Elderberry syrup is winter tradition in my house. Is used for both flu prevention and flu treatment. Preventative measures require one spoon full daily (see below for dosage instructions). This recipe is simple to make and simple to feed to my family and friends. In fact, elderberry syrup is a holiday tradition that has become my most requested herbal product. There are 2 reasons: it is effective and delicious. I keep telling people that it is a breeze to make but clearly, it is even easier for me to make it for them. I add the fresh ginger to aid in flu treatment. Ginger also balances the earthy taste of the elderberries. The ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C) is a natural preservative.

There is a lot of flexibility in this recipe. You can soak the berries for longer than overnight. I have left them soaking over the weekend. Do NOT use fresh elderberries. They will make you sick if eaten in large quantities. If you have an Instant Pot or other electronic pressure cooker, the cooking time is even shorter. If you are feeling brave enough to experiment, try our basic syrup making recipe. Send us your results. We love to see what people do with their herbs.

Some people have frozen elderberries saved from autumn’s harvest. If you are an elderberry collector, check out this easy to make tool for elderberry harvest. Take them out and remove the stems by rubbing them lightly between your palms. Once the stems are removed. You are ready to cook the berries.


  • 1/2 cup elderberries berries (dried) or 1 cup of frozen elderberries
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 or 2 slices of fresh ginger (optional)
  • 3 teaspoons ascorbic acid powder


  • 1 measuring cup
  • 1 set of measuring spoons
  • 1 stirring and mashing spoon
  • 2 small cook pots (1 with lid)
  • 1 strainer
  • cheesecloth (if your strainer does not have a fine mesh)
  • 1 clean, resealable bottle (quart jar is fine)
  • 1 label


  1. strainerPour the elderberries into the cook pot with the water and soak overnight.
  2. Put the cook pot on the stove, add the ginger slices and cook on lowest setting, covered, for one hour stirring every 15 minutes.
  3. Remove cook pot from stove and allow to cool thoroughly.
  4. Muddle but do not mash the elderberries.
  5. Add brandy.
  6. Cover pot and return to stove on low and allow hawthorn to steep a minimum of 20 minutes or until water darkens this will cook off the alcohol content yet help extract the constituents of the berry.
  7. Instant Pot owners: Steps 1-4 can be shortened by using an instant pot for 1 minute on high pressure and allowing 10 minutes for natural release.
  8. Place 2 layers of cheesecloth in the strainer.
  9. Pour hawthorn through the strainer and keep 1 1/2 cups of infused water/brandy for syrup.
  10. Using The Practical Herbalist’s simple Syrup Making Instructions, heat honey and infused water to make syrup.
  11. Stir in the ascorbic acid powder.
  12. More honey may be added for a sweeter syrup.
  13. Pour finished product into bottle and label clearly.

Storage and Use

Store Elderberry Syrup in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. (Note: In my experience, some honey types store longer than others.)

Children under 12: Take 1 teaspoon of syrup no more than 4 times daily. Preventive measures: 1 teaspoon daily.

Adults: Take 1 tablespoon of syrup no more than 4 times daily. Preventive measures: 1 tablespoon daily.

Not intended for children under age 2.

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