DIY: Ultimate Elderberry Syrup Collection |

DIY: Ultimate Elderberry Syrup Collection

admin January 21, 2013

Contributed to by Kate Tietje, Roxanne, Rustina. Updated in 2023.

The most important way to reduce the risk of sickness is to eat a healthy real food diet and support your immune system, and during the winter months, by getting enough rest. Most people don’t eat a 100% perfect diet all the time (us included), and we all allow ourselves to get run down from time to time. Colds and viruses are bound to happen to us and our children occasionally, but how we handle illness is most important. 

Why You Should Reconsider Over-the-Counter Medicine

The conventional answer to colds and viruses is over-the-counter (OTC) medications like decongestants or antihistamines. Although they may provide temporary relief, they may also come with drowsiness and dizziness. Additionally, these OTC options do not support the body’s natural process of fighting the infection – only masking the issues and suppressing the body’s actions to protect itself by coughing. Using immune-supporting herbs and foods (like elderberry) during a cold can help shorten the length and severity (1).

Ultimate Elderberry Syrup Collection

Many herbs can help fight a cold and make cold symptoms more bearable. Elderberries have been used for centuries as a preventative treatment for colds and the flu. There is a long list of benefits to taking this herb including reducing congestion and shortening the length of the cold or flu symptoms. Echinacea is also a popular herb to fight a cold, and it is best taken at the first sign of symptoms. Another great herb to add to this list is rose hips. Rose hips are very high in vitamin C, which is important to help fight off illness.

If you haven’t read Earthley’s guide, What You Need to Know About Elderberries, or our blog posts Is Elderberry Really The Best Flu Remedy? and Elderberry Herbal Profile, I highly recommend doing so. These two posts are great starters for understanding this remarkable yet often misunderstood herb. From not using elderberry if you have an autoimmune disease to taking elderberry will cause a cytokine storm and kill you; the misconstrued claims can be overwhelming.

A quick review of some elderberry benefits include: 

  • May support the immune system
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • May improve cold and flu symptoms
  • Supports heart health
  • May help fight cancer
  • May lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin dependence
  • Supports skin health
  • May improve allergy symptoms

The bottom line is that elderberry has many exceptional properties and appears safe in all studied populations. 

We recommend:

  • Taking an elderberry syrup or tincture daily, in small amounts, unless you have a negative reaction to it (not all herbs are for all people!)
  • Using elderberry from August through March (the majority of flu season), especially if symptoms develop or you have been exposed. During the other months, if sinus infections or seasonal allergies are an issue for you.
  • Caution in individuals with autoimmune conditions. Generally, we recommend trying elderberry for immune support when not sick to see how you’ll react to it. It is better to start it when you don’t feel under the weather. Astragalus root may be a better option if you respond negatively to elderberries. Feel free to check out Sarena-Rae’s experience taking elderberry with an autoimmune disease.

As we know, elderberries are potent medicine, and they can strongly affect several conditions like flu, cold, strep throat, and other bacterial infections like UTIs! If someone in your house comes down with one of these, shows potential symptoms, or is exposed to these, begin dosing with elderberry as quickly as possible.

Continue doing so for 2 to 5 days until symptoms abate, and follow up with lots of probiotics (especially those that contain lactobacillus plantarum or s. boulardii) and a quality cod liver oil (we recommend Earthley’s Cod Liver Oil). Fresh pineapple juice (including the core) may also prove beneficial during the illness. 

Of course, many other herbs and alternatives are beneficial. Many swear by oil of oregano, colloidal silver, garlic, various essential oils, and other herbs. These can all have their time and place. Feel free to use or include whatever else you have researched or found works for you.

Thankfully, making homemade herbal syrups is simple and can be done with little experience or equipment. We recommend freezing elderberry syrup if you make it in large batches. It should last 1 to 2 months in the fridge, though. Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for – our elderberry syrup recipes.

The Ultimate Elderberry Syrup


  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 4-1/4″ slices fresh ginger
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 cup raw honey or grade B maple syrup


Step 1: Mix the dried elderberries, water, and fresh ginger in a medium saucepan, turn the pan on low-medium, and heat until it simmers.

Step 2: Simmer this for 20 – 30 minutes, checking carefully to ensure it doesn’t boil too hard or the water doesn’t boil away. Add a bit of extra water if you need to.

Step 3: Allow the syrup to cool. Then, strain the syrup through a sieve. You should end up with around 2 cups of juice.

Step 4: Discard the berries and ginger. Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm. Add the honey. 

Step 5: Add the lemon juice before stirring to combine completely. Pour it into a glass jar for storage and put it in the fridge. Your elderberry syrup is finished!

Notes: This should be used at the first sign of illness or concern that you may have an illness coming. The dose is about 1 tsp. every 2 – 3 hours for a child, and 1 tbsp. every 2 – 3 hours for older children (6+) and adults. Continue to dose this way during an illness for 2 – 5 days until symptoms abate. You may combine this with warm baths in Epsom salts, crushed ginger swallowed or rubbed on the feet, and other natural remedies if desired. Rest or allow the child to rest as much as possible, too.

Cold Fixer Syrup


  • 1 cup elderberries, dried
  • 1/2 cup mullein leaves 
  • 1 tbsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 3 tbsp. yarrow leaf 
  • 2 cup filtered water
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup acerola powder


Step 1: Combine elderberries, mullein, fenugreek, yarrow, and water in a saucepan. Stir until the herbs are all moistened. Place the pan on the stove and turn on high until it boils.

Step 2: Boil the herbs for about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to sit and steep for 10 – 15 minutes longer.

Step 3: Pour the herbs through a strainer or cheesecloth into a glass cup, jar, or bowl (I used a mason jar, but a measuring cup or something with a wider mouth would have been easier).

Step 4: Squeeze the herbs to get as liquid out as possible.

Step 5: You want about 1 c. of liquid left once you’re done. Add the acerola powder and raw honey and stir until dissolved.

Step 6: Refrigerate and take up to 1 tbsp. every hour (adults) or 1 tsp. every 2 – 3 hours (children). Continue to take less and less frequently (down to 1 – 2x a day) until symptoms are gone or nearly gone.

Herbal Cold Syrup


  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup elderberries
  • 1/8 cup dried echinacea
  • 1/8 cup dried rose hips
  • 1/2 cup  raw honey


Step 1: Pour the water and herbs into a saucepan to a boil for 3 minutes. 

Step 2: Turn off the heat and let it steep for 30 minutes.  

Step 3: Pour the herbal-infused water into a mason jar. Let it cool in the jar.  

Step 4: Once it has cooled, add the honey into the jar and shake until blended.  

How to Use: Take small doses of this every 1-2 hours while you are sick.

Cough & Cold Syrup


  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries
  • 2 tbsp. rosehips
  • 2 tbsp. slippery elm bark
  • 1 tbsp. fenugreek powder
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup raw honey


Step 1: Put all the ingredients except honey into a saucepan.

Step 2: Turn it on and simmer on low until thick and syrupy, 20 – 30 minutes.

Step 3: Remove from heat and allow to cool for about an hour. Then, strain the mixture. 

Step 4: Add the raw honey to the cooled mixture and stir together. Now you have a homemade, safe syrup!

Remember, mind honey is not recommended for children under 1 year of age. However, some feel that Babies Can Eat Honey (Sometimes). You may choose to use sucanat instead, in which case you need to dissolve it in the still-hot herbal mixture ifplannning to give this to a baby.

***Does this sound great, but you don’t have the time or ingredients right now? Try our Elderberry Elixir or DIY Elderberry Syrup Kits.***


Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

What’s your favorite elderberry recipe?

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  1. We’ve been very healthy so far this winter. We have gone through a quart of elderberry syrup between the 6 of us. Making more today. We don’t have any autoimmune issues nor have I ever heard of anyone having any issues with elderberry so we take it daily with some breaks. That, some herbs and homeopathy, probiotics, and FCLO has kept the viruses at bay(:


  2. Can this be made with frozen elderberries?


  3. Please tell me why the ginger must be fresh? Have you tried it with dried ginger bits and found it did not work as well?


  4. I am making elderberry syrup for the first time tonight! I am using your recipe (I love that you have included the lemon juice in it, this is the only recipe I’ve seen that has the addition of lemon juice) I have bought pre-made elderberry syrup in the past, but this is so easy! I will never buy it from someone else again. Thanks!


  5. On med-low it does not come close to boiling or a simmer. So I am curious if it breaking down the toxicity. Do you know what temp it should get to? And for how long?


  6. On other websites it says to bring to boil, then simmer for 45 min-ish.


  7. In your other elderberry recipe (/2012/10/03/the-many-uses-of-elder/#.UR0IgqVwfgh) you cook the berries for 2 hours; in this one, you cook them for 20-30 minutes. Why the difference in time? Is the shorter time better?

    In advance, thank you for your time and help.



  8. […] tried elderberry syrup (which is more potent than you think!), vitamin C, and lots of other supplements recommended to us […]


  9. […] it: Make your own elderberry syrup, or use it in cough/cold […]


  10. […] 1. Ultimate Elderberry Syrup by Modern Alternative Mama […]


  11. Is this safe for babies? I have an 8 month old, and while I hope we don’t have a reason to use this, I’d like to know if I can if the need arises! I’m assuming in that case I would need to use maple syrup instead of honey…


  12. […] on all of this research, I will post a new elderberry syrup recipe next week that incorporates the best combination of natural remedies.  This syrup may also be […]


  13. […] syrup is easily made (I’ve heard, I haven’t actually made it yet. But have been gifted homemade Elderberry […]


  14. I have used elderberry successfully in the past. I take coumadin and wondered if it has a lot of Vit. K in it?


  15. I did something like this the other day. But we’ve been mixing it into a mug of hot water and drinking it like tea.


  16. Do you think you could can this syrup? It is berries. I’m wondering if I could water bath it. Have you ever tried?


  17. I recently posted a question about my syrup fermenting. Was the post deleted?


  18. […] other ingredients and we made several different natural remedies for the upcoming winter.  We made elderberry syrup, cough syrup, and some other projects I haven’t published […]


  19. […] during the rash, but they all developed a cough after it began healing and at that point I gave elderberry syrup.  (I didn’t give it to the baby, he is EBF so I took it […]


  20. Do you know how much fresh elderberries to use in order to equal one cup of dried berries?


  21. Do you know how many fresh berries would equal 1 cup of dried berries?


  22. […] Ultimate Elderberry Syrup from Modern Alternative Mama […]


  23. […] You can buy elderberry syrup from many retailers, but it is very easy and much less expensive to make your own!  Here is the recipe we are using; it is adapted from the ebook, Herbal Nurturing by Michelle Augar and from the recipe from Modern Alternative Mama. […]


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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