A spoonful of Homemade Elderberry Syrup every day will help boost your immune system, preventing and treating flu and colds. Make it in your Instant Pot or on your Stove Top using a few, simple and healthy ingredients. Why not DIY your own?
Each year the cold and flu season sneaks up on us; as soon as the kids go back to school it seems, so I get out my supplies to make Elderberry Syrup. Our family has used Elderberry Syrup for years to prevent and shorten the duration of colds (only one instance of flu in 18 years!); I used to purchase the syrup, but it’s expensive and I discovered that it’s so easy to make. It’s cheaper than getting a flu shot and honestly probably a bit more effective at times, plus it tastes good.
Cold and Flu Fighter!? Yes, please! Immune Booster!? You BET!
How Does Elderberry Syrup Prevent Colds & Flu?
Simply, it prevents an enzyme used by the virus to spread infection from attaching to cells in our body. If the virus can’t travel through your cells, then it’s toast. (There’s a bit more science behind it than my explanation, but these berries really are a natural way to stay healthy.)
Why is Elderberry Syrup so effective? Elderberries can reduce inflammation and give a boost to the immune system, it has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties and is high in antioxidants! It can soothe a sore throat, help digestive issues and is filled with phytonutrients. Because it’s all-natural, Elderberry Syrup does not have any side effects ~ unlike Tamiflu which can have severe side effects.
“Elderberries (Sambucus) have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. 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. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.“
How to Make Elderberry Syrup in your Instant Pot or Stovetop
Start by purchasing quality ingredients. I order my elderberries from Amazon as they are a bit cheaper, but you can purchase from your local health food store as well. For taste and additional immune boosting and flu and cold fighting I added some dried Hibiscus flowers as well, optional, but adds a sweet flavor. Check out my recipe for Hibiscus Syrup.
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Whole Cloves
- Fresh Ginger
- Whole Lemon
- Whole Orange (optional)
- Hibiscus Flowers (optional)
- Add a sliced apple
Using your stovetop or Instant Pot pour in your filtered water and all of your ingredients. For the lemon, I wash, cut in half, squeeze (using my hand) and drop in the pot. See recipes (below) for detailed instructions on each method.
Once you have boiled down your elderberry syrup, cool to 115° before adding your honey.
My husband, who grew up in New England laughs when I make this syrup, he says, “No wonder we were never sick growing up, every summer my mom had us pick all of the wild elderberries around us and would make elderberry jam that we would eat all winter long!” And yes, starting about September, I make my family take a tablespoon every morning.
Stir in your honey ~ spray or swirl your measuring cup with a little oil and your honey will slip right out.
Can I Make a Double Batch?
You bet, in fact I do everytime I make it. If you do, you can reduce the amount of elderberries, but about half per recipe (double batch, use 1 cup elderberries)
Dosing Suggestions and Storage for Elderberry Syrup
Store in the fridge and take daily! Standard dosing is ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids (1-12 yr) and ½ – 1 TBL for adults. If the flu or a cold does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms lessen. *If giving to babies under one year, do NOT put honey in it, use another sweetener such as coconut sugar or no sweetener at all.
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Use as you would any syrup; pour in smoothies, top pancakes, stir into yogurt; you don’t have to take it straight.
So fun to package these up to give to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, I love these 5 oz bottles with shrink wrap covers. Simply tie on a cute tag with instructions to refrigerate and shake well before use along with usage info.
May your family stay healthy and whole this season!
*This post was updated to include Instant Pot instructions 9/15/18
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- 1 cup dried organic elderberries
- 1/2 cup hibiscus flowers, dried (optional)
- 4-6 cups filtered water (see notes)
- 1 lemon, hand-squeezed, halved and tossed in
- 1 orange, hand-squeezed, halved and tossed in (optional)
- 4 slices fresh ginger (1/4 inch thick)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder (optional)
- 3-4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon cloves, whole (powdered may be substituted)
- ½ - 1* cup raw & unfiltered honey (local preferably)
INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS
- Pour the water into your IP, add elderberries, hibiscus (optional), ginger, cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, lemon, orange (optional) and cloves. DO NOT ADD HONEY, yet!
- Secure IP lid and ensure pressure release valve is closed. Set timer for 10 minutes Manual mode or Normal (if doubling increase time to 15-20 minutes).
- Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release steam valve (carefully). Open lid and press Boil or Saute for 10-15 minutes until reduced.
- Strain elderberry juice through fine mesh strainer over a glass container. Using the back of a wooden spoon press berries, squeezing out as much of the liquid as possible.Discard spent elderberries (or compost them).
- Allow to sit until lukewarm, stir in honey, if you stir it in while it's too hot, it will kill beneficial enzymes in honey. Pour syrup into a quart sized jar or preferably a 16 oz pourable, sealing jar. Store in refrigerator and take daily for best immune boosting results.
- Standard does is ½ - 1 teaspoon for kids (1-12 years) and ½ - 1 TBL for adults daily.
- If the flu or a cold does strike, take the normal does, about every 2-3 hours until you start feeling better.
- Pour the water into a medium saucepan, add elderberries, hibiscus (optional), ginger, cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, lemon, orange (optional) and cloves.
- DO NOT ADD HONEY yet! Bring to boil, stir and reduce to simmer. Simmer with lid on for 30-45 minutes, until liquid is reduced by about half.
- Follow steps 4-7 above, enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 96 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 14 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 3mg Carbohydrates: 4g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 0g