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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Elderberry Syrup: A Magic Immunity Elixir?

Elderberry Syrup: A Magic Immunity Elixir?

For centuries, traditional European folk medicine has touted the benefits of elderberry extract for immune support, and now modern science is finally catching up.

Recent studies have found that a commercial preparation of elderberry extract called Sambucol is more effective than other over-the-counter remedies at shortening the duration and severity of the flu.

This comes as no surpise to the many people who swear by elderberry syrup, which is said to boost the immune system, prevent the flu or colds, alleviate excessive mucus and soothe sore throats.

A flowering plant in the honeysuckle family, elderberries are native to Europe, Asia, and the Americas. They are most commonly found in “edge” areas of woods, such as along rivers and roads. In addition to their illness-fighting properties, elderberries are also full of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.

You can buy elderberry extracts at most health food stores, though they can be expensive. To save money, it’s easy to make your own. Here’s a recipe for homemade elderberry syrup.

Elderberry Syrup
1 cup black elderberries
3 cups water
1 cup raw local honey

Place berries and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Crush the berries and strain of the skins. Allow to cool before stirring in honey.

For best results, take one tablespoon daily when you’re well. You can take it on its own, or add it to fruit smoothies, yogurt, ice cream, or maple syrup. If you do come down with a cold or the flu, take a teaspoon every few hours until you recover.

Elderberry syrup is as good for kids as it is for adult, but it’s important to remember never to give products containing raw honey to children under 2.


1 GRACE QUINN { 02.06.14 at 1:17 pm }

I am thinking some elderberry mead might be in my future….

2 Jaime McLeod { 02.06.14 at 8:33 am }

Bonnie, for homemade, a few weeks. If you buy it in the store, the package should say.

3 Jaime McLeod { 02.06.14 at 8:28 am }

You can use dried, Diana, but you need twice as many.

4 Iris { 02.05.14 at 7:01 pm }

they grow all over in Missouri

5 Jon B. { 02.05.14 at 6:26 pm }

Use caution and ask questions when ordering your herbs. There are a lot of variables involved in making your own tonic or syrup from herbs. The season they are harvested during. The number of freezes that the berries have gone through. How they were dried. Also, there are a multitude of constituents within the plant. Some are extracted by water, others are extracted by alcohol. Using water only may not extract exactly what you are trying to achieve. There are some good videos on youtube regarding this herb in particular.

6 tricia { 02.05.14 at 5:53 pm }

I buy dried elderberries on Amazon and make a syrup with 1 half cup dried berries soak over night in 2 cups water, bring to a boil and reduce to about 1 and a half cups . strain out the solids and press them with a spoon to get all the good juice. add 1 to 1 and a half cups sugar or honey or combination and bring it back to a simmer till the sugar is dissolved and the syrup has thickened . store in fridge. also I add the syrup to hot or iced tea for a wonderful fruity flavor

7 Annie Pelt { 02.05.14 at 5:39 pm }

I got mine online at Abes.. A lot of places carry them , try google. Try for agood recipe

8 Lynn Foster Turner { 02.05.14 at 4:46 pm }

I would also like to know where I can get elderberries! I am in Southwestern Ontario Canada

9 Diana Clark { 02.05.14 at 12:58 pm }

Can you use dried elderberries in making the syrup, or are the fresh berries required? If the fresh are required, where can I find them? They’re not exactly at the local grocery!

10 bonnie mclen { 02.05.14 at 10:50 am }

regarding elderberry syrup, what it the normal shelf life of the syrup?

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