Better Off Well




Homemade Elderberry Syrup

If you're not hearing quite as much from me these days, it's because I accepted a position as Director of the HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Community Center in Milford, MA and I'm working hard to build a wellness community there. If you are from the area, I invite you to join the HeartSong Facebook page or to sign up for our newsletter on this page . We are bringing so many quality programs to the community, like the one last week with herbalist Barbara Aspland-Wolf, who taught us the importance of herbs to our health. She showed us how to make a number of immune-boosting tinctures, teas, and syrups, including this homemade elderberry syrup.

Elderberries are known as a powerful antioxidant, and are used in complementary medicine to lower cholesterol, boost heart health, and improve the immune system. A spoonful a day can be taken as a preventive measure, or three times a day at the first sign of a cold or flu.

Note that as with any herb, if you are taking medication or are pregnant or nursing, you should always check with your doctor before using. This syrup contains honey as well, so not recommended for children under 2.

Elderberry syrup was SO easy to make, I can't believe I haven't been doing this sooner. Instead, I've been paying $18 for a bottle every winter, usually twice. And that's just for two of us. The least expensive I could find on Amazon was $16.95 for a 7.5 ounce bottle. One homemade batch fills 4 five ounce bottles, which I purchased here. The berries I purchased here because I needed them quickly, but Mountain Rose Herbs is a very trusted source as well.

So after the cost of the berries, the local honey, and the bottles, I was still able to fill 4 bottles at less than $5 per. That's pretty darn fabulous.

We have used elderberry syrup every winter at the first sign of a cold, and along with other measures (probiotics, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, diffuser with eucalyptus oil, water, no sugar, and rest) the cold usually doesn't stand a chance. Often gone within a 2-3 days and doesn't take us down in the meantime.

So here is the recipe! Please comment and let me know what you think.

Ingredients 3 c filtered water 1/2 c dried elderberries 3/4 c local honey


Pour water into a medium-sized pot atop the stove and add berries. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 50-60 minutes. Strain and cool for a few minutes before stirring in honey, so you maintain the probiotic effects of the honey.

Once cooled, store in the fridge for up to 2 months. As soon as you hear sniffles, my local herbalist suggests taking 1 tbsp three times a day; 1 tsp for children. I take a 1 tbsp in the morning a few times a week during the winter as a preventive measure, and give a tsp to my son on the same mornings. We've been flu-free for years now...and colds don't usually last long.

Additions to add in the boiling/simmering phase for immune-boosting properties...

Ginger Rose Hips Cinnamon (preferably ceylon) Cherry Bark (good especially for colds that are in the lungs)

Note: Elderberries are medicinal and just like any medicine, you need to take precautions. If you are pregnant, nursing, or are on other medications, check with your practitioner. Elderberries work great in my family, and with many people, but may not be for everyone.