Elderberry tincture and syrup are so easy to make! I wouldn’t be without them!
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is one of the best and easiest “medicine chest” plants.
Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health, and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. These, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries.
Elderberries were listed in Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever.
In Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel, their Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body’s immune system, and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. Elderberry could have an immunoprotective or immunostimulatory effect when administered to cancer or AIDS patients, in conjunction with chemotherapeutic or other treatments. (source)
See many additional PubMed studies here in this post: No Flu Shots 4 Us: We Use Elderberry Syrup (99% effective for H5N1)
Elderberry is so powerful when used against viral colds and a broad range of flu strains, I am sharing both the elderberry syrup and tincture recipes here.
Making Elderberry Cold & Flu SYRUP:
There are several commercial brands of elderberry syrup available, but it is much more cost effective to make it yourself, and you can control all the ingredients it contains. It can be used preventatively or for acute symptoms, and children should love the taste.
- 3 – 3 1/2 cup fresh or 1.5 – 2 cup dried organic elderberries
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup raw local honey ( I use 3/4 cup)
- 1-4 organic cinnamon sticks, 3 -5 organic whole cloves, and a 1-2″ knob of fresh organic ginger (optional)
Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, and simmer on low for 30 minutes or until a syrupy thickness. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow liquid to cool. Stir in raw honey only after it has really cooled to preserve the enzymes and good living food in the honey. This will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.
Note: Do not use for children under the age of one due to the honey and a risk of botulism. Instead, bottle a portion before the honey is added. Mark that bottle well. Consider adding to applesauce, etc. at first sign of illness or when exposed.
Dosages For All Ages found here.
Making Elderberry Cold & Flu TINCTURE:
The most common uses for elderberry tincture include treatment for:
- Common cold
- Influenza (flu)
- Sinus infections
In last year’s post is a tutorial so you will see exactly how to make a simple elderberry tincture.
All you need are these three things:
- fresh, dried, or frozen elderberries. You can grow your own for next year, find them in the wild, or purchase them. Amazon is a reliable source for organic dried elderberries.
- a quart jar with a tight fitting lid.
- 80 proof or higher vodka.
There are Three Main Reasons to use alcohol when making tinctures. Alcohol:
A. Dissolves (and extracts) most, if not all, of the Constituents in most herbs.
B. Makes the mucous membranes in the mouth more permeable, so that the herbal constituents can pass into the bloodstream bypassing your digestive system!
C. Increases the Shelf Life of the Herbal Constituents up to 50 years or more!
If you’re concerned about the alcohol, you can place the tincture in a cup, pour boiling water into the cup, and the alcohol will evaporate within seconds. OR, you can add your dose (20-30 drops) to a cup and let it dry up. When you add water to swallow it, there will be less alcohol left than in a ripe banana.
4.) Go to this tutorial post for clear instructions on all steps 1-7.
4.) For easy removal of the berries from the stems, don’t waste your time picking them off ~ just pop them into a freezer bag and freeze them. Once they are frozen for a day or two, they will become brittle and fall off with minimal help.
Plant Elderberry In Fall For Your Own Stash
Elderberry’s powerful capability to handle flu has been rediscovered! Many have been unable to get elderberries at a reasonable price due to the limited supply and huge demand, so people are growing their own.
To give you an idea of how much room you will need if you ever plant elderberry (you need two different varieties for fertility), here on the right is a picture of the largest one, ‘Johns’. They are both taller than I am when the fruit is hanging, but I prune them to eye level in the spring. Our other variety (because you need 2 for fertility) is ‘York’ on the left. They are very easy to prune because the stems are soft. They can get 6-7′ around easily.
As a society we have gone outside the home for most of what we need and want in our lives. To mix homemade and homegrown into as much of our lives as possible – even in the littlest things – can change so much.
Edible Landscape with Aronia Berries, Elderberry, and Raspberries
I encourage you to consider planting edible landscape such as currants, aronia berries, elderberries, and red raspberries. You can have your own ‘medicine chest’ right in your own backyard. Yes, you can, with a little planning, research, and some hard work.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and do not share this as medical advice. It is something that has been practiced for hundreds of years. Both Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates mentioned and recommended elderberry as a medicinal herb in their writings. Consult your doctor.
Long used throughout Europe and North America, elderberry has a long and respected history as an herbal remedy.
“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” ~Genesis 1 :29