The word elderberry sounds like a fictional fruit from The Lord of the Rings, if you ask me. The first time I mentioned elderberry to the kids, my then five year old asked if there was a ‘youngerberry’. In truth, I’ve only learned about this interesting berry in the last year or so of researching about natural alternatives to healing. I first tried a commercially made syrup from the health food store, which can cost $9 to $20 depending on the brand. I then found a recipe with a taste that the approve of, and cost much less than the store bought brand.
The elderberry is one of the 30 or so species of the sambucus genus of flowering plants. The black elderberry, or sambucus nigra, is the specie commonly used in medicinal formulations, and it’s what I used for this easy syrup recipe.
Note: I love playing doctor with my kids, but I’m not a real one. Check with your own health provider before you replace your fever medication with this syrup.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup
1/3 cup of dried raw elderberry
1.5 cups of water 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp. cinnamon powder)
¼ tsp. clove powder
½ cup raw honey
Add all ingredients EXCEPT honey in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes. The liquid will reduce to about half.
Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, strain using a fine mesh sieve, then stir in the honey. Store in a glass container. This recipe makes about 250 ml.
The dose I give is 1 tablespoon for adults and 1 teaspoon for kids, once a day. At the first sign of a cold or flu, give the same amount but every 3 to 4 hours.
I keep my elderberry syrup in the fridge and it stays fresh for over two weeks. I’ve never had it stay longer than that because I only make small batches, so the one we take is always recently made.
** This syrup should NOT be given to children under 1 year old because it contains honey**
What other natural treatments have you tried for your family when they come down with the cold or flu?
Cristy Rocillo is a full time homemaker, who homeschools her seven children. She strives to live life as a modern day Proverbs 31 woman. You can learn more about her scrapbooking, baking, industrious life on her blog www.thepaperhappy.com.