This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

We are in the thick of cold and flu season and knowing how to make elderberry syrup is a trick we’re happy to have in our back pocket! Elderberry Syrup is a natural anti-viral and remedy to the common cold and flu and is a cinch to make at home using only a handful of ingredients and saves you a lot of money!

Elderberry Syrup for ColdsHow to Make Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is very popular these days and can be purchased just about anywhere! You can purchase it in the syrup form that you take by the spoonful, or also as gummies–but did you know it’s so cost effective and simple to make at home?

All you need are the dried elderberries (which can be purchased online and brought right to your door), raw honey and a handful of optional ingredients like fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods. Boil it, strain it, store it and take daily or at the first signs of illness to shorten recovery time!

Does Elderberry Syrup Really Work?

This natural remedy for the common cold and flu has gained traction over the years and as stated above is a commonly found product in the drugstore. The dark purple berry is said to have powerful natural antiviral effects that can help prevent or lessen the symptoms of the flu and common cold. In addition there are other possible benefits to Elderberry Syrup include managing diabetes, reducing inflammation and acting as a natural diuretic. In addition to the potent elderberry, this recipe also contains raw honey which also has natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. When paired together, elderberry and raw honey is said to be a great way to naturally fight the common cold and flu.

How long is elderberry syrup good for

Is Elderberry Syrup Safe?

Yes, if prepared properly! There is a toxin in the dried berries that is deactivated by proper cooking. Pick though the dried berries to remove any sticks or unripe berries before you cook them. Then follow the recipe instructions. The berries have to be cooked for at least 45 minutes (without a cover) to ensure the deactivation of the toxin that can result in adverse gastrointestinal symptoms.

Also if you have any concerns about taking this natural culinary remedy speak to your doctor. This is especially true if you have an autoimmune disorder, so consult your doctor before taking it if you have any questions whether this is right for you.

This recipe contains raw honey so this is not safe for children under 1 years of age to consume.

What is Raw Honey Good For

The phytonutrients in honey are responsible for its antioxidant properties, as well as its antibacterial and antifungal power. Raw honey has shown immune-boosting and anticancer benefits, but heavy processing destroys these valuable nutrients, so we like to buy the best quality we can find! We also don’t call for cooking the raw honey in this recipe as cooking it decreases / eliminates the benefits that raw honey offers.

How do I Take Elderberry Syrup when Sick

Some people take 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of Elderberry Syrup during the cold and flu season daily, and then increase this dosage to once every 2-3 waking hours at the very first sign of illness or known exposure to the cold or flu, for 2-4 days. Kids need a smaller amount of 1 teaspoon a day during cold and flu season that can then be increased to 1 teaspoon every 3 hours during an illness! It is stored in the refrigerator so you can just pour it in a spoon and take by mouth as desired.

Why is elderberry syrup good for you

How Long is Elderberry Syrup Good for in the Refrigerator

Properly cooked elderberry syrup can be stored in a container with a tight fitting lid for up to 6 months.

If you like this how to, check out these others:

Watch the video:

Pin this recipe to save it for later!

Pin it!

How to Make Elderberry Syrup (Natural Cold and Flu Remedy)

4.67 from 6 votes
We're in the thick of cold and flu season and knowing How to Make Elderberry Syrup is a trick we're happy to have in our back pocket! Elderberry Syrup is a natural anti-viral and remedy to the common cold and flu and is a cinch to make at home using only a handful of ingredients and can save you a lot of money.
Servings 3 cups
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 4-6 cups cold filtered water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 inch piece of ginger peeled
  • Few pieces of cardamom
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cup raw honey see note


  • Pick through the dried elderberries and remove any twigs or unripe berries.
  • Add elderberries, 4 cups water, cinnamon sticks, ginger and cardamom to a large pot and heat over medium heat.
  • Once it has reached a boil continue to cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Occasionally check to make sure the water has not reduced past the point of the berries. If this happens add a cup of water at a time until the entire cooking time has finished.
  • Strain the elderberries and then measure the remaining liquid. You should have about 2 cups. If you have less than two cups add some more cold filtered water until it is 2 cups. If you have more than two cups continue to boil until it has reduced to 2 cups.
  • While hot add the honey and whisk to combine. We used 1 cup of honey, but if you tend to like things more sweet use the full 1-1/2 cup amount.
  • Store in a jar in the refrigerator.


It's important to follow the instructions in regards to how high to heat the stove and how long this syrup cooks for to ensure the natural toxin found in elderberries is deactivated.
Do not cover the pot while cooking.
There is no standard medical dosing for this syrup, but it's generally considered safe for adults to take 1 tablespoon by mouth daily for prevention, and 1 tablespoon every 2-3 hours when fighting the cold or the flu. For children it is 1 teaspoon by mouth daily for prevention, or 1 teaspoon every 3 hours when fighting a cold or flu.
Because there is raw honey in this, this is not safe to give to babies under 1 year of age.
For any other concerns about whether or not this culinary herb is safe for you, check with your doctor.
Author: Lexi

Other natural cold remedies

  • Classic Chicken Soup
  • Kick That Cold Juice
  • Vitamin C
  • Bone Broth
  • Herbal Tea with Manuka Honey and Lemon
  • Get Some NEEDED Sleep
  • Vitamin D
  • Lots and lots of Water
  • Oregano Oil
  • Fresh Ginger and Raw Garlic
  • Echinacea Capsules
  • Lemon Ginger Tea
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Zinc
  • Hot Steamy Shower or Bath (Add Epsom Salts/Essential Oils to Your Bath)
  • Hot water with Lemon, Raw Honey, Turmeric, Apple Cider Vinegar and a Dash of Cayenne

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or health conditions. Always consult a doctor or authorized medical professional before making any changes.

You May Also Like

Secrets to Quick Dinners
Get my practical tips & advice for a healthier life dropped right into your inbox!
newsletter collage

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. My syrup milder in the bottle after only a month. All around the mouth of the bottle. Why might this have happened and how can I prevent it in the future?

  2. Hi, I realized I didn’t let the liquid reduce by half even though it cooked 45 minutes and I had already added the raw honey and apple cider vinegar. Is there anything I can do to salvage it? Or is it wasted? I had increase everything by 4 because I was giving away. Please help? Thanks

    1. No, unfortunately, we don’t suggest cooking this in this instant pot. Definitely take a read through the post and you’ll see you need to cook it on the stove and for that length of time.

      1. I cook it in raw apple cider instead of water. Note that’s cider, NOT apple cider vinegar. This is how my friend’s 100% Native grandma made it with fresh elderberries. My grandparents lived on the reservation by his grandma. She never added the spices either, but I’m going to try adding the ginger like you recommend. That sounds good.

  3. I wanted to know if it is safe to use the elderberry during this virus situation? My husband has been using it for awhile but stop when they said it can make it kore difficult to treat if the person got sick?

      1. We haven’t made from fresh, so for the recipe to work perfectly we’d recommend drying first!

      1. 5 stars
        Can I use fresh elderberries. I just made jam and saved some for immune health? Thank you

  4. Row honey loses its medicinal properties if added to a hot liquid. I suggest letting it cool to room temp before adding the raw honey,

  5. I tried boiling for 45 minutes, all the water was gone ?‍♀️had to start over. Now I feel like all the nutrients were burned out on the first try. Will try again and monitor is more closely. Seems the water evaporates very quickly.

    1. Hi Jazaelle–for sure different cook tops cook at different rates, it’s just the name of the game! As the post states, you want watch the elderberries to make sure they don’t go dry. Did the mixture burn or just boil down to expose the elderberries? If the elderberries still had some liquid left–you just made it super concentrated, and I would add more filtered water to it. -Kelli

  6. Great recipe! If you want the medicinal properties of the raw honey, it’s very important to cool the syrup before adding. Mixing it in to hot liquid will kill all those wonderful little healing critters 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. I just bought 2 cups of fresh elderberries from my local Farmer’s Market. How would you alter this recipe to use them?

  8. 5 stars
    I think I’ve on;y had elderberry syrup as part of a cocktail ingredient, not having considered any potential health benefits, so thank you for the deep dive on elderberries and the proper and necessary prep for syrup