homemade elderberry syrup

How to Make Homemade Elderberry Syrup

I will go ahead and say it, elderberry syrup is magical! For years, during flu season our family has taken homemade elderberry syrup to help keep us healthy. (We also make sure we properly wash our hands after being in public and we try to avoid people who we know are sick.) As a result, we have NEVER had the flu, a significant cold, or an ear infection (for that matter).

Elderberries have been used to improve health for many years. According to healthline.com, Ancient Egyptians used elderberries to improve their complexions and heal burns. Native Americans used elderberries to treat infections.

Elderberry Article on Healthline.com

Upon doing more research, I learned that in health studies, elderberry syrup has even proved to help people with flu symptoms get well earlier.

In one placebo-controlled, double-blind study conducted by Israeli virologist Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, 93.3% of the people taking an elderberry preparation reported significant improvement in influenza symptoms within 2 days of starting it, compared with the 6 days it took for the placebo group to see improvement.


See the full article from Pharmacy Times here:

Pharmacytimes.com: Elderberries

The first batch of elderberry syrup I had was given to me by my sister-in-law many years ago. She had made a batch and generously shared it with us. I was a little skeptical. Could this “home remedy” really work? Besides that, could it possibly taste good? Things that work RARELY taste good! (Am I right?) I’m glad my initial skepticism was proven wrong. Since that time, I have made many batches of homemade elderberry syrup because I know how well it works!

Maybe you have been thinking..

“Can elderberry syrup prevent me from getting sick?”

Let me tell you a quick story. It was four days before Christmas circa 2019 (seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?) and I could feel a terrible cold coming on. I could feel it starting in my chest. I could feel a little shooting pain in my ears and my tongue was swollen. I know a swollen tongue seems odd but apparently, that’s how my body always initially reacts to sickness.

I just couldn’t let myself get sick but what I wanted to do was go to bed for a few days. I just felt sick and exhausted but Christmas was in a few days and I had a lot to do. There were pies to bake and presents to wrap. There were menus to plan and games to play. If you have read my post about our Christmas Traditions then you know that Christmas is a busy and super festive time for us!

So, what was I going to do? I couldn’t get sick because my whole family was counting on me. Plus, you know how it is when one member of your family is sick. It just puts a damper on the holiday festivities. Also, it would put the rest of my family at risk of getting sick as well (which is not something I’m willing to risk with young children).

I decided to pull my dried elderberries out of the freezer and make a batch of homemade elderberry syrup.

Y’all. It worked. I took a teaspoon full three times a day for four days. That sinking sickness feeling I was having stopped. I wasn’t “sinking” anymore. I was staying just above the water.

I could tell the sickness was still there but the elderberry syrup had boosted my immune system and my body was fighting! After those four days, I was as good as new and it allowed me to feel good enough to do all my Christmas baking and participate in all of our Christmas fun during those four days also.

My homemade elderberry syrup helped prevent me from getting sick. It saved our Christmas! I’m not being dramatic. I’m completely serious. The elderberry syrup kept things from getting ugly.

Elderberries boost your body’s immune system so if an illness strikes, you will be ready to fight it off.

So how are elderberries thought to work as an antiviral? There are probably many mechanisms of action, but a prime one is that elderberries contain hemagglutinin protein. This protein has been shown to stop a virus’ capability to replicate by inhibiting its ability to penetrate the cell wall, thereby preventing the virus from causing infection if taken before exposed. If elderberries are taken after infection, that keeps the virus from spreading, which reduces the duration of influenza symptoms.


I know you probably have a few questions. No fear! I have answers for you and they’re SIMPLE!

First question:

“Should I buy elderberry syrup or make it myself?”

Let me tell you, making it yourself will save you TONS of money. Buying elderberry syrup can be quite expensive. However, for the price of one already prepared bottle of elderberry syrup, you can make many batches of your own HOMEMADE elderberry syrup.

Next question:

“Where can I buy elderberries?”

Follow this link to Amazon and buy your dried elderberries

Starwest Botanicals Organic Elder Berries, 1 Pound Bulk

I know it seems pricy but that is a whole pound of dried berries and it will make MANY batches of syrup.

That was easy, wasn’t it?

Related Articles:
How to Clean Frugally and Save Hundreds
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
Grandpa’s 25 Frugal Living Tips from the Great Depression
5 Money-Saving Hacks to Get Your Bank Account GROWING TODAY!

Final question:

“How do I make homemade elderberry syrup?”

No problem! It’s easy!

Here is my recipe:

1/2 cup dried elderberries
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup raw honey

Boil the water. Remove from heat, add berries and cover.
Let steep for 1 hour.
Bring back to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Pour through a fine mesh strainer.
*Be sure to smash elderberries in strainer to release all the liquid.
Stir in raw honey.

*I don’t always simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. I leave my syrup a little runnier (is that a word?). I have found that it’s just as effective and it goes further in our family.

Elderberry Syrup Dosage

Standard dose is ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.


Your homemade syrup should last about 2 weeks in the fridge.

Now, what are you waiting for?! It’s time to order your berries and get cooking! It’s too easy to pass up.

*Always make sure you do not eat raw elderberries or their leaves and bark because they are said to be poisonous and can cause vomiting.

Remember to like Big House in the Woods on Facebook so you’ll never miss a beat!

All the best,

*This post contains affiliate links.