Fight Colds And Flu Naturally: Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Our son's first year of school was spent fighting off multiple colds, the flu and missing a week of school due to pneumonia.  As a mom it was such a helpless feeling to see my son constantly sick.  So despite the pediatricians advice that there was nothing to do but let the virus run its course, I decided to do a little research for ways to boost his immune system.

What I discovered is a tiny little berry, called elderberry, that is packed with vitamins to help boost the immune system and has been shown in studies to reduce cold symptoms.  They also contain flavanoids that help fight against several strains of the flu virus. 

The results:  so far my son has had only one cold and after giving him elderberry syrup instead of traditional over the counter medication that only mask symptoms, his symptoms were completely gone within a week!  I took it myself  when I had a scratchy throat (a sure sign that a cold is on its way) and to my surprise the sore throat was gone within a day or two and I had no cold symptoms at all! 

Store bought elderberry syrup is not cheap, but you can make your own much less expensively.  I used this recipe from Naturally Knocked Up:

Elderberry Syrup

Makes: approx. 16 oz.

1/2 cup dried elderberries
2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
optional ingredients: cinnamon stick, cloves, grated ginger, lemon juice

1.  Put dried elderberries, 2 cups of water and optional ingredients in a small pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by about half.

2.  Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer and use the back of a spoon to gently squeeze out any liquid from the berries.  Stir in honey.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Note:  The original recipe calls for 1 cup of honey, but I found that 1/2 cup is plenty sweet enough for us.  However, the honey also acts as a preservative and if you would like it to store longer you can add more honey. 

Dosage:  Elderberry can be taken daily as a preventative against colds and flu. Elderberry syrup is also very effective at fighting colds, but may ward off a cold completely if given at the earliest sign of a cold.  I've found that there really isn't an exact dosage for elderberry syrup.  I give my children 1 tsp. three times a day if I hear any sniffling, sneezing or complaints about sore throats.  For adults the amount is about 2 tsp. every 3 or 4 hours, but may be taken as much as every couple of hours.  I've also read of adults taking up to one tablespoon at a time.  Not for children under age 1.

Disclaimer:  I am sharing this information from my own experience and not as a licensed health professional.  You should do your own research on this topic to determine if this is the correct course of action for your family.  Please be sure to contact your doctor with any health concerns that you have and follow his/her advice.

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Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

I see this was posted some time ago. I have two elderberry bushes and am interested in making this for next year. My dehydrater has holes too big to dry the berries. Any other ideas? Thanks. Nancy

Vanessa said...

Nancy, You can use 1 cup fresh elderberries in place of the dried elderberries.