Homemade Elderberry Honey Cold Syrup

Just like there's no crying in baseball, there are no sick days when you live on a farm. Animals still need to be fed and cared for no matter how cruddy you feel.

Fortunately in our family we manage to stay pretty healthy by living the same way as we raise our animals - with a varied diet filled with plenty of healthy locally grown food, lots of water, fresh air, exercise and natural preventives and immune system boosters. 

But sometimes the germs still manage to get the upper hand, and this easy-to-make elderberry cold syrup is a wonderful substitute for store bought cold medicine.

Elderberries have wonderful cold-fighting properties and I love using them in cold syrup. One thing to note: the berries are toxic if eaten raw, so be sure to always cook them!

Adapted from this recipe I found on the Herbal Academy of New England blog, the elderberry cold syrup can also be used as an immune system booster during the cold season to help protect you from getting sick in the first place.

What You'll Need:

4 Cups of water
1" piece of fresh ginger, grated

What You Do:

In a saucepan, bring elderberries, water, ginger and cinnamon stick to a boil, then simmer covered for about an hour, or until you have reduced the liquid to about one cup.

Strain, then remove from the heat and let cool. When cooled, whisk in the honey and then pour the cooled liquid into your jar.  Store in the refrigerator. The syrup should keep for several weeks.

Take 2 teaspoons of syrup at the first sign of a cold, then repeat every three hours until symptoms are gone. Or take 1/2 teaspoon daily as a preventive and immune system booster.

Health Notes:

Elderberry - treats respiratory illnesses, colds and flu, relieves nasal congestion, anti-inflammatory, antiviral
Honey - antibacterial and antioxidant, soothes coughs, may help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics
Cinnamon - contains anti-infectious and anti-microbial compounds to stop the growth of bacteria
Ginger - digestive aid, clears sinuses, alleviates nausea, anti-inflammatory

Reference Sources:

If you want to learn more ways to incorporate herbs into your life, sign up for the Herbal Academy Course HERE.

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  1. can I feed the used elderberries to my chickens?

  2. I would skip it. I thought about it and actually consulted with an herbalist I know. The berries can be toxic when uncooked, cooked they are okay, but as she pointed out, after being boiled for that long, most of the nutrition has leached out of them into the water, so there's not a lot of goodness left in them, even if they are safe. I erred on the side of caution and tossed them in the compost pile.

  3. What does this taste like? I've never had anything with elderberries before.

    1. I had never tasted an elderberry before either except in the Sambucol syrup I had been using in years past. I guess berry-like. Mild. It's actually very good - I mean berries, honey, cinnamon and ginger, what's not to like?

  4. I have 10 gallons of elderberries in the freezer. I was planning on medicinal syrup with them but for whatever reason I've never added ginger. Must change that!

  5. Oh perfect! Yes easy to add a bit of ginger!

  6. I didn't know that about elderberries! What a fabulous recipe. Thank you so much.... I guess I better find myself a place to pick elderberries...!!

    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  7. How long will this keep in the refrigerator?

    1. I made mine back in November and still have one jar in the fridge and its just fine, so I would say at least 8 weeks...

  8. thanks lisa for sharing with us that great article byn the way you can profits for that awesome thread about ginger

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