Dr. Natalie Walch

Elderberry Syrup for Immune Support

Boost your immune system with this easy recipe.

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra)  are known for their medicinal use in supporting the immune system. They are high in antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, B, C, which are essential for proper immune function. Elderberry syrup is easy to make and can be enjoyed by the whole family  throughout cold and flu season.

How does elderberry syrup work? 

Elderberry works both by enhancing the body’s immune function, as well as directly attacking viruses. It has been shown in some studies to directly inhibit viruses. Some studies have shown that elderberry can reduce flu-like symptoms 4-days faster than placebo.

How much do you take? 

Elderberry syrup can be taken in small, daily doses throughout the winter months to boost immunity and prevent colds and the flu. It can also be taken during acute infection at higher doses. It is generally safe and effective for children. Always check with your naturopathic doctor for appropriate dosing for herbs for you and your family.

Other Preparations

While raw local honey has immune-enhancing benefits of its own, daily doses of honey are not recommended for diabetics and some other disease states. Elderberries and flowers can also be prepared as a tea, and may be equally as effective as the syrup.

Store-bought options

Don’t have time to make your own?  There are many great brands of elderberry syrup now available over the counter at health food stores and some drug stores. The top brands I like are:

  • Gaia Herb’s Black Elderberry Syrup (Kid’s version also available)
  • Wise Woman Herbals Elderberry Syrup
  • Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

2 1/2 C water

1/2 C dried elderberries

2 cinnamon sticks

1/4 tsp grated ginger

Dash of ground cloves

Local raw honey

Bring water, elderberries, cinnamon sticks, clove and grated ginger to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 30-45 minutes or until half of the liquid remains. Strain. Stir in equal amounts honey to the liquid you have left (1:1 ratio). Let cool. Store in an air tight, glass container in the fridge. Will keep for ł-2 months. Enjoy!

References

PMID:15080016

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