Homemade Homemaker: Elderberry Syrup
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 cup dried elderberries (about ¼ lb)
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup raw honey
- 2 T fresh grated ginger (optional)
- 1 Qt mason jar
- for children (over 1) 1 tsp daily as an immune system supplement
- for adults 1 Tbsp daily as a supplement
- during illness, the dosage can be taken every 2-3 hours to treat cough and boost immune system
- when exposed to illness, dosage can be taken 3-4 times a day to boost immune system.
- For infants, 1 tsp can be added to some boiling water to kill the microbes in the honey and then added to food or drink.
I wouldn’t recommend mixing with juice (especially if using ginger). The flavor is strong, so it makes the juice taste weird, though it’s not bad just drinking straight.
I would find a smaller container that’s easy to pour from to store some in for easy use. I used an old maple syrup container.
My kids have fun drinking it out of a little mug shot glass.
It’s really messy, so when pouring in and out of the jar, a towel underneath helps!
With cough syrup no longer recommended for children under 6, and not at all for children under 2, this is definitely something worth doing. Elderberry syrup has been studied by several universities and is deemed safe for children and infants, though if you’re using honey you want to heat it for children under 1.
Don’t worry if you go over the dosage. A little extra shouldn’t hurt anything, but this is all you need to help it last longer. You can go up to once every hour during the worst of an illness or drink extra before bed.
I just started using this and I’m already a total believer! Last night I had a itchy throat and I took 1 T before bed. I woke up in the middle of the night and my throat was definitely hurting, so I took another dose. This morning it still hurt so I took another dose. This afternoon my throat is back to the same feeling as last night. We’ll see what the next few days brings, but coughs for me often stick around for weeks. Now I just need to find something to take care of this headache…
So, how does it all work?
Elderberry: Dried elderberries have many benefits including being antioxidant, boosting the immune system, and helping treat colds, cough, flu, viral infections and tonsillitis. They contain large amounts of vitamin C, but can be diuretic, which is why less is more! Be sure to use berries from a trusted source or if using fresh that they are ripe, because parts of the plant and immature berries contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside (your metabolism converts it to cyanide), and ingesting large amounts of the plant and young berries can cause a toxic build-up. Ripe berries are proven safe to eat.
Honey: The best honey to use is either raw honey, or minimally processed local honey. Honey purchased from the grocery store is pasteurized which removes most of the beneficial qualities and is then just basically a sweetener. I’ve heard recently that you can’t even guarantee what you buy in the store is even real honey. Not only does the honey soothe the throat, but the pollen in the honey (especially if local) can help with allergies. Honey combined with ginger can also help with nausea. It also helps sweeten this syrup, always a plus!
Ginger: Ginger acts as a food preservative and helps lessen nausea. It is also an anti-inflammatory and has long been used as a cold and flu preventative.
Why make it yourself?
The costs I’ve seen vary from $10-$25 depending on the size of the bottle (4-8oz). Not only are you paying for possible preservatives and additives, but you’ll go through it very quickly if you use it for the whole family or as a preventative during cold and flu season. I ordered 2 pounds of dried elderberries on amazon for around $12 a pound, got the honey locally for $14.50 for a quart, and a large ginger root at the grocery store for $2. That’s enough ingredients to make 4 quarts for $41. It already paid for itself in the first quart. The ginger can be wrapped well and frozen for lots of uses, or you can buy a small amount and just refrigerate it.