Elderberry Syrup

Making elderberry syrup at home is easy and inexpensive. This DIY recipe also avoids the issue of any preservatives or additives you might not want. Elderberry is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of viral illnesses. In particular, this study showed elderberry to be safe and effective against Influenza A and B as well as some bacterial pathogens. I prefer organic dried elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs.

This syrup is actually a glycerite, meaning the base is glycerin rather than alcohol or honey. It’s ideal for children as it is naturally sweet but contains no sugar. It is also safe for children under 12 months, when honey should be avoided. If you prefer to make an elderberry syrup with honey instead of glycerin, Wellness Mama has a great recipe. The spices are optional and you can certainly omit if you prefer. It does have more of a “medicine” flavor with them, but they offer lots of benefits as well. My daughter prefers it just plain.


1/2 cup dried elderberries (about 2oz of the variety I use from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • 2 cups water
1.5-2 cups glycerin


  • Cinnamon – 1 to 2 sticks or 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sliced ginger root – few thin slices
Dried cloves – 1/2 teaspoon


Gently mash dried elderberries. In a saucepan heat water and elderberries, as well as optional ingredients if using. Simmer very low, stirring occasionally, for approximately 45 minutes. Check water level and add a bit more if you need, but mixture should reduce considerably during cooking. Remove from heat and cool for several minutes, then use a fine mesh strainer to strain out elderberries, keeping liquid in a glass jar. Use your hand or a spoon to push the elderberries against the mesh to get out as much liquid as possible. Add glycerin and gently mix. Store in the fridge in a glass jar or bottle.


  • For prevention, take orally most but not all days. Elderberry as a preventative actually works best if NOT taken every day, 5 out of 7 days per week would be perfect.
    • Adults 1-2 teaspoons
    • Children 1/2 teaspoon
  • For acute illness, take a dose every few hours until symptoms subside, gradually decreasing as you improve.

*You may see different dosing recommendations for similar recipes.  Additionally, as a home-brewed product the exact amount of elderberry per dose will vary per recipe.  That’s OK!  Elderberry is very safe, don’t worry about the exact amounts.  Stay well:)

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