old-fashioned spiced elderberry syrup

No elderberry syrup in your house? The best day to make it is yesterday: you want it on hand for sniffles, sneezes, and the almost inevitable immune fatigue that comes in colder weather.

This little kitchen witch loves elder for its many offerings (wood, flowers, berries) and myriad uses in herbal and magical concoctions. Of the many herbal remedies to be made from elder, perhaps none is more palatable to everyone (or easy to make) than elderberry syrup.

Elderberries are antiviral, rich in antioxidants, and immunomodulating. 

Steeped and combined with raw honey and spices, elderberries yield a syrup that is at once sweet, sour, and spicy; it coats and soothes the throat beautifully. With the added spices, it also happens to be MUCH more delicious than over-the-counter cough and cold syrups!

Spiced Elderberry Syrup

for cough, colds & flu – immune support – winter wellness


  • 1/2 cup dried elderberries (or 2 cups fresh/frozen elderberries)
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • raw organic honey
  • 5 whole cardamom seed pods (optional)
  • 2-3 whole cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • 10-15 whole cloves (optional)
  • 5 slices of fresh, peeled ginger, about 1/4 inch thick each (optional)

Makes approximately 8 ounces of finished syrup.


  • a heavy-bottom sauce pan
  • a whisk or spoon for stirring
  • a large measuring cup
  • cheesecloth and/or sieve for straining
  • funnel for bottling
  • bottle(s) for storage
  • stickers/labels for bottle(s)

Place berries, 1 cup water, and spices in sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring and checking often. Add more water if necessary; dried berries tend to soak up quite a bit and its important the syrup does not burn!

When the mixture has reduced, thickened, and simmered down, after about 20 minutes, remove the pan from the heat.

Pour the mixture through cheesecloth and/or a sieve into your measuring cup; squeeze the cloth or press into sieve with a spoon to extract as much as possible from the berries. Discard the berries and whole spices.

The amount of elderberry juice yielded is the volume of honey you will want to add to make your syrup. So, to 2/3 cup of strained elderberry juice you would add 2/3 cup raw, organic honey. To 1/2 cup strained juice, add 1/2 cup honey–to 1 cup juice, add 1 cup honey, and so on….

Stir the honey into the warm juice to mix completely. Cool before pouring through a funnel into clean bottle(s).

Label with description, ingredients, and date created. Store in the refrigerator.

Adults can take up to 2 tablespoons per day (children age 4+, up to 2 teaspoons per day) as a preventative and immune system support during winter months; it can be taken more liberally for a day or two at earliest onset of a cold or flu to encourage faster recovery.

Not for use with infants/toddlers due to its honey content.

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