Immune boosting, cold fighting elderberry syrup recipe

‘Tis the season, not only for festive meals and gathering together with family and friends but also for sharing winter colds. To help you fight off those colds that are bound to come your way, I thought I’d share a recipe that is both tasty and helps kick those colds to the curb. I make sure to always have some in the fridge.

What’s in it and how does it help?

These dried herbs can be found at local stores which stock raw herbs or at online vendors such as Mountain Rose Herbs. Not all online vendors are created equal, so look for sellers which offer organic, sustainably sourced herbs. This particular recipe does call for raw honey, so if you intend to use this for very young children, please use a sweetener which will be appropriate for them. You can also feel free to add your own spin to this recipe by adding other immune boosting herbs such as ginger, clove and echinacea.

  • Elderberry is full of flavinoids and anthocyanins which give it its dark blue, almost black color. They are strong antioxidants and stimulators of the immune system. Elderberries are also believed to contain components which have anti-viral activity and have been used to treat colds and flu for centuries.

  • Rosehips are rich in Vitamin C, anthocyanins and polyphenols. They also help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

  • Cinnamon is also rich in antioxidants, proanthocyanins. The essential oils in cinnamon have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. All of which makes it a cold and inflammation fighting powerhouse. Not to mention it’s beneficial effects on glucose regulation.

  • Sage contains thujone which is has strong antibiotic effects to combat viruses, bacteria and fungi. It also soothes inflammation particularly in the throat and breaks up mucus.


The recipe:

1/2cup dried elderberries

1/2 cup dried rosehips

1/4 cup dried sage

4 cinnamon sticks

3-4 cups water

raw local honey

  1. Combine dried ingredients in a saucepan

  2. Add water. If for some reason you add too much water the mixture can be reduced if it is too thin by letting it simmer uncovered for several minutes

  3. Cover the pan and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes.

  4. Mash the mixture with a potato masher (this may be easier to do if the cinnamon sticks are removed first).

  5. Strain out the herbs, reserving the liquid. I find it easiest to use a metal mesh strainer and to use the back of a spoon or a spatula to press the liquid out of the herbs. You can also run the mixture through cheesecloth to then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. The cooked herbs can then be composted.

  6. Add honey to the strained liquid to taste.

The syrup can be taken by the teaspoonful or drizzled over something like oatmeal. As a cold preventative, take 1/2-1 teaspoon daily for adults and 1/2 teaspoon for children. If you have an active cold take 1 teaspoon several times a day until the cold is gone.