this all fall and winter and sporadically in the spring and summer. If someone starts getting a little runny nose or cough, we increase the amount that we take.

You should speak with your physician before beginning any new supplements. The typical dosage is 1 teaspoon for an adult and 1/2 teaspoon for a child.  Please note, a child under one year old should not consume honey.  Eating the berries uncooked may produce nausea or more severe symptoms.  Also note that this information is being provided for informational purposes only. I am not diagnosing or recommending treatment for any disease or other issues.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried elderberries

  • 4 cups filtered water

  • 3/4 cup raw honey

Optional Ingredients

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 2 star anise

  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves

  • 1 inch knob of ginger, cut in slices

Method

  1. Add the elderberries, water, and any optional ingredients to a saucepan.

  2. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer.

  3. Let simmer for 35 minutes. It will appear to be mostly berries by the time the time is up. Do not let it boil for 35 minutes, only a gentle simmer.  If for some reason it hasn’t cooked down enough, simmer it a bit longer. You are shooting for having 1 cup of liquid.

  4. Remove from heat and let cool till you can handle the mixture

  5. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Make sure you press the berries with a spoon and get all remaining juices out.  You can also use a nut milk bag.  This mixture may stain a nut milk bag. 

  6. You should have about one cup of liquid. Add to a 16 ounce glass jar and let cool till lukewarm.   Then add honey, add lid and shake.  Make sure you let the mixture cool long enough before you add the honey.  If you add the honey while the liquid is too hot, it will destroy some of the nutrients in the honey.   If you have more or less than a cup of liquid, bump the amount of honey up or down accordingly.

  7. Store in a sealed glass jar in the fridge for up to one month. I have seen some recipes say this keeps for 2 months due to the high sugar content. Mine never lasts that long, so I cannot confirm this.