Elderberry Syrup

This is absolutely hands down one of my favourite things to make leading up to flu season. Sure I could by it at a health food store but being able to control what goes into the syrup makes me feel so much more at ease. Store bought syrups can be filled with unnecessary sweeteners along with other additions to help with maintain a longer shelf life. In this recipe you will note the option to add an alcohol base which is the ingredient used only to preserve the syrup. Without it and only using water you will have a shorter shelf life which means you will have to consume much quicker. Either way you will get all benefits not only from the elderberries but from any options you add such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric.

Why is Elderberry Syrup a potent cold and flu remedy?

The dried berries of the sambucus nigra plant are naturally high in immune boosting compounds that have been shown to help reduce effects of the cold and flu. Elderberries are high in vitamins A, B, and C and help stimulate the immune system. They are a rich source of antioxidants known as anthocyanins which is where elderberries get the deep purple colour. It also has antiviral properties that may prevent or reduce the severity of certain common infections.

Elderberry syrup is not a new phenomenon and has been around for centuries used to help treat viruses such as the common cold. It has not been proven to prevent illness but has been known to reduce the symptoms, duration and risk of cold viruses. In preliminary research Israeli researchers found that it is the complex sugars in elderberries support the immune system in fighting cold and flu.1

I always have this syrup on hand and use it at first sign of a sniffle. Creating this syrup with some added ingredients that provide, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties boosts my immune system so that it can do the job fighting off whatever it needs to.

A Nurish Well tip is to make a double batch and gift it to your friends and family as your gift, to keep them healthy and strong throughout the cold season.

Simple Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Makes about 3 cups of syrup without alcohol, 4 cups with alcohol. Active Time: 1 hour


  • 2 cups dried organic elderberries

  • 4 cups cold water (distilled, purified, or spring water works best)

  • 3 tbsp. ginger root (peeled and chopped roughly)

  • 1 organic cinnamon stick

  • 2 small pieces turmeric ( peeled and cut in half)

  • 2 tbsp dried organic cloves

  • 2 tbsp dried organic echinacea

  • 1 cup raw, local honey (or organic maple syrup or agave; double the amount of sweetener to increase shelf life

  • 1 cup vodka or brandy (optional to increase shelf life)


  1. Combine berries and herbs with cold water in pot and bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer 30 to 40 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and let steep 1 hour.

  4. Strain berries and herbs using a doubled cheesecloth or undyed cotton mesh bag and squeeze out liquid into a bowl.(careful, liquid will likely still be hot!).

  5. Once liquid has cooled slightly, add honey and stir to incorporate.

  6. If using vodka or brandy, add here and stir until well combined.

  7. Bottle in sterilized glass. (preferably dark glass)

  8. Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties.

1. Z Zakay-Rones1E ThomT WollanJ Wadstein, Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. Mar-Apr 2004;32(2):132-40.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15080016/.