Elderberry Tincture and Cough Syrup

Elderberries are a go-to- remedy for many herbalist families. These dried berries come from the Sambucus Nigra plant, and they contain natural, immune-boosting compounds. Evidence shows us that these compounds help us to beat colds and the flu easier and quicker.

You can use elderberries to make your tinctures and cough syrups. The processes don’t take long. Tinctures require only a few minutes of hands-on time and a lot of waiting time. It only takes a few minutes to prepare elderberry syrup. Take the time because it saves you time and keeps your body healthier. Plus, kids would rather take elderberry syrup than nasty cough syrup from the store!


Benefits of Using Elderberries

Elderberries are a natural source of vitamins A, B, and C. Together, these vitamins work together to stimulate the immune system. Researchers find that elderberries work against the H1N1 virus.

Most importantly, using elderberries to boost your immune system can relieve symptoms four days earlier and reduce the number of conventional medications that you may have to consume.

Elderberries offer many benefits, such as:

  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Improvising vision
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Improving heart health
  • Battling coughs, colds, and the flu
  • Fights bacterial and viral infections
  • Kicks tonsillitis

Making Elderberry Cough Syrup

To tap into these awesome benefits, make an elderberry syrup. It provides the concentrated immune supporting benefits in a way that adults and children can enjoy taking. Most recipes add raw honey, along with several herbs, for flavor and extra benefits.

Homemade syrup saves money as well! A bottle of elderberry syrup can cost upwards of $30! That is a lot of money. Purchasing the supplies to make your own syrup is less than half of that price! You also can use the syrup to create your elderberry gummies. Those are awesome for those kids who hate to take medicine.

Basic Elderberry Recipe

If you want to try making an elderberry syrup for the first time, give this basic recipe a try. It is easy to make, and you can even do it in the Instant Pot! Some people like elderberry syrup so much that they use it over their pancakes.


  • 2/3 cup dried black elderberries
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 2 TBSP dried ginger root
  • 1 TSP cinnamon
  • ½ TSP clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey


  1. Put the water into a medium pot, and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and
  2. Bring this mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. You want t the liquid to reduce by almost half. Remove the pot from the heat, and let it cool. Use a spoon to mash the berries, and pour through a strainer.
  3. Toss the elderberries, or put them in your compost! Continue to let this cool to a lukewarm temperature. Then, add the cup of honey and stir well.
  4. Store the elderberry syrup into a mason jar. You have to keep this cough syrup in the fridge. Make sure that you take throughout the week to keep your immune system working at its peak. Kids can take ½ to 1 TSP per day, and adults should take ½ to 1 TBSP. When you are sick, take your normal dose every two to three hours until the sickness disappears.
  5. If you love the Instant Pot as much as I do, put all of the ingredients, aside from the honey, into the pot. Seal and set manually for 9 minutes. Use a quick release and strain. That’s it!

elderberries and elderberry syrup

Elderberry Syrup #2

This is close to the same recipe with just a few minor differences.


  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 ounces dried elderberries
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 1 TSP ground cloves
  • 1 ½ Cups sugar


  1. Simmer the water, elderberries, and cinnamon stick together for 20 minutes. Then, let the mixture stand for 1.5 hours.
  2. Strain and add in just enough water to bring the syrup back up to a boil.
  3. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves completely in the liquid.
  4. Store in a mason jar and keep in the fridge.

Elderberry Syrup with Three Ingredients

So, you don’t want to make a syrup with multiple ingredients. That’s fine! This recipe is perfect for you. There are three ingredients; you can’t get simpler than that.


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups raw honey
  • 1 ½ cups dried elderberries (or two to three cups of fresh elderberries)


  1. Put the dried or fresh elderberries and the water in a medium-sized
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer on medium heat for at least 30 minutes. At this point, there should be around a third of the liquid remaining.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, and mash the elderberries up to ensure all of the juices are extracted.
  4. Strain the mixture into a bowl.
  5. Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature, add the honey, and stir thoroughly. You don’t want the liquid hot, or it will destroy all of the amazing properties in raw honey.
  6. Store in a glass jar, and keep in the fridge.

How Long Does Elderberry Last in the Fridge

One of the big questions is how long does the syrup last in the fridge. There is no set time that the syrup will last in the fridge. Keeping it in a mason jar tends to give the longest lifespan because it has an air-tight seal.

In general, prepared elderberry syrup can last for about two to three weeks. There are ways to can it to extend the lifespan. Don’t toss it out though! Instead, fill up an ice cube tray with the remaining syrup. You also could make elderberry popsicles for the kids. Try making elderberry marshmallows. The options are endless, so don’t

Substitute for Honey in Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Honey is used in cough syrups to sweetener and to add extra health benefits, but a lot of people don’t use honey. Also, honey should never be consumed by a child under the age of one. Instead, try one of these substitutes!

  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Omit the sweetener, which will make the syrup into a juice. Elderberry juice does need to be consumed quicker
  • Make an elderberry tincture
  • Date syrup is a great alternative for honey if you want to give your infant under the age of one elderberry syrup. Learn how to make date syrup here!

Making an Elderberry Tincture

Another choice to reap all of the amazing benefits of elderberries is to make an elderberry tincture instead. You can use fresh and dried elderberries to make a tincture. Tinctures can be made with alcohol or glycerin. The benefit of using glycerin is that it is suitable for children or adults who prefer to avoid alcohol. There are different processes. First, let’s take a look at how to make elderberry tincture with vodka.

  1. Fill a mason jar half full with fresh, washed elderberries, or fill it a fourth of the way with dried elderberries.
  2. Pour vodka over the berries, leaving 1 inch at the top of the jar.
  3. Put the lid on the jar, and store it in a dark cabinet for four to six weeks.
  4. Remember to give it a shake now and then!
  5. Then, after the infusion process is over, strain the berries from the vodka, and put the tincture into a clean jar with an air-tight lid.
  6. Store your elderberry tincture out of the direct sunlight. It is best to store the tincture in dark bottles!

Now that you know how to make elderberry syrup with alcohol let’s learn how to make a tincture with glycerin.

  1. If you want to use fresh elderberries, fill your glass jar 2/3 full with freshly washed elderberries. It is best to give them a bit of a crush with a spoon when you put them into the jar. To use dried elderberries, you have to use water to rehydrate them. It is best to use 25% water and 75% glycerin. You can do this by mixing one or two cups at a time together. For example, use 1 ½ cups of glycerin and ½ cup water, then whisk well.
  2. Pour glycerin over the berries, leaving 1 inch at the top.
  3. Put on the lid and store the tincture in a cabinet for four to six weeks, shaking it each day. Once the process is over, strain and store in a glass bottle out of direct sunlight.

How to Use Elderberry Tinctures

If you think that a cold or flu is about to take over, using an elderberry tincture can kick it before it gets too bad. Take one teaspoon of the tincture three times per day. You can dilute a tincture in water or juice to help with the flavor. Glycerin tinctures mixed with a bit of juice is perfect for kids. They typically have no idea they just took their medicine.

Elderberries are beneficial for your health. Consider planting a few bushes on your property if you want to use elderberries often. They are easy to dry yourself and store. It can be pricey if you buy pounds of dried elderberries from herbal stores. Check to see if the plants grow well in your region.

If you want to boost your immune system, tap into the awesome benefits of elderberries! They are full of medicinal properties, along with vitamins and minerals. Take a dose each day to keep your immune system running at full capacity all year long.

2 thoughts on “Elderberry Tincture and Cough Syrup”

  1. Since supplies are low this year is there anything else that would be considered a substitute for elderberry? For general immune system boosting, etc.

  2. Elderberry tincture works by inhibiting the replication process of the flu virus. Make sure that you use 100 proof vodka to make the tincture. I make mine with dehydrated elderberries–one cup of dried elderberries to a half gallon of vodka.


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