Skip to main content

Elderberry Syrup as a Remedy for Cold and Flu

(Originally published in the Backwoodsman, July/August 2018)

In the U.S., the flu season usually runs from October to May, normally peaking sometime in February. Outside of taking an annual flu shot and costly over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, most remedies for the symptoms are, at best, minimally effective.

There is a home remedy, however, proven to work time and time again.

Black elderberries (Sambucus nigra) have long been used in Europe and North America as a medicinal plant, useful for ailments ranging from a diuretic and laxative to a diaphoretic (promotes sweating). Elderberries contain antioxidants and flavonoids, as well as vitamin A, B, and C. The antiviral compounds in elderberries can be effective fighting not only the common cold, but both influenza A and B.

Flu treatment

Research has proven that the compounds found in the black elderberry can lessen the symptoms of the flu virus, and shorten the duration of the sickness. In a double- blind study, it was found that 93% of those taking an elderberry syrup were better in two to three days, compared to six days for those taking a placebo.

Active ingredients in elderberry syrup bind to the virus, preventing it from entering the cell membranes. The antivirin properties of elderberry syrup make taking it as a daily supplement a great preventative against cold viruses and flu. 

Boosts the immune system

The bioflavonoids in elderberry syrup fortify the immune system by increasing the antioxidant level in the cells, preventing viruses like those responsible for the flu and common cold. Elderberry syrup taken as a daily supplement boosts the immune system and can be beneficial to overall good health.

The syrup not only boosts immunity, but also fights off bacterial infections, and reduces duration of symptoms, and even clears sinus infections. Sufferers of seasonal allergies may also benefit from this home remedy, especially if the syrup is made with raw local honey.

Elderberry syrup can be expensive. I have found that in my area that a pint of elderberry syrup can run you $30, and I bought a quart that cost me $50. If you can find either fresh or dried elderberries in your area, it may be more cost effective to make your own, and keep some on hand during the flu season.

  Here is a recipe and instructions on how to make your own elderberry syrup. Also, there is a recommended dosage for both a supplemental use and for using it to alleviate symptoms of cold and flu.

(Disclaimer: This is a suggestion, and one should talk to their doctor if they have any medical problems or take any medication that may have a interaction with the mixture.)

Easy Elderberry Syrup

1 ½ cup of dried, or ⅔ cups of fresh elderberries.

3 cups of water

1 ½ cups of raw local honey (important)

Place dried or fresh elderberries into a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat and allow to simmer on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. The liquid should reduce by a third.

Use the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze all the juice from the berries possible. Strain through cheesecloth in another container for mixing. Allow juice to stand for 30 minutes, or until below 85 degrees (anything above 118F will destroy the antibiotic properties of the honey). 

Once cooled, stir in the honey, and mix thoroughly. Transfer syrup into glass jars for storage. Syrup should last 2 to 3 months if stored in glass container in the refrigerator. Also, elderberry syrup can be placed in freezer bags and kept frozen until it is needed. It can be kept this way for several months.

How much elderberry syrup should you take?

To use as an immunity booster, take ½ to 1 tsp for children, ½ to 1 Tbsp for adults per day.

As a remedy for severe cold or flu remedy, take the above dosage every 3 to 4 hours, until symptoms disappear.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Promise: A Fly Angler's Long Journey Home By Paul A. Cañada

My favorite stories are the ones that give the author depth and serve as a window of insight into a writer's mind. Within the first few pages, it is important for me to develop a connection with the author, less I will quickly lose interest. I don't mean to sound like some type of literary elitist by any stretch– it's just me being honest.  Reading the first chapter in Paul Cañada's new book, The Promise , I felt that connection immediately. Paul tells of his childhood growing up in a military family, having a father in the Air Force, and the moves and re-adjustments that had to be made each time his father received new orders to relocate. I did not grow up in a military family, nor did my family move from place to place, but the relationship between Paul and his dad gripped me from the beginning. For me, this laid the groundwork for what was to come.  As his bio states, Paul Cañada is an award-winning writer and photographer with bylines in dozens of magazi

Love Letter

I wake this morning, to find your scent still lingering on my skin. With sleep in my eyes, I try to shake the heady buzz from the hours of being entwined with you the day before. I feel your residual energy flowing all around me. I step into the shower just to feel the rivulets of water wash over my body. You are all I can think about this morning, and I know that I will not find peace until I return to your side. I am completely, utterly, and desperately obsessed with you. When I look upon you, I am captivated. I am enamored by your beauty, by your natural sensuous movements. I follow every curve, trace all of your soft edges with my eyes, immerse myself in the rise and fall of your breath. You whisper mysteries known only to the deepest parts of my consciousness, and the narrative you speak to my heart is as old as the earth. I have watched you suffer mistreatment at the hands of so many before. You have been taken advantage of, used and abused, stripped of your purity. I

Hunting the Hard Way

Early morning sun catches my eye as it peeks over the horizon. It seems I am at odds with the world this morning. Already a crow has found my hideout in the tree branches, and pointed me out to his comrades as a spy for the human kind among the oaks. Only minutes later, the squirrel that emerged from the ball of dried leaves in a high fork betrays my location with a series of shrill barks, and I’m sure that every deer within twelve miles knows of my plan and will steer clear of this patch of woods from now until two hours after sunset this evening.  Once the alarm calls fade, all is quiet again, too quiet. It is always coldest after daylight, and I sit shivering, without so much as a wren or finch scratching around in the leaves, or hopping from branch to branch to entertain me. For two hours I sit with nothing but thoughts of a warm bed to occupy my time. Forlorn and desperate for some sort of action, I lower my bow to the ground and climb down from the tree. I need to do