DIY Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu Season

Elderberry syrup is a delicious way to incorporate the health benefits of elderberries into your daily routine. Fresh elderberries are hard to come by, but dried berries can be purchased in natural food stores or online. Elderberry syrup is not difficult to make. Prepared elderberry syrup kits take the guesswork out of making your own syrup by conveniently packaging most of the ingredients you will need.  

Elderberry Basics

These tiny dark blue or purple berries grow on sprawling bushes or hedgerows along country roadsides and are also grown commercially. Elderberries are highly perishable and not available fresh in markets. Unless you can pick them yourself, they must be purchased dried. Their sweet-tart flavor comes from their high sugar and acid content.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is made from berries steeped in boiling water. Prepared kits for making syrup usually include dried elderberries and flavorful additions that are rich in antioxidants such as dried ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Immune-boosting herbs like rose hips, yarrow, nettles, or mullein may also be added. 

The only other ingredients needed are water and honey. Simmer the dried ingredients in water until the liquid reduces by half. Once the liquid is cooled and strained, stir in raw honey. The syrup will keep for two weeks, stored in a jar in the refrigerator.

Health Benefits

Elderberries are rich in phenols, a group of chemical compounds that support the immune system. The anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of these molecules may help to decrease the severity and/or duration of colds and flu.

Elderberries also contain antioxidants and are especially high in vitamin C. These molecules promote healthy cells by combatting the damaging effects of free radicals and oxidation. You can learn more by contacting companies that supply elderberry herbal syrup kits. 

Therapeutic Uses

Syrups are an efficient way to get the health benefits of consuming elderberries. A spoonful of syrup can be taken daily during cold and flu season, as a preventive measure to boost the immune system and ward off viral infections. If you do get a cold or the flu, elderberry syrup taken daily may help you to recover more quickly with milder symptoms.

Culinary Uses

Elderberry syrup is full of complex flavors: tart berries, warm spices, and sweet, floral honey. Use it as a substitute for honey or maple syrup. It can be drizzled on pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, or yogurt. It also makes a flavorful, fruity sweetener for hot or iced tea and lemonade. The deep, purple color of the syrup also adds visual interest to foods and beverages.