The Best Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Dr Jess Garden, Immunology, Kitchen

Dr Jess says: This traditional immune tonic helps prevent and combat coughs and colds, is delicious, enjoyed by and safe for the whole family. It is taken from the traditional Mrs Grieves recipe (well-known herbalist who published in the 1930’s). For other immune boosting herbs read here.

Foraging responsibly for your own elderberries is a wonderful autumn walk and an annual event in our family. We tend to add a couple of handfuls of blackberries in too. My daughter loves stripping all the berries when we get home and helps us make up the syrup*. We also freeze several portions of berries to make up more syrup over winter. (*Be careful the berries do stain! The juice was historically used as a dye).

If you can’t get hold of fresh berries, dried berries can be found online.

  • 1 cup fresh elderberries (2/3 cup dried)
  • 1 heaped tsp dried ginger root
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder (or cook with 2 cinnamon sticks)
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup local raw honey
  • 3 and a 1/2 cups of water (7 cups if using dried elderberries)
  • Optional: handful of fresh blackberries
  1. Add everything except honey to a saucepan and bring to the boil. 
  2. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Let it cool and mash the berries gently with a fork, then pour mix through a fine sieve into a bowl. Discard the pulp. 
  4. Stir the honey into the liquid until it is all dissolved and then pour into clean bottles or jars.
  5. Store in the fridge for up to 6 weeks, discard if spoils. Alternatively put in ice cube trays in the freezer.
How To Use For Coughs / Colds / Infections
  • Take 1 tsp (kids) or 1 tbsp (adults) daily to prevent infection.
  • If symptoms occur it can be taken up to every 2 hours to reduce the severity.