Saturday, August 15, 2009

Elderberry Syrup for Immunity and Flu

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.


Shady Lady said...

So cool!

nettlejuice said...

Yes, yes, yes!
I am keeping a watchful eye on our gloriour elderberry bush. It is such a blessing to have the sacred elder growing on our land. How wonderful to have this powerful healing medicine on hand for our family. I will be posting a slightly different elder recipe soon.

Happy medicine making!

debbie said...

I'm so excited about this post! I know we have loads of elderberries in our area, but it's one of the plants I have not identified for certain. This gives me some more incentive to get one of the folks "in the know" on a walk with me to have a look.

Your calendula header is so beautiful - love it!

Mona said...

Elderberry is truly amazing; drinks made from the flowers makes your soul sing (and see fairies), and drinks made from the berries makes your body sing - in a strong kind of way. Ha, ha, don't know if this makes sense :)
I usually just make the juice and fridge it (no sugar or honey or anything added) - and mix it with spices and honey just before drinking it. I've had some in the fridge for a year, and it's still going strong. I think all the good germ and virus killing stuff in it makes it self preserving.

Anonymous said...

Love it! We had a 3 month long battle with the flu winter of 2007 - if only we'd had Elderberry syrup! Thanks for the fun post, Modern Hippocrates Mama ;-)

paula said...

Thanks for the natural medicine, today when we are getting adulterated medicine for treating disease, your natural therapy and that to home made remedy definitely will be a blessing in human we are prone to fatal diseases but stuff like this and proper exercise & good food will nourish our immune and body to stay healthy and fit. I strongly believe in providing my kids with natural foods and I found a resource which proved very useful you can sign up for this program on

momandkiddo said...

Mmm, looks fantastic. I wish I could locate a source for elderberries. I love elderberry drinks.

Mandy said...

I have no idea how to find elderberries but I really want to make this stuff! I've bought it but I'd love to make it myself.

dawn klinge said...

That's interesting to know. i would really love to become more proficient in using herbal cures. Thanks for the recipe.

dongdong said...

that is so cool you have your own elderberry bush.

Satsuki Rebel said...

I tried some of this premade last year. I'm betting a homemade batch would be even better. You wouldn't happen to know where someone could purchase elderberries, would you?

Magic and Mayhem said...

Thanks for this recipe! I shared it with friends and ordered elderberries to make my own too. Wouldn't you know it, I got the flu in the meantime and was just about over it by the day they arrived. :) I'm dosing the kids and myself up daily now to keep us healthy though.

I linked to you in this article about elderberry's ability to fight flus and specifically swine flu: and also included a link if you want to buy them (I'm not affiliated with the business, I just like them). I am not lucky enough to have bushes nearby but found a pound of organic at a reasonable price and thought it was well worth it. :)

Thanks for the great blog!


Unknown said...

Two years ago, my husband and I purchased land that had tons of elderberry bushes growing so I started making the juice extract and freezing it. I mix with apple juice and we drink at least 2 quarts a month and have not been sick with flu or colds for two years now! It really works.

Anonymous said...

I make this for my children all the time, they love it. I just made some ginger syrup, that's for me - ever now and then I can get them to take a sip and love their expressions.

Your falafel recipe with cucumber yogurt was a great hit, we had a middle eastern dinner along with tahini sauce and hummus.