It’s that time of year—flu + cold season. There are a lot of people who are looking for all-natural, proven ways to boost their immune system strength—enter elderberry syrup!
There is a time & place for modern medicine, but there’s not much that they can do for the common cold or even a mild form of the flu – and if you’ve ever had the flu, you know just how terrible it can be, especially if it’s your little ones.
Nowadays, you can purchase Elderberry Syrup at almost every natural food stores and even in the pharmacy section of a lot of major supermarkets, but we have two issues with the store varieties: (1) price—they are highly expensive at almost $20 per eight ounces and (2) ingredients—sugar, sugar, sugar. Flip over the container/box of the store-bought Elderberry Syrup (or even the gummies), and you’ll find sugar, corn syrup, or glucose (or all three) listed toward the very top of the ingredients list.
In our opinion, taking a remedy that’s supposed to boost your immune system but contains an immunosuppressant as one of the first ingredients? That is highly counterproductive. So we jsut make our own!
Making your own Elderberry Syrup is an excellent way to dabble in holistic living. The ingredients are super easy to find. The syrup is so easy to make. And it tastes delicious (which is definitely not true for all herbal medicines, just take our word for it).
Elderberries have been used as a traditional remedy for hundreds of years – from colds, flu, fever, burns & cuts, bladder & urinary tract issues and even stomachaches. Rich in flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins which are a powerful antioxidant that keeps the immune systems strong. This high antioxidant activity stimulates the immune response while bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice of the berry deactivate the cold or flu virus enzymes that can infect our cells. On top of that, they are rich in vitamins A, B & C. In short, the immune-boosting compounds in Elderberries have been specifically shown to help beat the cold and flu more quickly by inhibiting duplication of the virus.
For daily immune support, adults take one tablespoon per day and kids take one teaspoon. We typically only take ours during prime cold and flu months—approx. September through March. Some recommend “pulsing” your dosage to up efficacy—so you take a day or two off each week. We personally don’t do this.
When you are sick or feel like you’re on the verge of catching something, just up your intake to one dose every 2-3 hours until you’re feeling well again. Then go back to the regular dose.
We also add immune-boosting essential oils to ours – this recipe is versatile, so feel free to adjust the spices or essential oils as you’d like! Ps. Young Living essential oils are the ONLY brand of essential oils that we recommend ingesting internally. Read more on that here.
Here’s exactly why each ingredient is in our Elderberry Syrup:
- Elderberries: Packed with immunostimulant compounds, antioxidants, and acts as a powerful antiviral.
- Wolfberries: Contain natural antioxidants which protect the body against free radicals. It is free radicals that create cell oxidation; therefore may help prevent against oxidative stress. Not only do they support healthy immune system but they are loaded with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Read more on the benefits of wolfberries here.
- Water: Because you need something make your syrup out of, duh.
- Apple Cider or Juice: Adds a touch of sweetness to the syrup without adding sugar. It also has a nice dose of antioxidants!
- Honey: Well, it tastes awesome! But it’s also an antibacterial rockstar (you can even use it as a salve on cuts and wounds) and is clinically-proven to be a better cough suppressant than traditional cough syrups on the market.
Suggested Vitality Oils:
Thieves Vitality – we use this blend of Clove, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary & Cinnamon Bark all year for overall wellness & immune support. Named for the legend of the 4 thieves who during the 15th century would rob the graves of the dead and dying during the plague, but never got sick. When they got caught, they traded their recipe for a lesser sentence. There’s many amazing medical studies around this blend.
Clove Vitality – and extra boost of antioxidants! Antioxidants are known for their ability to fight free radicals.
Frankincense Vitality – this powerful oil supports cell health & function – you should google the benefits of this one – you will be blown away!
Nutmeg Vitality – Circulation boost that also supports the nervous & endocrine systems!
Ginger Vitality– Over 70% of our immune system resides in our gut, so keeping digestion optimal is important.
Cinnamon Bark Vitality – and extra boost of strong immune support with this oil. Plus the warm, spicy flavor is perfect.
Orange Vitality – We love the boost of fruity flavor, but Orange has many benefits including the fact that it’s cleansing, uplifting, aids digestion & is high in d-limonene
- 2/3 cup dried organic black elderberries
- 2/3 cup dried organic Ningxia wolfberries
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup unsweetened apple juice or apple cider
- 1 cup raw local honey
- 2-3 Cinnamon Sticks
- Oils of Choice (see above list)
1. In a saucepan over low heat, combine the wolfberries, elderberries, water, apple juice or cider, and cinnamon sticks.
2. Bring to a low simmer, cover (with the lid slightly ajar), and continue simmering until the liquid is reduced by half—about 30 minutes.⠀
3. Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
4. Pour 75% of the juice through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. Return any berries to the pan and mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil. Pour this remaining portion through the strainer as well. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
5. Whisk in the honey and Vitality oils of choice:
- 1 drop Thieves
- 1 drop Clove
- 1 drop Nutmeg
- 1 drop Ginger
- 1 drop Cinnamon Bark
- 3 drops Frankincense
- 5 drops Orange
6. Pour into a glass mason jar or bottle and store in the fridge for up to a month. Add to your daily (or every other day) routine for an immune boost!
For general immune support, adults take 1 tablespoon per day, kids take 1 teaspoon. When you have a cold or the flu, up your intake to one dose every 2-3 hours until you’re recovered.
If you’d like to learn more on the scientific studies on the benefits of elderberries during the cold/flu season, read here.
Have you tried Elderberry syrup before? Have you made your own? We’ll probably make a batch into homemade gummies soon, too! Happy oiling, babe!