Natural healing: elderberry tincture and cough syrup

If you’re looking for natural remedies for colds, coughs or the flu, try using elderberries. The superfood contains natural compounds that can help boost your immune health and help you recover faster from colds and the flu.

Instead of buying medication made with synthetic chemicals, make elderberry tincture at home and use it to create a natural cough syrup that can help strengthen your immunity and promote faster healing.

Elderberries, a superfood that helps boost immune health

Elderberries are rich in vitamins A, B and C, all of which help boost your immune system.

The superfood is also full of anthocyanins and phytochemicals usually found in purple and blue fruits. These compounds may have anticancer properties and can offer benefits for your brain and heart. Elderberries are also chock-full of iron and vitamin B6.

Data suggests that the anti-inflammatory properties of elderberries can help reduce flu-like symptoms and the duration of flu by at least 50 percent.

Elderberries also offer other health benefits, such as:

  • Preventing bacterial and viral infections
  • Protecting you from coughs, colds and the flu
  • Boosting your heart health
  • Lowering blood cholesterol
  • Improving eye health
  • Strengthening your immune system
  • Treating tonsillitis

How to make elderberry home remedies

DIY elderberry syrup is a nutritious and delicious remedy that can boost your immune system. Some recipes use raw honey and various herbs for added flavor and more health benefits.

Making your own elderberry syrup means you can save a bit of money since store-bought of elderberry syrup can cost up to $30. Instead of buying, harvest the ingredients you need to make DIY syrup or get them for less than half of that price.

Elderberry syrup can also be used to make elderberry gummies for kids who hate taking medicine.

If you’re making the syrup or tincture for kids younger than one year old, use these safer honey alternatives:

  • Date syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses

You can also skip the honey to make elderberry juice, which has a shorter shelf life. Alternatively, you can make an elderberry tincture without using honey.

Basic elderberry syrup recipe

Try this recipe if it’s your first time making elderberry syrup. Elderberry syrup can be used on pancakes or other desserts.


  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 2/3 cups dried black elderberries
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons dried ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove powder


  1. Pour the water into a medium-sized pot then add the elderberries, cinnamon, ginger and clove powder. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes up to one hour. The mixture is done once the liquid is reduced to almost half.
  2. Remove the pot from heat and set it aside to cool.
  3. Use a spoon to mash the berries then pour the mixture through a strainer and keep the liquid. You can throw away the elderberries or add them to your compost pile.
  4. Let the liquid cool down until it is lukewarm. Add the honey and stir well.
  5. Pour the elderberry syrup into a mason jar. Refrigerate the syrup and take it daily to boost your immune health.

Give children older than 12 months half a teaspoon of elderberry syrup daily. Adults need to take half a tablespoon of the syrup daily.

If you already have the flu, take the recommended dose every two to three hours until you feel better.

Three-ingredient elderberry syrup

Try this simple recipe if you want a syrup with fewer ingredients.


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried elderberries (or two to three cups of fresh elderberries.)
  • 1 1/2 cups raw honey


  1. Place the dried or fresh elderberries and the water in a medium-sized pan. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes. You should be done when you only have one third of the liquid remaining.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and mash the elderberries to extract all the juices.
  4. Strain the elderberry mixture into a bowl. Set the bowl aside and let the liquid cool to room temperature.
  5. Add the honey and stir. If the liquid is too hot, it will destroy the beneficial properties of the raw honey.
  6. Pour the syrup into a glass jar and refrigerate it.

Elderberry tincture with vodka

If you don’t want to make syrup, you can try making elderberry tincture with either alcohol or glycerin. The recipe below uses vodka. You can use either fresh or dried elderberries.

If the tincture is for kids or adults avoiding alcohol, skip to the steps using glycerin.


  • Fresh elderberries, washed (enough to fill half a Mason jar.)
  • Vodka


  1. Fill a Mason jar until it’s half full of fresh, washed elderberries. Fill it a fourth of the way if using dried elderberries.
  2. Pour the vodka over the berries and leave one inch of space at the top of the jar.
  3. Put the lid on the jar and keep it in a dark cabinet for four to six weeks. Shake the jar every day.
  4. Once the infusion process is done, strain the berries from the vodka. Store the tincture in a clean jar with an air-tight lid.
  5. Keep the elderberry tincture out of direct sunlight. Use a dark bottle if you have one.

Elderberry tincture with glycerin

Follow these steps if you prefer a non-alcoholic tincture.


  • Fresh elderberries, washed (enough to fill 2/3 of a Mason jar.)
  • Glycerin


  1. If using fresh elderberries, fill the glass jar 2/3 full with freshly washed elderberries. Crush the fresh elderberries with a spoon as you put them into the jar.
  2. If using dried elderberries, rehydrate them with water using a mixture of 25 percent water and 75 percent glycerin. Mix one or two cups at a time: Use 1 1/2 cups of glycerin and 1/2 cup of water and whisk well.
  3. Pour the glycerin over the berries and leave one inch of space at the top.
  4. Place the lid on the jar and store the tincture in a cabinet for four to six weeks. Shake it at least once a day.
  5. Once the process is over, strain the mixture and store the tincture in a glass bottle. Store the tincture away from direct sunlight.

How to store and use elderberry tincture

Your DIY elderberry syrup should last for at least two to three weeks in the fridge. Keeping it in a Mason jar gives it the longest lifespan because it has an air-tight seal.

Here are more suggestions on how to use the elderberry tincture:

  • If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, take one teaspoon of the tincture three times per day or dilute it in water or fruit juice to help with the flavor.
  • Use the glycerin tincture and add it to fruit juice if you have kids so they don’t know you’re giving them their medicine.
  • If you have leftover elderberry syrup, use it on pancakes or desserts. Another option is to make elderberry popsicles for everyone.

Elderberries offer many benefits for your overall health. Plant a few elderberry bushes in your home garden so you can make the syrup and tincture whenever you want.

Make elderberry tincture at home and take it regularly for better immunity and to promote faster healing if you have colds, a cough, or the flu.

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