It’s not technically winter yet, but it certainly feels like it here in Colorado! We’ve seen several inches of snow and temperatures below zero over the last few days. It’s also the season of cold, cough, and flu — yuck!
Elderberry syrup is an effective, natural immune-boosting remedy that we started using last winter. This type of herbal syrup is a proven remedy for preventing and recovering from the flu, colds, and sore throats. It contains lots of antioxidants, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C… but it does get a bit pricey with a family of six. This year, I decided to try making it at home. I’m so glad I did!
The cost savings between buying packaged elderberry syrup and making your own is incredible. The brand of syrup I was buying cost me $1.60/oz, but it was only about $0.30/oz to make it at home! I ordered Frontier brand organic elderberries on Amazon, which cost around $20 for a one-pound bag. (One pound of elderberries yields about three of my double batches of syrup!) I already had the other ingredients on hand.
I browsed the web to find the best homemade syrup recipe, and I ended up with a blend of two recipe from Oh Dear Drea and Mountain Rose Herbs. I made what most would consider a double batch, and I give everyone in the family a teaspoon or two per day. If you have fewer family members or don’t plan on using the syrup daily, you might want to halve the recipe. Also, if you have them, feel free to use whole cinnamon sticks or cloves in place of the ground spices!
Homemade Elderberry Syrup
1 c. dried elderberries
6 c. water
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
large chunk of fresh ginger root (about 2″ long), sliced
1 c. raw local honey
5 drops essential oil, optional (I like lemon and Thieves vitality)
Combine elderberries, water, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger slices in a large saucepan. (Don’t add honey yet!) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 45 minutes, or until liquid has noticeably reduced.
With a fork or potato masher, smash the berries in the mixture to draw out as much juice as possible. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth into a glass container. When the mixture has cooled, add honey and essential oils and mix well.
Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
**The standard dose for taking elderberry syrup as a preventative measure is 1-2 tsp daily for kids, and 1-2 Tbsp daily for adults. If a cold or flu hits, take the normal dose 2-3 times a day until symptoms are gone. (This remedy is not recommended for infants under one year of age because it contains honey.)**