Everyday Herbal Medicine: Elderberry Syrup
Everyday Herbal Medicine: Elderberry Syrup


Sambucus nigra, commonly called Elder, is a shrub with large flat-topped clusters of creamy-white flowers and dark purple berries that ripen during autumn. Elder is native to Europe and Britain, and the flowers, leaves, inner bark and fruit have been used medicinally for over a thousand years. More recently, research has explored the use of the berries for treating common infections, making elderberry a household staple. 

Elderberries contain flavonoids, including anthocyanins, the pigments that give the berries their colour and produce antioxidant effects. Elderberries also exhibit antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties by increasing cytokine interleukin 10 (IL-10) production, strengthening cell membranes, protecting against virus penetration, and reducing inflammatory mediators. Additionally, elderberry has antibacterial, diuretic and anti-diabetic effects. With all its benefits, you can understand its use in widely loved products like the Wild Dispensary Immunity Tonic and Wild Dispensary Elderberry Switchel. Elderberry is commonly used to treat cases of colds and flu and acute infections associated with fever, upper respiratory tract congestion, headache, and nausea. It may also be useful in allergic conditions with cough and mucous, including hay fever, croup, asthma, tonsilitis, and rheumatic conditions.

Generally, medicinal syrups are made by dissolving sugar into a concentrated infusion or decoction. They are a delicious and easy way to take herbal medicine for the whole family (children love them too!). You can take medicinal syrups directly off the spoon, add them to kombucha brews, sour jams or even whole food smoothies.

Elderberry Syrup


Fine-mesh sieve


500 ml sterilised dry bottle and lid


4 cups spring or filtered water

1 cup dried elderberries

1 cup sweetener (raw honey, manuka honey or brown rice syrup)


Combine the dried elderberries with filtered or spring water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Strain the liquid through a sieve, press the juice from the berries and pour into a saucepan. Simmer the liquid on low heat until it is reduced by approximately half. Remove from heat.

When the reduced infusion has slightly cooled, add your sweetener of choice and stir until dissolved. If you are using honey, ensure the liquid is warm to retain the medicinal enzymes of the honey.

Pour the syrup into the sterilised bottle, label it clearly with the date and ingredients, and allow it to cool. You can store it in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Dose: For general wellness, take 1 tablespoon daily. For added immune support, take up to 3 tablespoons daily.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay in the know with the latest news, products, and health and wellness tips.