Elderberry Syrup

The elderberry is an amazing fruit.  Possibly anti-viral, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory...the mighty elderberry tastes terrible by itself but is worth injesting during cold, flu, and allergy season as both a preventative and curative tonic.  There are some excellent products in the marketplace, but they are a bit pricey--especially when considering that you need to consume 2-4 teaspoons per day in order for this remedy to be effective (multiple small doses is the norm with any natural remedy).

With all this in mind, I set out to create a recipe for elderberry syrup with the best quality ingredients that tastes great, has a decent (refrigerated) shelf life, and incorporates other ingredients that add to the health and wellness properties.  Want my recipe?  Thought you might!  Bear with me, as I discuss ingredients.  Please note that I qualify ALL health claims with "thought to be..." "may help with..." etc. The reason for this is that often there have not been any peer-reviewed, scientific studies proving the efficacy of these claims, but there is a substantive body of folk medicine, natural medicine, and anecdotal information to back up these claims.  Natural medicine is not a substitute for modern medical care, but I have found it a great way to keep me healthy and REDUCE my need for modern medicine!  


All ingredients should be ORGANIC, in order to reduce environmental contaminants and pesticides
 which can contribute to inflammation and illness.

1 lb. Elderberries (of course)--thought to be anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant (which is great for helping prevent cancer) Can be purchased here.

1 lb. Fresh Ginger root, sliced thin--may help with nausea, gas, and other stomach upset, upper respiratory infections, arthritis pain and other pain from inflammation.  

1 c. Echinacea--May help prevent colds, boost immune system.  DO NOT ADD if you have a severe allergy to ragweed, marigolds, or chrysanthemums. Can be purchased here.

1/2 c Cinnamon sticks, broken in pieces--Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, may reduce "bad" cholesterol and normalize blood sugar, may be antibacterial and anti-fungal.  Can be purchased here.

1/4 c whole Cloves--May have anesthetic and antiseptic properties.  Can be purchased here.

2 T Chinese Star Anise--May be anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory.  Can be purchased here.

The following ingredients will be added LATER in the process, and must NEVER BE BOILED: 

1 quart Bragg's (raw, unfiltered) Apple Cider Vinegar--the benefits are too numerous to mention, but include reduction of blood sugar in diabetics, sinus congestion, sore throat, and energy boost.

1 quart LOCAL honey (raw, unfiltered)--May assist with allergy protection, Vitamins B, C, and minerals, cough suppressant


Add the elderberries, sliced ginger root, echinacea, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise to a large pot.  Doesn't it look pretty?

Pour 16 cups of water on top of the ingredients.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.
Add water if needed, to keep the level to 3/4 of the original water level.

Shut off the burner, and allow to cool until the temperature reaches 110 degrees or you can touch the pan on the outside below the level of the liquid without getting burned.  (Be careful testing the temperature with your hand, of course!  Try it with a cloth first, cautiously!)
Remove the large pieces ginger and cinnamon from the liquid and discard.
(I compost them or feed them to my chickens!)

Next, strain the elderberries out of the liquid.  You can either press additional liquid from the elderberries...

 Or you can add the strained elderberries to a muslin bag or cheesecloth...

...and squeeze out the additional liquid.
Next, stir in the honey. 
And add the vinegar.

Set aside the completed mixture.
Place all of your containers in a large pan, and boil for 20 minutes.
This will prevent contaminants (yes, I am a germophobe, but that is ok!).  

Fill each of your containers, leaving a small amount of space at the top.
Feel free to make cute labels!

A normal dosage is 1 teaspoon twice per day.
During flu season or at the first sign of illness, take 1 teaspoon four times per day.
Do not give this to children under the age of 2, due to the presence of raw honey.