Elderberry Syrup Recipe – Natural Cold and Flu Remedy

Making your own elderberry syrup at home is surprisingly easy and much cheaper than buying it in stores! Here's how I make it to help keep my family healthy during cold and flu season.

Elderberry Syrup Recipe to help in cold and flu season

When September hits, I start upping my game on preventative healthcare for my family! Making sure to give them daily probiotics, vitamins, NingXia Red, and now elderberry syrup! So what's special about elderberries?

Why Elderberries?

Elderberries come from the Elder tree that grows naturally in Europe, and they have long been known for their immune-boosting properties. According to WebMD, when taken by mouth within 48 hours of contracting the flu, elderberry syrup can reduce the severity and duration of the flu. I know I found that to be true for me when I got the flu last week! I was feeling much better within a few days.

They are high in vitamin C and antioxidants.

Scientific Studies on Elderberries

There have been quite a few studies done on elderberries. One study of 60 people with influenza found that those who took 15 ml of elderberry syrup four times per day showed symptom improvement in two to four days, while the control group took seven to eight days to improve (source).

Another study of 64 people found that taking 175 mg elderberry extract lozenges for two days resulted in significant improvement in flu symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches, and nasal congestion, after just 24 hours (source).

Yet another study of 312 air travelers taking capsules containing 300 mg of elderberry extract three times per day found that those who got sick experienced a shorter duration of illness and less severe symptoms (source).

It has also been shown to reduce and ease the symptoms of the common cold. 

Essential Oils

If you've been following me for a while, you know how much I love using essential oils in my homemade beauty, hair, and health products! They are my number one most helpful tool as a mom to keep my family healthy. 

But not all essential oils are created equal, so the brand I trust is Young Living Essential Oils. In this recipe I use their vitality essential oils, which are essential oils that are safe to ingest – Thieves Vitality, Lemon Vitality, and Cinnamon Vitality.

To learn more about Young Living, visit this page!


Elderberry Syrup Recipe – Natural Cold and Flu Remedy

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Making your own elderberry syrup at home is surprisingly easy and it'll save you a LOT of money.

  • Author: Sara McFall
  • Prep Time: 2
  • Cook Time: 9
  • Total Time: 18
  • Yield: 24 oz. 1x




Instant Pot Directions

Place the water, elderberries, ginger, and spices (but not oils) in the Instant Pot. Set on High Pressure for 9 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to build up pressure and then take 9 minutes to cook. Once it's finished, release the pressure. Then strain out the elderberries with a fine mesh strainer.

Add in the honey and essential oils and bottle it up! Store in the fridge. The essential oils will help to preserve it so it can last for one month or more. To save on the trouble, you could make several batches at once and freeze the extra.

Stovetop Directions

  • Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add the honey and essential oils once it has cooled to lukewarm temperature.
  • Bottle it up and store in the fridge for 1-2 months (2 months if you've used essential oils).


Standard dose is ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

Here are most of the ingredients you'll need for your syrup (minus the grated ginger and other spices). I cooked mine in an Instant Pot which made it SO SO easy!
Once you've cooked the elderberries, either in an Instant Pot or on the stove, strain the berries from the solution with a fine mesh strainer. 
Once the liquid has cooled to lukewarm, add the cup of honey and the essential oils. Adding either of these ingredients when the liquid is hot will kill the therapeutic properties in both of them, so it is important to wait until it has mostly cooled!
Bottle it up and store in the fridge for one to months. Save yourself some trouble and make 2-3 batches at once and store the extra in the freezer so you'll have enough made for the whole season!
To get the pretty labels shown in the picture, visit my Etsy shop here!

Elderberry Syrup Make and Take Kit

I also have a complete printable Elderberry Syrup Make and Take class kit on Etsy. Get your friends together and have fun making it! It includes a class script, complete shopping list, labels, and more! Click on the picture to see the kit.
Elderberry Syrup Make and Take Class
Elderberry Syrup - Recipe for Natural Cold and Flu Relief

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