how to make elderberry cough syrup

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been used medicinally for hundreds of years to treat a wide variety of illnesses. I use the fresh berries in jams, jellies or juice and the dried berries I make syrup or gummies. Dried berries stored in an air tight container, out of sunlight will last for several years. The fresh berries will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Elderberries are a superfood and are very rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, helping to protect your body from free radical damage. These berries are abundant in the minerals potassium, iron, copper, and phosphorous. Also elderberries contain vitamin B6, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Health Benefits

In addition to being antioxidant, the berries are antimicrobial, antiviral and anti inflammatory making them effective in treating the common cold, flu, constipation, hay fever, and sinus infections. In clinical studies elderberry treats upper respiratory conditions through its immunomodulatory properties, which treat viral infections of the respiratory tract and relieve symptoms like nasal congestion and coughing.

Elderberry syrup alleviates flu symptoms like fever, sore throat, fatigue, chills, and muscle aches if taken within the first forty-eight hours of having the flu.

Other health benefits are improved eyesight, better skin, stronger bones, to treat cancer, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and others.

Important information to remember if you decide to harvest your own elderberries; The leaves, branches, and twigs of all elderberry species have trace elements of the toxin cyanide, which can accumulate in the body and make you sick, so you need to be careful! Heat destroys the cyanide precursors in both the juice and seeds of the elderberry, which makes the whole berry safe to eat.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

I have even poured this syrup on my pancakes and stirred in yogurt! It tastes that good!

  • 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups of distilled water
  • 1 cup honey
  • Put the berries in a medium sized nonreactive sauce pan and cover them with the water.
  • Bring the water and berries to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
  •  Smash the berries and then strain them out. I use muslin over a strainer and then squeeze the muslin to get all the juices I can out of the berries.
  • Once its warm to the touch, add the honey and stir well.
  •  When the syrup has cooled put it into bottles, label and store in the refrigerator. The syrup will keep for 2 to 3 months in the fridge or 1 year in the freezer.


For children under one year old, honey isn’t recommended,  so you can use maple syrup, agave nectar etc in place of the honey.

Dosage: Children over 1: 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. once daily        Adults: take 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp once daily

If flu strikes take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

There you have it!  Now you can make your own immune boosting syrup.

Try Before You DIY

elderberry syrup

Elderberry syrup has been shown to boost immunity and decrease mucus production during colds and fight the flu.

My elderberry syrup is made with elderberries, distilled water, and local honey. This is the Simplers Method, using one herb instead of many so you know what herb assists you. The syrup comes in a 4 oz. glass jar.

Elderberries make a wonderful soothing cough syrup and flu fighter. Elderberries have immune enhancing properties to lessen your symptoms and shorten the duration of colds, coughs, and flu.

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