Elderberry Extract (Syrup): Homemade in Your Kitchen

Not only has the summer cold invaded our home this week, I’ve been summoned to share my elderberry syrup and gummy recipes so others can benefit from them as well. Now for the gummies, I add tart cherry juice concentrate as a natural sleep remedy, but you may omit it and just use extra elderberry juice in its place. We take one dose of Elderberry a day, whether in syrup or gummy form. When the colds or flu hit, then we take the regular dosage every 2-3 hours as needed. There are several different recipes on the Internet, this is my own spin on one of many out there!

Elderberry is a term that refers to many different varieties of the Sambucus tree. Elderberry extract itself is made directly from boiling down the berries of the elderberry plant. These berries cannot be eaten in raw form, nor their seeds or stems as they are actually considered poisonous.

There are several benefits that may derive from elderberry extract including mitigating flu symptoms, support cardiovascular and heart health, provide numerous anti-inflammatory and immune support properties. Naturally high in antioxidants, it has Vitamin C which is what will work on your immune system. They also contain flavonoids and phenolic acids, which are more powerful antioxidants.

Why are antioxidants important? All the environmental and food toxins we are exposed to can create free radicals (oxidative stress) within our body during a process called oxidation.

  1. Antioxidants work against this free radicals, reducing their prevalence and therefore, possibly reducing risk of developing other illness or diseases.

  2. Elderberries not only may prevent chronic disease or illness, but may improve blood sugar levels and reduce uric acid blood levels, both of great benefit for those who suffer from Diabetes or Gout respectively.

It’s of great importance to make sure you boil down the elderberries thoroughly before mashing and creating your extract. The seeds, when raw, contain lectins and when eaten in high doses, can create havoc on your gastrointestinal system resulting in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is important to make your elderberry extract from the European (black elder) or American elderberry plants (Sambucus Nigra).

Not only do we use these as daily prevention, and during colds to help reduce severity and length of symptoms, I use the elderberry syrup in gummies for the kids. They can take the gummies or the syrup! Great options for kids who like either or. See here for the Gummy recipe.


Elderberry Extract (Syrup) Recipe

*Contains honey, not indicated for those under the age of 1 year


  • 2/3 -3/4 cup dried elderberries — Find Here

  • 3 1/2 cups of water

  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger root or 1/2 tsp organic ginger powder — Find Here

  • 1 1/2 tsp organic cinnamon powder -Find Here

  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves or clove powder — Find Here. If using whole, use a coffee grinder to grind into a fine powder

  • 1 - 1 1/2 cup raw honey (to taste/consistency- can use filtered, but unfiltered does provide more medicinal qualities) — Find Here.


  • Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey in this step, boiling honey will rid of its natural antibacterial and medicinal qualities).

  • Bring to a boil and then place a cover over that allows steam to escape so mixture can reduce properly. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for about 45-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by almost half. This provides a thicker consistency. If you want yours to resemble more juice-like, stop boiling when it’s thinner consistency.

  • Drain the mixture through a fine mesh colander into a clean bowl.

  • Place Elderberries back into the fine mesh colander or in cheesecloth, and mash/squeeze juice out of elderberries and into the bowl mixture to obtain all the juice and antioxidant properties. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.

  • When the mixture is no longer hot, add the honey stir until well mixed. YOu may even use a whisk to accomplish this step.

  • Pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar —Find Here

  • Store your homemade Elderberry Syrup in the fridge, it will last about 2 months. If poured into ice cube trays and stored in freezer, will last up to 6 months. If you’re privy to canning, you can can it and keep it stored in the fridge for up to 6 months.

How to use:  

  • Standard dose is 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp for kids up to age 12, and 1/2 Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults.

  • If a cold or the flu does hit, take the normal dose every 2 hours until symptoms are resolved, then resume maintenance dose.

Kristin KraemerComment