Homemade, delicious elderberry syrup! Natural, potent remedy for colds and flu!

Watch me make this homemade elderberry syrup from start to finish!

NOTE: I am NOT a doctor. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking natural medicines or vitamins, as they may interfere with current medications.

It’s almost that time of year again….back to school time!!! Actually, a few schools around here have already started! Like…didn’t school just let out a few weeks ago??? I’m not complaining though because for me there is no back to school. My homeschool is always in session and sometimes I secretly want to ship these rowdy boys off to public school.  Lord take the wheel and drive me to the ABC STORE!!! Yeah, it’s been one of those days hahaha but I love it!

Even though my kids aren’t in school that doesn’t mean that they’re exempt from one of the dreaded back to school problems…COLDS!!! My boys are involved in a lot of extra curriculum activities and they sometimes bring back a cold or two.

At the first sign of a cold, I whip out ELDERBERRY SYRUP!!! Isaac runs from it. Ethan does pretend coughs just so he can have some. I swear those two are night and day. Elderberry syrup is like the King Mac Daddy of homemade, natural cold and flu fighters. Liquid medicinal gold of the Gods!!!

We’ve been a semi-natural family for many years now. I grew up this way and people are usually pretty surprised when I tell them I’m not vegan. I guess they expect me to be natural with food since  I’m so granola with everything else!

NOPE, not happening sister!! I need my meat, fats, butter, sugars, and salts!! Do you feel me?

I’ve been making and using this Elderberry syrup recipe for years and I swear by it!! I discovered the recipe in a book I love called Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Glasdsar and I’ve since tweaked the recipe to include a few more cold-flu fighting ingredients like apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon, and a blend of teas. Gosh, I love teas but you can totally leave them out!  This stuff is AMAZING either way!!! I’ve pretty much got my whole family singing its praises!

I’ve only used it to fight or prevent colds and flu but I hear it’s also good for body aches and allergies. Fire up google and discover all the great benefits of elderberry!


What are Elderberries & what is elderberry used for?

Here is the excerpt from WebMD:

“Elderberry is a plant. The berries are used to make medicine. Do not confuse elderberry with American Elder, Elderflower, or Dwarf Elder.
Elderberry is used for “the flu” (influenza), H1N1 “swine” flu, HIV/AIDS, and boosting the immune system. It is also used for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Some people use elderberry for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), and cancer, as a laxative for constipation, to increase urine flow, and to cause sweating.
Elderberry fruit is also used for making wine and as a food flavoring.”
Elderberry might affect the immune system. Elderberry seems to have activity against viruses including the flu and might reduce inflammation.


What is the proper dosage for Elderberry Syrup?

The normal dosage is 1 teaspoon for adults and 1/2 teaspoon for kids if taken daily as an immune booster. HOWEVER, I take a tablespoon daily (or when I remember) to maintain and keep my immune system supported. At the first sign of a cold, I take 2 tablespoons throughout the day. If the cold is already set in I take a tablespoon every few hours or so.  For my boys who are 9 and 4, I mix a tablespoon in their grape juice at the first sign of a cold.   The ingredients are all food ingredients so I never really worry about taking too much. Although I’ve heard taking large doses of Elderberry can have a gentle laxative effect. (see your doctor before giving to your kids or yourself in case of allergies)

******With any homemade medicine or vitamin be sure to consult your doctor before taking it.****

My natural  cold/ flu fighting regimen

This is the regimen I use to keep colds at bay in my family. I spring into action at the first sign of a cold and it usually nips it in the bud or lessens the intensity.

  1. Take Elderberry syrup
  2. Before bed, rub wild oil of oregano on the soles of foot and 1 drop diluted with carrier oil under the tongue.
  3. Diffuse a mixture of eucalyptus, lemon, tea tree, and peppermint oil throughout the day and at night.

Where to buy elderberry?

I get my dried Organic Elderberries from Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs but you should be able to get them in whole food stores as well. It can be pretty pricey but it lasts for a long time. Here is the kind I get.


I store mine in the fridge and it lasts all fall and winter.

******RECIPE CHANGE****** Since this post, I’ve tweaked this recipe to make it more kid-friendly in taste. This is the recipe I use now.

2 cups purified water, divided

2 cinnamon sticks (can also add a bit of fresh ginger)

1/2 cup organic dried elderberries

4 single teabags (use a cold/flu blend)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (with the mother)

1 cup raw local honey


Place 1 1/2 cup water, cinnamon stick and elderberries in a saucepan. Simmer gently until elderberries are soft, mashing occasionally.  Strain elderberries into a large measuring cup (should have about 1/2 cup of liquid). Set aside. Bring 1/2 cup water to boil. Place tea bags into water and steep until full strength. Pour tea into elderberry mixture and let cool until warm. Stir in honey and apple cider vinegar. Pour into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator  for up to 6 months

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Get the Recipe: Cold and Flu Elderberry Syrup

4.25 from 12 ratings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 1 quart


  • 1 1/2 cups dried elderberries (See note)
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 4 herbal tea bags, use a cold & flu blend *see note
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups honey, raw and local is best
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar, make sure that it contains "The Mother". I use Braggs
  • 2 lemons, juiced (optional)


  • In a large saucepan add elderberries and 3 cups water.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until liquid reduces by half.
  • Use a masher and mash the berries.
  • Strain into a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat remaining water and add tea bags. *, see note here*
  • Steep tea for 10-15 minutes and add to elderberry mixture.
  • Once cooled slightly, stir in honey, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice (if using) until honey is well incorporated.
  • Taste and add more honey or lemon to suit your taste.
  • Pour into a jar and store in the fridge for up to 3 months. ( I've kept it longer though. Freeze if you're nervous about longevity )
  • Take 1 tablespoon daily or at the sign of a cold. Take 2-3 times a day once a cold has set in.



  • Elderberries: You can get away with using less dried elderberries but I prefer it on the stronger side.
* For the tea, use a blend that is for cold & flu. I used Triple Leaf Cold & Flu and an Echinacea plus blend.
Cuisine: American
Course: Supplement, syrup
Author: Divas Can Cook
Serving: 0g, Calories: 0kcal, Carbohydrates: 0g, Protein: 0g, Fat: 0g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 0mg, Potassium: 0mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 0g, Vitamin A: 0IU, Vitamin C: 0mg, Calcium: 0mg, Iron: 0mg
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Love this recipe? Try Grandma Barb’s Homemade Cough Syrup!

homemade cough syrup recipe home cold remedy sore throat