I've been interested in natural home remedies for many years. And as the cold season rolls around, I'm getting ready. Recently, I've been learning how to make elderberry cough syrup. Here's what to know.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Why make your own homemade elderberry syrup?
Caution: Keep all medicinal plants, natural and herbal remedies and medicines safely out of the reach of children. Talk to your trusted healthcare provider l before using dandelion tincture or dandelion extract. It may interact with other medicines or prompt allergic reactions.
My family and I are returning to stocking our medicine chest with home remedies and natural treatments such as this syrup as well as ginger honey syrup for many reasons.
One, it seems that good healthcare is hard to get anywhere in our country (Canada.)
Two, I prefer to know exactly what is in our medicine.
Three, the health benefits of various old-time remedies are supported by several recent studies, showing elderberries' benefits for treating coughs, colds, and mild flu symptoms.
Elderberry for good health
Elderberries have been used for years as a home remedy to help alleviate colds and sore throats. And the syrup, combined with using eucalyptus and peppermint aromatherapy shower steamers helps soothe congestion when I'm feeling stuffed up.
Native Americans and settlers commonly used this simple home remedy as a cough suppressant and to treat a mild case of the flu. Fresh berries are ready to gather in late summer. They can also be dried to use later in the season.
Elderberry syrup benefits
Fresh elderberries have many medicinal properties and are a good source of antioxidants.
As research shows and as our elders and ancestors know, elderberries work hard to fight off free radicals in your body. This immune support can be crucial in warding off various ailments.
And it doesn't stop there.
Elderberries are chock full of vitamin C and vitamin A, a key ingredient for healthy skin. And one of the easiest ways to ingest elderberries is through homemade elderberry syrup.
This vitamin-rich, antioxidant syrup can help to strengthen your immune system. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, a benefit for people like my daughter who lives with arthritis.
The elderberry may ease allergy symptoms, clear sinus infections, and even help regulate your bowel movements bowel movements.
How to make Elderberry Syrup
As I've discovered, making your own homemade cough syrup with elderberries is pretty simple. You'll need a few ingredients and basic tools.
What You'll Need/Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you'll need.
- 1 cup dried elderberries
- 1 cup raw honey (we used local honey to support our local bee-keeper)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 small slices of ginger
- 3 whole cloves, optional
Editor's tips: Use these ingredients for the first time you make this flu remedy. The next time you make it, try adding one of the optional ingredients listed below. This is the best way to create your immune-boosting compounds and natural remedies at home.
You can purchase seeds and grow your own elderberries, but while waiting for them to grow or if you don't want to grow your own, you can purchase dried elderberries for your syrup.
Tools you'll need
Here are the tools you'll need to make this homemade elderberry syrup recipe:
- potato masher
- fine sieve
- glass jar
Here are the step-by-step instructions for making this elderberry recipe.
First, combine dried berries, water, one cinnamon stick or two, and ginger in a small saucepan.
Next, heat over medium heat (or medium-high heat) until boiling.
When the mixture starts to boil, reduce to low heat and cover with a well-fitting lid.
Simmer the berry mixture for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Keep simmering until the elderberry mixture reduces down to about half of the original volume.
Remove from heat and cool completely in the pot.
Stir in your honey until well combined.
Finally, pour your elderberry syrup into the jar using a funnel with a strainer or fine mesh sieve to remove solid pieces.
Elderberry Cough Syrup FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about making homemade elderberry cough syrup.
What ingredients can I add to elderberry cough syrup?
Adding in raw honey adds another layer of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial agents and soothes sore throats and coughs.
You may want to add maple syrup to sweeten it. On the other hand, cardamom pods will give the syrup a unique flavor.
Dried, powdered, or fresh ginger is another powerful antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory that soothes an upset stomach and headaches. You might try adding ginger to your elderberry cough syrup.
How should I store this elderberry cough syrup?
Unlike some of the other natural remedies we've made, such as oregano oil, I find this syrup doesn't have a great shelf life.
I like to store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, for up to two weeks.
Alternatively, freeze your DIY elderberry syrup in ice cube trays and thaw out cubes as needed. A standard ice cube tray holds two tablespoons in each.
What are some other ways to use elderberries as a natural remedy?
There are many ways to include elderberries in your diet. They include the following:
- elderberry tincture
- elderberry gummies
- elderberry juice
- elderberry extract
And if you don't have the time or desire to make your own elderberry syrup recipe, remember you can always buy elderberry products from your local health food store. Or buy them online from a reputable brand such as Mountain Rose Herbs.
Should I take elderberry syrup daily?
You could if you want to boost your immune system.
I try to keep a jar on hand during cold and flu season to ward off illness before it takes hold. However, sometimes those germs still make it through! In that situation, I continue using it but increase the dosage to help reduce and shorten the effects.
- 1 cup dried elderberries
- 1 cup raw honey
- 4 cups water
- 2 cinnamon stick
- 2 small slices ginger
- 3 whole cloves, optional
- Combine elderberries, water, cinnamon sticks, and ginger in a small saucepan.
- Heat over medium high heat until boiling.
- When the mixture starts to boil, reduce to low heat and cover with a well-fitting lid.
- Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces to about half the original volume.
- Remove from heat and cool completely.
- Stir in honey until well combined.
- Pour into the jar using a funnel with a strainer to remove solid pieces.
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Nutrition InformationYield 36 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 32Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 0gSugar 8gProtein 0g