Elderberry Syrup to Prevent the Flu

English: Elderberries Ripe elderberries growin...
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Elderberries have been used for centuries to boost immunity because of their terrific antioxidant properties. Bioflavinoids in the berry actually destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Elderberries are also antibacterial and antifungal.

Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. Flavonoids from Sambucus nigra seem to inhibit the infectiousness of H1N1 flu virions in vitro. A 1995 study found: “A complete cure was achieved within 2 to 3 days in nearly 90% of the SAM-treated group.

In addition to its antiviral properties elderberries activate the immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production, therefore being beneficial for various diseases.

Elderberry Syrup

1/4 cup dried elderberries (Sambucus Nigra)

5 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

2 cups purified water

1/4 cup raw honey-add after cooled

Combine all ingredients except honey. Bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes until reduced. Allow to cool Strain out the liquid, using the back of a spoon to crush the berries against the colander to release as much juice as possible. Add honey and stir. refrigerate.

Take 1 Tbsp per hour during illness

Take 3 Tbsp per day to prevent illness

You can add any number of herbs to this syrup. I like to open an echinacea tea bag and throw that in once in a while. Also if you have access to fresh elderberries you would use 1 cup of fresh berries in this recipe.

I have purchased very good quality elderberries from Whole Foods Market and online from Wilderness Family Naturals. They are not expensive, and the benefits will far out weigh the cost. I haven’t had a cold, flu or infection of any sort for at least 4 years and to me that is priceless! I make a quart of this at a time and fill up an old wine bottle. I keep this bottle in the door of the fridge and take a swig right out of the bottle every morning before work. It’s great for washing down your cod liver oil!

I would love to grow elderberry bushes some day. Has anyone tried this? I will have to research their growing requirement to see if they will enjoy a Michigan winter!


  1. Foodie said,

    February 17, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Good luck!

  2. Shelley said,

    February 17, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    I had the beginnings of a cold coming on and made a batch of the tea and of course it was sweet and warm going down so I felt better immediately but the next day. No cold. Probably smarter to take a teaspoon every day and just prevent it though.

  3. February 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    […] Elderberry Syrup to Prevent the Flu (arealfoodlover.wordpress.com) […]

  4. MaryK said,

    August 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    I planted an elderberry tree and decided to make my own syrup, etc. I just decided that It takes too much time and trouble for me to make it, so I opted to buy the organic syrup from the health-vitamin food store, even though I know it is more expensive. The reason for replying though, is that I don’t have a real large yard and after sometime, I noticed that little shoots kept coming up around the original tree. I decided to cut down the tree and now they just keep coming back. So, be forwarned it is very invasive and hard to get rid of once you have planted it.

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