Immune-Boosting, Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

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Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

This post contains affiliate links.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe


I think my boys are getting every single virus that is going around. Since moving to Utah from Louisiana in July we seem to be on a 2 weeks on 2 weeks off schedule with colds and stomach viruses. I don’t know what the deal is! I have a couple theories about why we’re suddenly plagued with sickness. Unfortunately, theories won’t help my boys get better and stay better. Looks like it is time to break out my homemade elderberry syrup recipe.

One thing that I’ve relied on over the years to help prevent illness and shorten the duration of illness if, in fact, we do fall ill, is elderberry syrup. The immune boosting benefits of Elderberry Syrup are plentiful and well researched. According to the University of Maryland Medical center (which cites specific research studies):

Elderberry, or elder, has been used for centuries to treat wounds, when applied to the skin. It is also taken by mouth to treat respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu. In many countries, including Germany, elder flower is used to treat colds and flu. Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion. Elder may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties….Elderberry may help treat cold and flu symptoms by reducing congestion…One study suggested that using a standardized elderberry extract, Sambucol, could shorten the duration of flu by about 3 days.

I first discovered and started giving my boys elderberry syrup about 6 years ago. I used to buy the kids Sambucol, but with more than one child, that soon got very pricey. I could easily spend $30 on elderberry syrup in a couple weeks. It was about a year ago now that I hit the Pinterest in search of a good Homemade Elderberry Syrup recipe.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe Ingredients

I pinned this Homemade Elderberry Syrup recipe from Real Food RN. I’ve made it following the recipe exactly as it states a couple times, but my kids are sooo picky! So, I’ve tried a couple of my own variations. The following is my favorite so far:

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Homemade Elderberry Syrup. Used to prevent colds and flu. We take it at the first sign of flu season and continue to take it daily throughout the winter months.

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  • 2/3 cup elderberries
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp dried ginger root OR 2 tbsp fresh ginger root
  • 1 tps ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 2 Chinese star anise
  • 3/4 cup raw honey


  • Pour water in a medium saucepan and add the dry ingredients (we'll save the honey for later).
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  • Remove from heat and let the mixture cool enough to be handled.
  • Pour through a strainer into a mason jar or glass bowl.
  • When the juice is cooled to lukewarm, add the raw honey to the elderberry juice and stir until completely combined.
  • Enjoy your homemade elderberry syrup!
  • Take 1/2 to 1 tsp for kids, and 1/2 tbsp for kids and 1 tbsp for adults daily for cold and flu prevention. If you feel a cold or flu coming on take that same dose 3-4 times a day.


This homemade elderberry syrup recipe is really one of the easiest things to make. It will make your house smell delightful too!

In case you’re curious about what each of the ingredients do, here is a breakdown of the ingredients:

Homemade Elderberry Syrup Ingredients:

Elderberry: See above. I purchase my dried elderberries on Amazon.

Ginger: Contains potent anti-oxidants which are anti-inflamatory and analgesic (pain-relieving)

Cloves: High vitamin A and beta-carotene levels. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also helpful for maintaining healthy mucus membranes. Also a good source of vitamin-K, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), vitamin-C and riboflavin. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious germs.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants like polyphenols. Cinnamon is anti-microbial and fights various types of infection and bacteria. I learned recently (after making the Elderberry Syrup shown in the picture) that it is important to make sure you are using the Ceylon variety of cinnamon. The Cassia variety commonly found in supermarkets can be harmful in large doses. The Ceylon variety is much more effective, and safe, for medicinal use. You can find the Ceylon variety for a good price on

Raw Honey: Raw honey is antibacterial and will actually act as a preservative for your elderberry syrup. Honey also calms inflamed mucous membranes and is more effective than cough syrup for soothing a cough.

Precautions via University of Maryland Medical Center:

Do not use unripe or uncooked elderberries. They may be poisonous.

Elderberry appears to have few side effects when used properly for short periods of time (up to 5 days).

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take elderberry.

If you have an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you should ask your doctor before taking elderberry, as it may stimulate the immune system.

You can find Organic Elderberries on Amazon here.
You can find Organic Ceylon Cinnamon on Amazon here.


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About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. Karlyn Tolley says
    I have heard so much about elderberry syrup and even have the berries. I think I just may actually make some. Prefect for this cold the kids are working on not getting. Oh I love Mountain Rose Herbs to order if wanting bulk.
  2. This is awesome thank you - we use Sambucol too but I've been looking for a homemade recipe so will give this one a go.