One of the more common herbal remedies during the winter is elderberry syrup. While there is a wide array of herbs that are well-suited to address specific wellness goals during the colder months, elderberry is one of the best choices for general immune support that can be taken all year long.
Elderberry in syrup form is one of many ways to enjoy this herb, but also one of the easiest to make with so many great benefits.
Benefits Of Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry also known as Sambucus have the ability to help maintain a healthy functioning immune system. Being in syrup form is a plus because they are made with a decent portion of raw honey which acts as natural preservation plus honey has its own benefits like antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
The flavor of elderberry is sweet and a real delicacy so it can also double as a topping to oatmeal, waffles, and desserts (I did say year-round!)
Elderberry has been used as a treatment for, constipation, joint and muscle pain, headaches, fever, kidney problems, epilepsy, minor skin conditions, and stress.
Fresh Or Dried Elderberries?
You can use either or, they both work well, typically I use dry because they are easier to find year-round than fresh ones. If you have access to fresh, by all means, use it.
Is Elderberry Syrup Shelf Stable?
Syrups are capable of staying out for longer periods of time also known as being shelf-stable without being refrigerated if they have a higher content of sugar, alcohol, or both. These additions help discourage the development of mold and bacteria. If you want your syrup to be more shelf-stable you will need to double the amount of honey suggested in the following recipe or add the optional alcohol.
Is Elderberry Syrup Safe For Infants?
The answer is NO. Honey is not suitable for children under 1 year of age so please do not give them elderberry syrup, this is due to a rare condition called infantile botulism. I use honey in the recipe since it is a natural preservative and contains its own natural beneficial properties. However, if you feel you need to give your child syrup, you can substitute honey for maple syrup or sugar.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
Makes 3 cups of syrup without alcohol, 4 cups with alcohol.
Active Time: 1 hour
- 2 cups dried/fresh organic elderberries
- 4 cups cold water (distilled, purified, or spring water works best)
- 2-3 teaspoons organic dried ginger root
- 1 organic sweet cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
- ½ of an organic vanilla bean pod scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract (optional)
- 1 cup raw, local honey (or organic maple syrup or agave for a vegan/infant-friendly recipe); double the amount of sweetener to increase shelf life
- 1 cup vodka or brandy (optional to increase shelf life)
- Combine berries and herbs with cold water in pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let steep 1 hour.
- Strain berries and herbs using a funnel overlaid with doubled cheesecloth and squeeze out liquid. (liquid will still be hot, use caution)
- Once the liquid has cooled to just above room temperature, add honey and stir to incorporate.
- If using vodka or brandy, add here and stir until well combined.
- Bottle in sterilized glass.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.*