Elderberry, a Wonder Herb

Elderberry, a Wonder Herb

“Health is the new wealth” my brother said, as he wished me and my family a ‘Happy New Year’ over the phone. He’s right, since the onset of covid, I have actively looked for natural preventive ways to keep my family healthy. It might be anecdotal, but it seems many people I know are doing the same. 

I have known about the benefits of Elderberry for a long time. I drink elderberry syrup and my kids take immunity gummies. It’s wonderful for everything from Immunity support, to allergy relief, to cold and flu symptoms.

When the berry is ripe, it is a very nutrient dense food source. Elderberry is a variety of the Sambucus tree, a flowering plant belonging to the Adoxaceae family. The most common type is Sambucus nigra, also known as Black Elder or European elderberry. Traditionally, native americans used it to treat infections, while the ancient Egyptians used it to improve their complexions and heal burns.

Research has found that the elderberry plant contains significant amounts of bioactive compounds - a substance that controls metabolic process (energy that helps your body function). It is suggested that eating compounds like the ones found in elderberries can lower the risk of chronic diseases. This is because Elderberries contain polyphenols which are a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent damage to your cells that lead to diseases.

Elderberries are: 

  • High in vitamin C. There are 6-35mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit, which accounts for up to 60% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C! 
  • High dietary fiber. Elderberries contain 7 gram of fiber per 100 grams of berries. 
  • A good source of phenolic acids. antioxidant compounds that can reduce damage from oxidative stress in the body. 
  • A good source of flavonols. Elderberry contains the antioxidant flavonols quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. 
  • Rich in anthocyanins. These compounds give the fruit its characteristic dark back-purple color and are strong antioxidant with anti inflammatory effects. 

One thing to remember: Black Elderberries are highly astringent, so they should always be cooked before consumption, as raw Elderberries contain a toxic substance that if ingested can lead to nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Only ripe, cooked berries are edible.

While you can also buy Elderberry syrup in the cold/flu aisle of your local pharmacy, homemade is always a great way to control any unnecessary sweeteners and additives. During covid, I worked on a homemade sucker recipe, which became the prototype for our Elderberry and honey lollipop. I am also attaching here, a wonderful homemade syrup recipe that I discovered on one of my favorite herbal websites (MountainRoseHerb.com). Enjoy… 

Classic Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Makes about 3 cups of syrup without alcohol, 4 cups with alcohol. 

Active Time: 1 hour 


  • 2 cups dried organic elderberries
  • 4 cups cold water (distilled, purified, or spring water works best)
  • 2-3 tsp. organic dried ginger root
  • 1 organic sweet cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup raw, local honey (or organic maple syrup or agave for a vegan/infant-friendly recipe); double the amount of sweetener to increase shelf life
  • 1 cup vodka or brandy (optional to increase shelf life)


  1. Combine berries and herbs with cold water in pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let steep 1 hour.
  4. Strain berries and herbs using a funnel overlaid with doubled cheesecloth or undyed cotton muslin bag and squeeze out liquid (careful, liquid will likely still be hot!). Discard used herbs in compost.
  5. Once liquid has cooled to just above room temperature, add honey and stir to incorporate.
  6. If using vodka or brandy, add here and stir until well combined.
  7. Bottle in sterilized glass.

Pro tip: This recipe is easy to multiply if you’d like to make a big batch to store or give as gifts (glass pantry jars and amber bottles are great choices!). 

Source: https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/elderberry-syrup-recipe
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