DIY Elderberry Syrup recipe for illness prevention. Tasty and easy to make stovetop or in your pressure cooker!

As some of you might have guessed, my wife is the hippy dippy one of the bunch in this family. Sometimes I play along, sometimes I don’t. We play together when it comes to elderberry syrup. But it wasn’t always that way. Let me tell you a story…

My city has a drive by flu clinic in addition to the regular Health Department situation. You sit in your car, pull up to the nurse, and boom, she sticks ya! Does that sound weird at all? Because it still sounds weird to me. Anyway, this particular year, it must have been about eight years ago now, we go to the drive up nurse. She hits me and the wife up and of course, my wife makes a big stink about it. The nurse was too rough, too hard, she really hates me, the needle hit my bone and broke upon impact kind of thing. The SAME thing she says every year.

But this year was actually different. I came out unscathed, but for whatever reason, her arm hurt. For a long time. Almost six months. She couldn’t lift a pillow with that arm without having to use both arms. It did go away, she reported it to the CDC or whoever keeps track of that kind of thing, but she never got the flu shot again.

She cracked open her trusty herbal, natural book things and did some research and came upon elderberries. Maybe she did some strange dance in the moonlight, I’m not sure, I didn’t ask too much about it. She found some research about edlerberry’s ability to prevent and treat the flu, cutting the duration down.

So, she found some organic dried elderberries on Amazon and she made this delicious syrup. Once October came, she took it once a day. Never got sick, not even a cough, which she’s prone to. Next year came, she did the same thing. Never got sick. Not even a cold dudes. All this time I still go get the flu shot. I’m not trying to ask for trouble, you know?

The NEXT year, I didn’t get the flu shot and I’m not sure why. Probably procrastination or forgetfulness, but she gave me the syrup too. I didn’t get sick with anything. I haven’t gotten the flu shot since.

And, as an added bonus, after doing some research on the plants themselves, I realized they are everywhere. I even had one growing in my backyard for years and never knew it. They are all over my town and most states in the south that I’ve been through.  This is what they look like from a great channel, Eat the Weeds:

When you harvest, put them in a garbage bag and then freeze. When frozen, you just shake and they come off painlessly. Because truthfully, they’re a pain in the a#! otherwise, because they are small and plentiful. I harvested fresh only one time in these years and just stick with dried because you have to fight the birds. They love those things and will devour the berries before you can ever get to them. You got to be real lucky to get a hold of them before those suckers!

Information abounds on the internet and in books on the benefits of elderberries, but here’s a quick list:  Can possibly lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. According to WebMD, some of these are not fully proven, like the heart health.  But it is in fact shown to boost immunity and treat the flu, some say as well as prescription flu medications.  It was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

And…and…you can give it to both children and adults with no known side effect.  Yes!

You can buy elderberry medicine at the store, in a teeny tiny bottle between $10-$15 bucks. We buy this one pound bag of dried organic elderberries.  You can make a lot of syrup with this.

You can can it.  Can can it?  No, seriously, you may can it.  I’ll include instructions for that.  You can use your pressure cooker instead of the stovetop method too.  I’ll tell you how to do that as well.

Stay healthy my friends!



1 cup dried elderberries or fresh
6 cups water
3 sticks cinnamon
2 cloves
1 inch of ginger, or more if you like it, roughly chopped or sliced
1 cup raw honey
orange zest, optional


Combine elderberries and water in a saucepan and bring to 180 degrees. Do not let it boil. Simmer in this state for 30 minutes.
Turn burner to low and add cinnamon, clove, and ginger. Let sit on low for 1 hour.
Remove from heat, strain in nut bag or fine mesh colander. Let cool until to just warm, where the honey will still combine but not too hot. You don’t want to kill the goodies in the honey. Stir until honey is dissolved.
Taste, add more honey if needed.
Save the berries and do it all over again if you want to.
Store in an airtight jar for up to 1 month in the fridge.


Using the ingredients above, put it all in your pressure cooker except the honey. Pressure on high for 9 minutes, let the pressure come down naturally. Let it sit for about one hour. Remove the lid and, making sure the mixture is warm to the touch but not hot, stir in the honey. Strain and do it all over again with the strained mess if you want to. Or strain and store.


ADULTS: Take 1-2 tablespoons per day, or 3 per day if you feel you’re getting sick.
CHILDREN: Take 2 teaspoons per day, or 2 tablespoons if they feel they’re getting sick. Do not use on children under one years of age


The Canning Diva has really clear instructions on how to can your elderberry syrup.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I don’t actually can my elderberry syrup because I don’t make enough at one time to can it.  Like I said, I can’t get to the berries before the birds, so I just make enough to fill a few quart mason jars and use it up.

There are probably more factors playing a role in this no sickness situation than JUST the elderberry. Like, since no flu shots, we are crazy hand washers. Not with hanitizer (hand + sanitizer = hanitizer) but good old soap and water, no triclosan either. We clean door knobs daily when flu season hits. Remotes and light switches when a visitor has touched them, otherwise once a week.

56 thoughts on “Flu-Busting, Cold Preventing Elderberry Syrup”

  1. Afternoon! Could the left over elderberries be used in smoothies, in yogurt, oatmeal, etc instead of being processed again? I’ve made my syrup/ liquid (yum!) and now just wanna use these beauties if I can ~ know the dried are considered toxic… but not after processed… right?!?
    Thank you!

    1. I really don’t know. I don’t think it would be toxic but I’m not sure how good it would taste. I say if it tastes good, use it. Get the most out of those gems!

  2. Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #WWBlogHop this week. Visit me at on Tuesday evening and to see your feature and grab your badge! All hosts choose their own features from the comments left on their blog so be sure to return to my blog for your badge. I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please be sure to leave your link number or post title so we can be sure to visit!

  3. This sounds like a great help for flu season. The honey in it couldn’t hurt either. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home! I made a chocolate cheesecake in the pressure cooker for T’giving. It was amazing! Thanks for sharing that cooker.

  4. I am not sure if elderberries grow here. Washing hands regularly is important and I had no thought of disinfecting doorknobs. Its easy to add to the cleaning schedule so thank you for the suggestion.

    1. I used to have a business in my home, with customers coming in and out constantly. I once got chicken pox from a grimy kid, I remember her very well, even thought it was many years ago now. It was pure misery. That is how the daily doorknob cleaning schedule came to be.

      It may very well grow near you and you may have seen it a million times, but for the money, buying organic dried is way less hassle than harvesting.

  5. It’s great that you have found a natural remedy. There are so many cold bugs going round at the moment and I am trying not to catch one myself! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  6. Sounds like a great remedy! That is weird about the flu shot. I never feel a thing and have no side effects what so ever. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. I don’t either. None at all. I will admit, if the flu shot was 100% preventative, I would get it, no question. I don’t like to be sick.

  7. What a great syrup to have on hand with winter coming on. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday. Come to next weeks Thanksgiving party on Tuesday at 8:00 am, CST, see you then!
    Miz Helen

  8. This is at the top of my to do list now! It actually sounds like it tastes good and I might not get sick??? SOLD!!! Thanks for linking up on Friday Frenzy! Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck – Colleen

    1. Oh yeah, fingers crossed, but you gotta keep some around for this season. You never know. And you can’t take “too much”, which is a bonus.

  9. I needed this last week, because I was really down for a couple of days. Saving the recipe for future reference for sure. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

    1. Gotta have this on hand Teresa especially if you have kiddos. Those little people bring so many germs home from school!

  10. I have heard great things about elderberries, but haven’t tried making the syrup. It isn’t something that grows out here in the west (I don’t think). I will have to get some of those dried berries to make my own syrup.

  11. I actually read something about elderberries a few years back and tried a syrup recipe. I had a funny tummy the next day which may have been completely coincidental but it made me nervous. I had collected the berries myself that time. I would love to try this again with these dried berries, I feel sure it was some sort of user error last time! Pinning.

    1. Well, from what I know, and I have a link for a video from Eat the Weeds that has some info, but you cannot eat or drink the unripe berries. They have to be ripe. Also, there are some look-a-like plants, like water hemlock, that will certainly make you ill.

    2. Make sure they’re actually elderberry and not pokeweed. The berries look alike, but the branches and stems are different.

      1. For sure, always, when talking about nature, know your stuff before you start pulling random berries off trees.

  12. I got sick for 3 weeks last year during the holidays. This sounds like a must try! Thanks for the recipe. and yeah that drive through flu thing sounds pretty crazy. Pinned. Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Hope to see ya next week!

    1. You at least need to keep some dried berries on hand. There are studies verifying that elderberries work. Flu is the worst!!!

    1. I only do it two times in total. I haven’t tried any more that that and not for any particular reason. I just figured I’m only gonna get so much out of this stuff. When I use it again, I also use less water to make it a little more concentrated. Hope this helps and if you try it more than twice, please let me know how it turns out!

    1. I get mine on Amazon. Pretty cheap for organic berries actually. My local health food store only carries the premade stuff, not the berries.

    1. Done!

      So lucky to have some of these fresh…I’ve been wanting to make some jelly but I can’t seem to get to them before the birds!

  13. Great tips. Personally I’ve never been a fan of the flu shot….I’m not particularly prone to the flu and the few times I’ve gotten the shot are the only years I’ve gotten sick. i love seeing recipes and stories like this!

    1. While I’ve never had an issue with the flu shot, if I can get the same results and not have to get things injected in to me, it’s a win. Just common sense stuff really, clean hands, taking care of yourself – it goes a long way.

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