Updated: Jun 6
If you or your child has ever had a rough case of the common cold or the flu, you know how miserable it can be. Thankfully, nature provides plant allies that can help strengthen immunity and shorten the duration.
Derived from the berries of European black elder trees, the elderberry has been used to fight upper-respiratory infections for centuries. And, as it turns out, elderberry benefits do have some solid science behind them that include a few high-quality, placebo-controlled human trials, the kind that is required for pharmaceuticals. The research shows great promise in taking it at the onset of symptoms may lessen their severity and help you feel better faster.
Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberries naturally contain vitamins A, B, and C and various flavonoids — botanical compounds that protect cells from oxidative damage — which may help keep colds and flus under control.
“Elderberry is antiviral as well. It loosens mucus, making it easier to cough and preventing [an upper-respiratory virus] from turning into pneumonia or bronchitis.” explains Irina Todorov, M.D., an integrative physician at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine. Although she cautions women who are pregnant or nursing and anyone taking immunosuppressant drugs against using elderberry.
How To Make Elderberry Syrup
The whole process is easy and can be done while doing other things around the house. The first step will be to gather dried organic elderberries which are available here.
3½ cups water
2/3 cup dried elderberries
2 TBSP ginger (grated)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
1 cup raw honey
Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle.
You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take when symptoms arise for its immune boosting properties.