Keeping the Germies Away . . . an Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Is it just me or has the winter been a doozy in terms of germs and getting sick?  I swear, every time I turn around, one of us is getting sick with some sort of sickness.  I'm about ready to buckle down and not go anywhere in public until it's warm for good.  Either that or just start Lysoling the sick people I always seem to run into out and about.  If your coughing makes you sound like you've got Tuberculosis, stay home!  Just a thought.

In December, it started with a cold followed oh so nicely by that super stomach bug that everyone and their brother was disabled with.  3 weeks ago, Selah came down with a cold that wasn't so bad for a week but then it decided to get serious and she had a nasty cold and runny nose.  Thankfully it never affected her breathing.  However, after it didn't seem to be improving at all, I put a call in to her pediatrician to see if we should bring her in.  I do not like taking antibiotics unless it is absolutely necessary and the same goes for giving them to Selah.  Luckily her pediatrician didn't see any need to bring her in and gave me some good natural options to try at home instead of meds.  Another reason why I love them...they don't push antibiotics!  Anyway...I digress.  Among the suggestions they gave was Elderberry syrup.  I had just read something about this concoction on a blog I follow and figured it was time to give it a try.

I had to buy the dried berries online since our local natural food store didn't carry them.  This was around $10 for 8 ounces and I'll get about 2 1/2 batches out of this bag.  Very cost effective when you consider that buying a bottle of premade syrup will run you about $15-20 for half the ounces.  The essential oils underneath it are unrelated to the recipe; just proof that the house is getting a little hippie up in herrr!

I already had all the other ingredients needed in the house.  I've been buying this honey for years and it's an added bonus that it's local, which will help with local allergens and lord knows I get plenty of those in the spring.  Win win! :)
Cooking away.  It definitely made the house smell a shall we say.
I do not have a mesh strainer so when in a pinch, I used my flour sifter.  Does the same thing.  Improvise people!


  • 2/3 cup black elderberries
  • 3.5 cups of filtered water
  • 2 T dried ginger root
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (needs to be raw for the best health benefits)
  • ** Please note that this syrup should not be given to kids under the age of 1 due to the risk of botulism from the honey.

  • Directions

    • Pour water into medium/large saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (don't  add the honey just yet!)
    •  Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45-60 minutes. The liquid will reduce significantly.  Remove it from the stove and let it cool just enough so you can handle it. Pour the liquid and berries through a strainer (or cheese cloth if you have it) into a glass bowl.
    •  Toss the elderberries. When it is lukewarm, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
    •  Once the honey is mixed into the liquid, pour the syrup into a some sort of glass container and refrigerate.  I would say that a container of at least 20 ounces is good.  I bought one that was 17 ounces and it wasn't big enough and had to store the excess in a glass bowl.

    This is important!  A normal, immunity boosting dose is 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp for kids and 1/2 Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If you happen to get the flu or a cold, take the normal dose 2 times a day until symptoms disappear.

    The syrup definitely has a bit to it; what with the combination of ginger, cloves and cinnamon in it.  But if it will boost our immune systems and shorten cold when we do get them, then I am all for it.  And the fact that it's not laced with a bunch of chemicals no one can pronounce is even better!

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