Elderberry Syrup

The American Elder, or common elderberry, (Sambucus canadensis) is a shrub that grows up to 13 feet high. It is a member of the honeysuckle family and is found in moist places along riverbanks, roadsides, woods and thickets. We are lucky to have it growing in our brush pile among the blackberry brambles and young volunteer walnut trees in our backyard. It was a favorite herb of Hippocrates; love making medicinals that the great Hippocrates would make for his patients! The berries of the elder are very nutritious. They provide large amounts of potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C. It works amazingly well on colds, excessive mucus, sore throat and the dreaded flu.


Last year when Fauna came down with the flu she took a couple tablespoons the first day and it zapped the fever and all symptoms within 24 hours! Usually, when Fauna gets sick she is sick for 3-5 days. Really amazing stuff!


I use Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe for elderberry syrup because it doesn’t use white processed sugar or alcohol. And it is quite tasty!


 What you need:
1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
1 cup raw local honey

Glass jar with lid
1. Heat the berries and water to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30-45 minuets.
2. Mash the berries, strain, and add 1 cup of honey. I add a half cup of the purple liquid to a measuring cup, then pour in honey until the total volume is 1 1/2 cups. Then stir to mix well, and add to the rest of the reserved liquid.
3. Bottle and store. Keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.
4. Enjoy a tablespoon daily to keep the immune system strong. If sick, take more often at first signs of the flu. If you drink peppermint tea along with it, you increase the fighting punch!

*Caution, I am not a doctor and don’t pretend to be one. I am 100% sure of the identification of the plants I harvest and research like mad before posting a recipe. Some books say Elderberry leaves, seeds, bark, stems and root are toxic. Only the berries, which must be cooked first, and the blossoms are edible.Use your best judgement when using plants from the wild. You can also buy already made Elderberry syrup at your local health food store.


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  • March 2, 2010 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Hello there!
    I’m trying this recipe as a guideline for making elderberry syrup, and I’ve linked to your lovely site as my reference source. I’m tempted to try your honey-herb medicinal candies–that is an exciting idea. Thanks for documenting your own experiments.

    cheers, R.

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  • Angela
    December 31, 2009 - 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The blog post that keeps on giving (and circulates around Facebook). Thanks!!!

  • Rachel
    November 29, 2009 - 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the recipe! I hope to use more herbal remedies with my family as I learn from following your blog. I just made elderberry syrup tonight with this recipe and it came out great. The kids (5 and 2) loved it!

    I have about 1/4 cup leftover uncooked dried berries. Will they store fine in a closed container, or should I freeze them? Just don’t want to waste!

  • October 29, 2009 - 11:10 am | Permalink

    Wow – I posted a picture on my website of a berry that ‘might’ be Elderberry. I promise not to eat it until I know for sure, but would you please look at it and tell me if it looks like it? They’re white right now so, no longer fresh. I’ve always wondered what it is.

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  • October 20, 2009 - 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m just experimenting with elderberries for the first time this year and have made a honey electuary and an elderberry tonic (with a bit of rosehip thrown in). I have enough berries left in the freezer to try this honey syrup recipe too so I shall. Thank you. I found all the recipes online which used so much sugar a bit off-putting.

  • October 9, 2009 - 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I refuse to get a flu shot and I am looking at other ways to keep my family healthy. I am going to make this over the weekend. Thanks!!!

  • Susan
    October 4, 2009 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m cooking my second batch of elderberry syrup today, this time with local honey and I can’t wait to enjoy it. We happened upon a large elderberry tree in our yard last year and after seeing your post, checked for berries and there they were! I was too late for the flowers, but hope to keep an eye out for them next year.
    Thanks for the tips. I especially enjoy the nature crafts.
    Found some pokeberries on a walk today so may go back and gather them to make some play ink.
    Thank you for your wonderful posts.
    Susan-Sierra foothills mama

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