How to Make Homemade Elderberry Cold Syrup

How to Make Homemade Elderberry Cold Syrup

Last month, I announced that I would be taking the Intermediate Herbal Course offered by The Herbal Academy of New England.  As part of my first unit of study, I was asked to make an herbal preparation.  Given that we are in the midst of cold and flu season, I chose to make an immune system boosting elderberry syrup.  I used the Herbal Academy’s post as a starting point.

I wanted to add my own signature to my formula, so I began researching other components that I could add to the existing blend.  I also wanted to incorporate as many ingredients as I could that were produced right here on our farm.  I was able to use locally produced honey along with thyme from our heirloom garden, and maple syrup  produced by my family using the sap collected from our own sugar maples.  As I care for a family member with Type One Diabetes, I also wanted to reduce the sugar content and therefore the carbohydrates of the finished syrup.

I found that orange could be incorporated and was believed to help relieve congestion and add bitter, warm, sour, and dry energetics.  By studding the clementine with the cloves called for in the original recipe, some of the oil from the orange was released and infused into the formula along with the clove. Turmeric and thyme both added a slightly herbal note to the finished syrup.  While I reduced the amount of sweetener by half, the final syrup was still very palatable with plenty of sweetness.

If you are interested in joining me in the Intermediate Herbal Course, you can learn more about it by visiting the course description on The Herbal Academy of New England’s Web site.  Their site offers a full detail of the topics covered in the course and a few fantastic links to posts with recipes and practical applications for the skills learned in the course.





Elderberry Hot and dry-combats damp phlegm and mucus and cold chills Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, fever reducing, stimulates the production of antibodies
Ginger   Warm to combat chills associated with cold or flu Anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antibacterial, fever reducing
Orange Expectorant, helpful in relieving coughing and phlegm
Clove Antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, antispasmodic to relieve coughing associated with cold and flu
Turmeric Antioxidant, circulatory stimulant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory
Thyme Antiseptic, antispasmodic to combat coughing, expectorant
Honey Powerful humectant, helpful in soothing dry and sore throat Antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, immune system stimulant
Maple Syrup Delivers high levels of calcium, manganese, and zinc to boost immune system function Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune system stimulant

Elderberry Syrup*

1 cup (4 ounces) organic dried elderberries or conventional dried elderberries
6 cups purified water
2 Tablespoons fresh organic ginger, peeled and grated
1 organic orange
1 generous Tablespoon whole cloves
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon thyme
4 ounces organic honey
2 ounces organic maple syrup

Combine elderberries and water in a small pot over medium heat.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Strain the liquid to remove the berries.  Return the elderberry liquid to the heat.  Stud the orange with the whole cloves before adding to the liquid along with the ginger, turmeric, and thyme.  Return to a gentle simmer, continuing to cook until the liquid has reduced by about half.

Remove the syrup from the heat and strain into a glass mason jar or other container with a lid.  Add the honey and maple syrup and stir to fully combine.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

As an immune system booster, take ½ to 1 teaspoon daily.  At the first sign of infection, take 2 teaspoons every three hours until symptoms have passed.

Sources and Related Content:


*This information is presented solely for general informational purposes only.   Nothing contained on this site is intended to constitute medical advice or serve as a substitute for the advice of a physician or health care provider.




  1. I have been studying and creating all my own cleaning solutions, make-up, soaps, and recently salves for my Shibas, for well over15 years. I just have a couple short questions? Is that “”1 cup plus 4 ounces””, which it would be 12 ounces total. Or are you saying that 1 cup equals 4 ounces?
    In the recipe you said to ” Stud the orange with the whole cloves “, and “”By studding the clementine with the cloves””? I have no idea what studding is, if you could please explain it to me. Thank you very much, and I am planning on buying your book for my daughter for her birthday.

    1. Author

      Studding an orange or clementine simply means that you push the whole cloves into the rind. Doing so helps to extract a bit of oil from the rind/peel of the citrus and also infuses the clove into the syrup a bit more evenly in my experience. The “1 cup (4 ounces) organic dried elderberries or conventional dried elderberries” simply means that one cup of dried elderberries weighs approximately 4 ounces. I often use a scale to measure dry ingredients instead of a measuring cup, but you can use either method.

      I hope that you enjoy making and using the syrup!

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