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Monday Health and Wellness: Ultimate Elderberry Syrup

admin January 21, 2013

Last week, I wrote an entire post all about elderberries.  If you haven’t read it, make sure you do that before making this.  There are some different recommendations based on the extensive research that I did, different from what many are saying and from what you may have heard before.  It’s important to understand how to properly use elderberry — and who shouldn’t use it.  (Hint: if you have an autoimmune condition, you really need to read that post.)  A lot of people really wanted this follow up post on how to make their own elderberry syrup!

Elderberries are a really potent medicine, and they can have a really strong effect on a number of conditions — flu, cold, even strep throat and other bacterial infections!  If someone in your house comes down with one of these, begins to show potential symptoms, or is exposed to these, begin dosing with this syrup as quickly as possible.  Continue doing so for 2 – 5 days until symptoms abate, and follow up with lots of probiotics (especially those that contain lactobacillus plantarum or s. boulardii) and fermented cod liver oil.  During the illness, fresh pineapple juice (including the core) may prove beneficial as well.  All my research (see last week’s post) leads me to think this is probably the most effective treatment for these infections.

There are many other herbs and treatments that are beneficial as well, of course.  Many swear by oregano oil, olive leaf extract, colloidal silver, garlic, various other essential oils and herbs, and so on.  I think these, too, can have a place in the medicine cabinet.  Everyone’s body chemistry is different and their “most effective” remedy will be, too.   Elderberry syrup is the best general remedy I have found — the one I have found the most evidence for in larger populations.  The other remedies are not all as well studied.  Feel free to use or include whatever else you have personally researched or have found works for you.

I recommend freezing this syrup after an illness is finished so it will last.  It should last 1 – 2 months in the fridge, though.

As always, if an infection is not responding to home care and symptoms are worrying, call a doctor.  This is not medical advice and in a medical emergency — such as if a child is lethargic, having difficulty breathing, etc. — you should seek medical help instead of looking here.

How to Make Ultimate Elderberry Syrup

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. dried elderberries (buy them here; affiliate link)
  • 4 c. filtered water
  • 4 1/4″ slices fresh ginger (must be fresh)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 c. raw honey or grade B maple syrup

Directions:

Please excuse some of these pictures.  Yes, the background is a little cluttered and messy!  I made this syrup at the end of a veeeeery long day of cooking projects and half of it was done while sitting at the table while kids ate dinner.  Thus, their plates and rice-mess is everywhere.  Such is life while blogging with small children. 🙂

In a medium saucepan, mix the dried elderberries, water, and fresh ginger.

Turn the pan on low-medium and heat until it begins to simmer.

Simmer this for 20 – 30 minutes, checking carefully to make sure it doesn’t boil too hard or that the water doesn’t boil away.  Add a bit of extra water if you need to.

When the syrup is cooked, allow it cool awhile.  Then, strain the syrup through a sieve.

You should end up with around 2 cups of juice.

Discard the berries and ginger.  Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm.  Add the honey.  (Total dinner time shot here.  The kids were so curious.)

Add the lemon juice.

Stir to combine completely.  Pour into a glass jar for storage and put it in the fridge.  Your elderberry syrup is finished!

This should be used at the first sign of illness.  Dose is about 1 tsp. every 2 – 3 hours for a child, and 1 tbsp. every 2 – 3 hours for older children (6+) and adults.  Continue to dose this way during an illness for 2 – 5 days, until symptoms abate.  You may combine this with warm baths in Epsom salts, crushed ginger swallowed or rubbed on the feet, and other natural remedies if desired.  Rest or allow the child to rest as much as possible too.

Make sure you continue fermented cod liver oil daily, as the vitamin A and D can boost the immune system and help fight off infection too.   Probiotics are also important — offer fermented milk ( yogurt, kefir) with live active cultures or other probiotic sources that contain l. plantarum.

Do you use elderberry syrup?  What is your favorite natural remedy?

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29 Comments

  1. We’ve been very healthy so far this winter. We have gone through a quart of elderberry syrup between the 6 of us. Making more today. We don’t have any autoimmune issues nor have I ever heard of anyone having any issues with elderberry so we take it daily with some breaks. That, some herbs and homeopathy, probiotics, and FCLO has kept the viruses at bay(:

    Reply

  2. Can this be made with frozen elderberries?

    Reply

  3. Please tell me why the ginger must be fresh? Have you tried it with dried ginger bits and found it did not work as well?

    Reply

  4. I am making elderberry syrup for the first time tonight! I am using your recipe (I love that you have included the lemon juice in it, this is the only recipe I’ve seen that has the addition of lemon juice) I have bought pre-made elderberry syrup in the past, but this is so easy! I will never buy it from someone else again. Thanks!

    Reply

  5. On med-low it does not come close to boiling or a simmer. So I am curious if it breaking down the toxicity. Do you know what temp it should get to? And for how long?

    Reply

    • It does boil/simmer for me. You need it to simmer but not boil hard enough to burn. I leave mine 20 minutes or so once it is simmering.

      Reply

  6. On other websites it says to bring to boil, then simmer for 45 min-ish.

    Reply

  7. In your other elderberry recipe (http://www.benjamintietje.com/www/2012/10/03/the-many-uses-of-elder/#.UR0IgqVwfgh) you cook the berries for 2 hours; in this one, you cook them for 20-30 minutes. Why the difference in time? Is the shorter time better?

    In advance, thank you for your time and help.

    Jennifer

    Reply

    • It honestly doesn’t matter — I cook it the shorter time just because it doesn’t really extract any more to cook them longer.

      Reply

  8. […] tried elderberry syrup (which is more potent than you think!), vitamin C, and lots of other supplements recommended to us […]

    Reply

  9. […] it: Make your own elderberry syrup, or use it in cough/cold […]

    Reply

  10. […] 1. Ultimate Elderberry Syrup by Modern Alternative Mama […]

    Reply

  11. Is this safe for babies? I have an 8 month old, and while I hope we don’t have a reason to use this, I’d like to know if I can if the need arises! I’m assuming in that case I would need to use maple syrup instead of honey…

    Reply

  12. […] on all of this research, I will post a new elderberry syrup recipe next week that incorporates the best combination of natural remedies.  This syrup may also be […]

    Reply

  13. […] syrup is easily made (I’ve heard, I haven’t actually made it yet. But have been gifted homemade Elderberry […]

    Reply

  14. I have used elderberry successfully in the past. I take coumadin and wondered if it has a lot of Vit. K in it?

    Reply

  15. I did something like this the other day. But we’ve been mixing it into a mug of hot water and drinking it like tea.

    Reply

  16. Do you think you could can this syrup? It is berries. I’m wondering if I could water bath it. Have you ever tried?

    Reply

  17. I recently posted a question about my syrup fermenting. Was the post deleted?

    Reply

  18. […] other ingredients and we made several different natural remedies for the upcoming winter.  We made elderberry syrup, cough syrup, and some other projects I haven’t published […]

    Reply

  19. […] during the rash, but they all developed a cough after it began healing and at that point I gave elderberry syrup.  (I didn’t give it to the baby, he is EBF so I took it […]

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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