Homemade Elderberry Syrup!

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DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe | Real Food RN

Even though I work in a hospital, I do not turn to medication to treat or prevent illness in my family. In fact, my children have never even had antibiotics! In my granola mama journey to achieve optimum health for my babies, I have focused more-so on prevention and it seems to have paid off with some very healthy little ones. This flu season has hit…HARD. I see it both at work and out in the community. I decided to take action and keep it out of my home by whipping up some homemade Elderberry Syrup!  

Why is elderberry syrup healthy? Because elderberries….

  • are very high in vitamin A
  • have more vitamin C than oranges
  • are very high in quercitin (an antioxidant)
  • are anti-inflammatory
  • possess antiviral properties that have been shown to treat colds and flu



  • Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey yet, because the heat will destroy many of its medicinal benefits)
  • Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.

DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe | Real Food RN

  • At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled
  • Pour through a strainer into a glass bowl

DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe | Real Food RN

DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe | Real Food RN

  • Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm
  • When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well
  • When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind (I used an old dressing bottle)
  • Store in the fridge, it will last several months!
  • I also use this syrup to make my Healthy Gummies for Colds, Flu and Sleep. My kids LOVE them!

DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe | Real Food RN


  • Standard dose is 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp for kids and 1/2 Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults
  • If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear
  • Also, it tastes great on pancakes or ice-cream!

DIY Elderberry Syrup Recipe | Real Food RN

Just a few words on the alternative (Tamiflu)…

Back in 2008, the FDA started reviewing reports of abnormal behavior and disturbing brain effects in more than 1,800 children who had taken Tamiflu. The symptoms included convulsions, delirium and delusions. In Japan, five deaths were reported in children under 16 as a result of such neurological or psychiatric problems. Seven adult deaths have also been attributed to Tamiflu, due to its neuropsychiatric effect. According to a 2009 study, more than half of children taking Tamiflu experience side effects such as nausea and nightmares. Other more rare and bizarre side effects have also been reported, such as the case of a 19-year old British girl who developed toxic epidermal necrolysis and blindness after taking Tamiflu last year.” (Mercola.com)

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  1. Christine says

    Hi I just found your blog and love it. Can you use dry elderberries? I can’t find fresh ones. Can you recommend where to find fresh organic elderberries? I was going to order dry elderberries from Mountain Rose Herb Company. Thanks

    • says

      I use dry elderberries. I just soak them in distilled water to reconstitute the night before. I drain them, saving the liquid! The liquid that was not needed to puff up the berries again should be used as the water to boil them in – just measure it so the proportions are correct.

  2. Michelle says

    Kate I read something about Sambucol being effective yet different than plain elderberry syrup. Do you know anything about it? What are your thoughts?

  3. Kate says

    I just made this with fresh black elder berries that I picked. I ended up with a greater volume of syrup because they were a lot juicier than I anticipated! I’m looking forward to giving this to my family, but do you know if it’s safe for me to give it to a 19 month old? She starts daycare on Tuesday and I’d love her to be able to take it.

  4. Siera Struss says

    Hey there, since I became a mom 4 years ago, I have been digging around for information on raising a well family. I am excited I found this blog! My question is how different is store bought ground cloves and cinnamon (in the spice aisle) from what you have linked here? I recently started making my own shampoo and lotion, and as you know, starting out takes a lot of money so I can’t really afford to order a whole stock of supplies. *I understand that store bought clove powder won’t be organic, but will it have the same benefits?*

  5. Katie says

    Hi! I just found your blog and I love it! Thank you! We were recently transferred to Canada for business so I’m having a hard time finding some of the ingredients (Canada’s Amazon website doesn’t have a lot of options). I did however find Elderberry Concentrate that I would like to use until I find dried elderberries. How would you suggest I use it for my kids (I have 15 month old twins and a 4 year old)? Should I still mix it will all the other ingredients in your recipe and boil? The instructions suggest to stir with warm or cold water before drinking. Any ideas?

    • says

      As I am not familiar with the product I can’t give advice on dosing. But you should just be able to follow the instructions on the box? I would definitely dilute it. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  6. says

    Great recipe. The only thing I would suggest is to use Ceylon Cinnamon sticks which has low Coumarin levels (compared to Cassia Cinnamon) which can damage your liver. OK, admittedly this is a small amount of Cinnamon, but if you are using good honey, I say use good Cinnamon.

    I generally prefer to use whole Cinnamon sticks, especially with Ceylon Cinnamon because the powder has usually lost its efficacy from being exposed to sunlight and being in storage for so long. And this is a great recipe where you can use the sticks.

  7. Snowy says

    Hello there fellow RN, I am making this wonderful recipe and the amazing fragrance is filling my home. After such a long time of boiling how much of the beneficial ingredients are still present, do you know?

    • says

      Actually, cooking the Elderberries is what makes them beneficial. They can be toxic if eaten raw in large amounts. Adding the honey at the end makes sure that the honey remains nutritionally intact. It does smell very good when cooking :)

  8. says

    thanks for a great post, I just followed your link to get the elderberries and honey, but have you ever made this with fresh ginger? I have some organic ginger sitting here, and am wondering about using that instead. If so, would I change the quantities? thanks again!

  9. Erin says

    Can you store the extra dry elderberries in the cabinet or do you need to freeze them to keep them fresh? (I’m making my first batch of syrup right now! Yay!)

    • says

      I cannot speak from experience, but I would think if you divide it into 48 doses (approximately how many gummies the recipe makes) and add that amount, substituting juice foe the liquid (if it’s less than 1/4 cup). Make sense. That’s how I would do it. But again, I have not tried it myself…

  10. Stephanie says

    Last time I made elderberry syrup I just used elderberries, water and honey. This recipe gave it a lot more flavor! The kids said it tasted much better! Thank you!

  11. says

    I bought the dried elderberry powder from Mountain Rose Herbs instead of the whole berries. I tried making someone else’s recipe but didn’t reduce the syrup by half only simmering for 20 minutes. It didn’t turn into a syrup.

    I’m going to try your recipe. I’m hoping the powder versus whole doesn’t make much of a difference and I actually get a syrup this time. Oh and the kids did not like the ginger in the mix. I’ll try leaving it out this time.

  12. Chelsea says

    Hello… I made this tonight and think I did something wrong. It seems really liquidy, (I had it on low for an hour) also the taste is SUPER strong. I am not sure my son will take it. I put some organic stavia drops in to sweeten it up but should it be very liquidy or more syrupy?

  13. Maria says

    Is it possible to use instead of the dried elderberries, frozen ones? I haven’t been able to buy the one online but I know Trader Joe’s carries the frozen ones. Thanks :)

  14. Shaina says

    I plan on making this for my husband and me to take and I was wondering when my baby can start taking it. He’s 6.5 months. I know he can’t have the honey, but what if I left that out?

  15. Brandi Collins says

    I am making my first batch if this right now and I have a few questions. I read through most of the other posts to seek answers, but still have a few questions. Can this be given to a 23 month old or is it for 2 and up? Also, we do vaccinate on a delayed schedule, do you think that this would interfere too much with her immune system, as we have a big vaccination coming up next month.I myself have an autoimmune disease kind of like lupus and have read that it may not be a good idea for me to take this. Do you know anything about that? I am not sure if you have any of these answers, but I figured I would ask. Thanks for a great recipe,

    • says

      Well, I am not licensed to give medical advice. But, I can say that I gave it to my kids when they were <2 years old. I am not sure what to tell you about autoimmune disease and how this might affect it. You might need to google search it. Sorry I could not be of more help.

  16. Kim says

    I have been told by my landlord that I have an elderberry tree in the backyard. Could this be made with fresh elderberries?

  17. Melissa VanSlambrouck says

    Hi, I’m making a batch of elderberry syrup for the first time. I’m buying the organic elderberries off of Amazon, but just curious if it’s best/optimal to use organic ingredients for the remainder of the recipe? For example, I already have ground cloves in my pantry, but they’re not organic. I didn’t know if I’m missing out on extra health benefits, etc., by using non-organic ingredients…don’t want to break the bank if I don’t have to! Thanks!

  18. Jacqueline says

    I have a toddler who is picky about spices . Would this recipe be as effective if I left out the ginger and clove and only included the elderberries, water and honey?

  19. Jacqueline says

    Hi Kate, I have a very picky toddler. Will this recipe be just as effective if I leave out the clover and ginger and make the recipe with only elderberries, cinnamon, water and honey? Thanks!

    • says

      Thats a good question. I have not used fresh berries. Since you cook it down anyway, I dont really think it matters. You can use a little less water with fresh, I am assuming.

  20. says

    Can you please tell me where to find dark glass jars for storing this? Do those blue ones work as well as amber? Will it work to cover a canning jar in brown paper? Thank you.

  21. says

    Everything I’ve read says to store this syrup in a dark glass bottle away from light and in the refrigerator. I am not sure what brand of amber glass bottles to use. I wrote one company and they said theirs were not food grade. Can you suggest a brand for 8 oz. or 16 oz. storage? Will those light blue “Heritage” canning jars work? thank you.

  22. Jody A Johnson-Foote says

    In 2009 my entire family came down with the swine flu at the same time. I gave my kids tariffs and I took elderberry syrup as well as 5 other herbs/vitamins/minerals. I felt much better within one week and my symptoms were completely gone in 2 weeks, they took about twice the time to recover.

  23. Pat Volpe Eno says

    Out of a 1# bag of dried elderberries how many bottles were you able to get? Trying to figure the costs. Thank, Kate.

    • says

      Many many bottles, I store the berries in my freezer. I use old dressing bottles and I would say that one bag probably makes 10 bottles. Thats an estimate

  24. Stephanie says

    The standard dose….is that to be taken everyday almost like taking a vitamin and then when sick with the flu, take every three hours. Is that correct? I wasn’t sure if it’s to be taken everyday or just when sick.

  25. says

    We have been using elderberry syrup for some time now. We were given a gallon jar of elderberry juice and I want to use it for the syrup recipe. Can you help me figure out how much juice I would use for this recipe? Thank You

  26. says

    As for juice, I think it would be a matter of someone measuring the amt of juice they end up with after boiling all the ingredients and before adding the honey.
    And Again – -Someone PLEASE help me on this!
    I keep reading about this syrup needing to be in dark bottles, but all the homemade recipes show clear glass. Does it REALLY matter? Colored bottles are SO hard to find — and MUST it be in glass and not plastic, like cleaned OJ bottles? thanks

  27. Lara Léger says

    Sounds like a great recipe! I usually give my son fresh garlic, massive amounts of vitamin C & echinacea when he starts to sniffle. I may have to give this a try!

  28. Sarah Hsu Bonvini says

    Making my second batch right now! My whole family has been a little under the weather since Thursday. I started giving them the syrup, and although they aren't 100%, the sickness has been so, so mild. When I get sick, I'm usually down for about 4-5 days. With this, I've only had a slight sore throat and mild stuffy nose. Love it!!

    Also, my 3 year old is super picky and hates everything. I put a TSP of this into some sparkling water, and she guzzles it down.

  29. Amanda DeWald says

    I recently ordered some Elderberry Syrup from Mountain Rose Herbs and just found out that we are expecting. I have been feeling like a cold is coming on, would this be something you would take during pregnancy (I know you are not a DR and i'm not asking for medical advice, just wondering if you would personally do it). I've read some info that says its fine and others that say its not, just wondering what others have done. Thanks!

  30. J'Marinde says

    Has anybody else noticed excessive tiredness and sleepiness after taking this? I gave some to my brother and he told me it made him very tired,, so I told him to take it at night. I did not realizes that this was ALSO the likely source of my overwhelming exhaustion during the daytime . Is this a normal reaction; is it possibly a sign of my body fighting off various low level bacteria and virus’s? Thanks for any information anyone can offer.

  31. J'Marinde says

    When they had cooked long enough, I mashed the berries and then poured them into a strainer and mashed them some more to get all the juice as they drained. Is there something in the seeds that might cause the sleepiness?

  32. jayde says

    Hello! I’m breastfeeding and have a few questions. First will it harm or benefit my 4 month old breastfed baby? And if I just use the elderberry juice alone daily, how much and how many times a day? Thanks!

  33. Paula says

    I received my order of organic dried elderberries from sunburst superfoods and saw that there are small stems thoughout. I have read the stems are toxic and have never seen them in the others I have purchased at our local health food store. Any comments on this I would greatly appreciate any feedback. Thank you.

    • says

      I would be sure to complain to the company you bought them from, not only about the toxicity but that stems are used add weight. I would also go to Amazon and buy a one pound bag of the Frontier brand of these (Organic European Elderberries). I use them and they are FABULOUS!
      GREAT elderberry syrup from the recipe here!!! Thank you. (I add just a pinch of cloves and use a simple syrup base in place of the honey, which is often too rich for me. I cooked the syrup then divided the recipe in half, leaving half in the pan and strained the cooked elderberry mixture right into it. Voila!)

      • paula says

        Thank you for the replies. Ihave complained to company and still awaiting response. I usually get the elderberries from our healthfood store who gets them from frontier also and they are very clean but have been out of stock for three weeks! I am not using the sunburst elderberries but have been back to buying sambucol since the flu is announcing itself!! Are there any other companies to order from that are comparable to frontier? Thank you!

        • J'Marinde says

          HI Paula;
          It sounds like you are doing what I do. Usually when I cannot get Frontier, I revert back to buying Sambucol, however NOW Foods seems to have some good products too and they are available on AMZ. Maybe check them out.

          • paula says

            Well, I just ordered through amazon so we shall see! Florida Herb House. So many are out of stock! Hopefully they will be good quality and I can get back to making our own syrup because with 4 of us taking it ,the sambucol goes quick and it really adds up! Thanks again for the input! By the way this is also the recipe I have used since last year with great results. No dr. visits with any of us for a year now!

  34. Rebecca Rose Heidenreich says

    I am also a breastfeeding momma. I have used my own homemade elderberry (with honey) and have had no issues. as a preventative, take half a tablespoon every night before bed. As a treatment after becoming ill, take a full tablespoon every 3-4 hours. Baby may receive trace amounts of elderberry through breastmilk, but it is totally fine! I also started giving my son some of my syrup around 11 months when he had a cough!

  35. Adriana says

    Hi. I would like to know if the syrup can be used daily just to prevent sickness and also if you give to the kids the gummies (how many?) in case of cold or flu at the same time, I mean both syrup and gummies or just one?
    Many thanks!

    • says

      We all take a dose in the morning during cold and flu season. We take it every few hours when someone is sick. I give the kids about 5 gummies when they are sick. We don’t take the gummies every day, just the syrup

  36. Adriana says

    Hi Kate, thank you for your reply in my prior post 😉
    I finally was able to make the syrup today but I didn’t realize that for the honey I needed pretty much the whole jar (11oz) I just had a half of it. Do you think it’s going to be effective for the daily doses??

  37. BrandiNichol says

    I’ve made several batches of this but just realized I never reconstitute the dried berries. Is this necessary? I did notice my liquid did not cut in half. I made a double batch so I thought maybe I should simmer for another hour but still barely. It is definitely simmering (can see the bubbles) and had the lid on.

  38. Fenella says

    Can the syrup be frozen? It would be nice to be able to make a large batch. I was thinking maybe freezing it before adding the honey, then mixing in honey once I thaw some out.

  39. elizabeth says

    My son currently has the flu and my 9 month old was put on Tamiflu to prevent her from getting it. Is this safe for her to take?

    • says

      I started giving it to my kids once they were one year old because it has honey in it and that should not be given to kiddos under the age of one.

  40. Dale Trefz says

    OK, what did I do wrong??? I ended up with a few teaspoons of "syrup" and that was only after adding more water a couple of times during the simmering, it just seemed to go who knows where?? And that is after a lot of pressing through the strainer. If I had added all the honey I would have had mostly purple honey.

  41. Sabrina says

    I read somewhere that you need to soak the berries before you make the syrup, but I don’t see that in your list of how to, so I was wondering if it’s really necessary & the last time I made elderberry syrup by another recipe a friend had given me, they were still crunchy after boiling them. Your recipe is definitely different, but I’m just curious if they are still crunchy, should I continue to boil?

    • says

      The honey has medicinal benefits, if you use raw honey. Otherwise, you could certainly sweeten with maple syrup too. It has some minerals in it.

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