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No one likes being sick, and if you’re like our family, it takes a major toll. Being out from work, out from school and out of life is just plain no fun … and when you’re a small business owner or a working parent, it’s really not an option. As I see it, there are two main sick seasons, back to school and back from winter break. While we obviously try to stay healthy year round, we do everything we can to keep our bodies well during those sick seasons.
I first started using elderberry syrup as an immune booster when my daughter was just over a year old, and I was SO grateful to have found it. It’s supported us through flu seasons, hand foot and mouth and just general, germy toddler / preschool life. After researching the ingredients and exploring with a few recipes myself, I’ve created a super easy to make and easy to double (or triple) recipe that literally anyone can make, even with zero skills in the kitchen.
What are the benefits of taking elderberry syrup?
Elderberry syrup is safe, great for people of all ages and can be used pro-actively to keep your immune system strong OR to help you when you’re sick. It doesn’t take the place of medicine prescribed by your doctor (you should still take what your doctor prescribes) … it works WITH what you’re currently doing to boost your immune system and help your body naturally ward off the icky nasty illnesses. (Of course, check with your doctor first to be certain.)
Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) grow wild all over the eastern half of the US, including here in South Carolina! I’ve scoured our property for signs of them with no luck, but it’s on my list to plant and grow our own. For now, you can purchase dried elderberries from your local health food store or from Amazon.
These purpleish-black fruits of the elderberry plant are chocked full of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber and anti-oxidants. They have very strong immune boosting properties and have proven to be effective at reducing the length and severity of the flu.
When should I take elderberry syrup?
Start taking elderberry syrup when you’re feeling sick or when you’re around or going to be around anyone who’s sick. We start a few weeks before school starts and take a 1 Tbsp dose each morning throughout the “sick seasons.” If we’re feeling sick, we take 1 Tbsp every 3-4 hours. This elderberry syrup recipe will last up to 6 months if kept in a sealed glass jar, so I like to keep a jar or two on hand at all times … just in case.
Is this the same as the elderberry in the grocery store?
You can find elderberry syrup / tea / lozenges / etc in your local drugstore, and while those are probably effective, they are processed, likely minimizing and removing a lot of the nutrients and benefits of the AMAZING elderberry. Nothing beats homemade syrup, using organic elderberries and other wholesome ingredients. You might be able to find a neighbor or mama in your area who makes and sells this, but if you use this easy and simple recipe, you can save some money AND know what’s in it.
Does elderberry syrup really work?
I get this questions ALL. THE. TIME. Simple answer, YES!! It does!! If we’re in a sick season, and we run out of our daily dose, like clockwork, we’ll start feeling run down. Granted, my partner and I are in high stress / high contact jobs, but we definitely use this as part of our immune-boosting tricks to stay well … or at least get over a cold quickly.
If you want some additional proof beyond my personal scout’s honor, check out this study about influenza A & B, this one about shortening the length of the flu, this about the antioxidant properties and more about the antioxidant properties. At the very least, we know elderberry syrup is chocked full of great properties that help our bodies. Why not?
Where do you get your elderberries and ingredients?
You can get your elderberries, rose hips, echinacea and other herbs from a health food store in your area. Fair warning: elderberries are in high demand, and there’s a chance you’ll have to be added to a waitlist.
Personally, I use Amazon or Whole Foods delivery for just about everything …. so that’s where I get mine. These are the links to the exact dry products I use in our family’s elderberry syrup so you can click through, order from Amazon and get everything delivered to your doorstep:
Prime Now, partnered with Whole Foods, is an amazing option for the fresh ingredients, especially if you don’t feel well enough to leave your house or if your little ones are sick. InstaCart is another option for home grocery delivery and is amazing if offered in your area.
So let’s get to it! Here’s my easy-peasy, InstaPot (or other electric pressure cooker) recipe. I included a regular, non-IP version too, though using an Insta-Pot removes any “watching the pot boil” / time wasting.
EASY Instant Pot Elderberry Syrup
- 1 cup organic dried elderberries
- 7 cups distilled water
- 2 organic cinnamon sticks
- 2 inch piece fresh organic ginger (peeled)
- 2 Tbsp rosehips (optional – adds extra immune boosting properties with its high vitamin C content!)
- 2 Tbsp echinacea root (optional – adds extra immune boosting properties!)
- 4 cloves fresh garlic (peeled & crushed)
- zest of organic lemon or orange
- 3/4 cup raw, unfiltered honey (this will not be as effective if you do not get RAW honey! You can substitute this with coconut sugar if making for a baby under 12 months)
- Add all of the ingredients EXCEPT the honey and essential oils to the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
- Secure and lock the IP lid in place
- Close the pressure release valve
- Set to Manual for 20 minutes
- When done cooking, allow to naturally depressurize
- Strain and discard the elderberries and spices
- Once cooled, add honey and essential oils (optional) and stir until well blended
- Store in a glass jar in the fridge
I also add in a few drops of Thieves, Lemon, Ginger and Cinnamon Bark Essential Oils. I get all of my oils from Young Living and personally would only ever ingest those because I know the brand and trust the Seed to Seal process. If you add in essential oils, do so at the same time you add in honey.
You can double or triple this recipe to avoid having to remake it, especially if you’ve got a large crew to keep well. This elderberry syrup recipe will last up to 6 months if kept in a sealed glass jar! Make sure you don’t double dip or drink straight from jar.
Have you used Elderberry Syrup in your home? Let me know if you make this recipe in the comments below.