ElderBerry Syrup: Great for Colds, Flu, and Homemade Cough Syrup

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Elderberry Syrup Homemade Cough Syrup

This elderberry syrup is very effective in getting rid of cold and flu. It is simple to make and works great as a homemade cough syrup too!

Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu

Few things make me sadder than watching one of my little ones sick with the flu, coughing uncontrollably, and feeling like I can’t do anything to help. This was a familiar feeling several years ago, but then I discovered elderberry syrup! It’s a great natural cold and flu remedy and it helps get the coughing under control!

Meet Elder, a powerful healing plant, with a variety of uses.

Before I share my recipe for elderberry syrup and tell you about its usefulness as a cough suppressant and general immunity booster, I want to tell you a bit more about the elder plant.


Elder cleanses the body, so it is common to use it as a natural detoxifier. For this use, elderflowers are brewed into an elder tea to be taken a few times a day for a limited period of time.

These brewed flowers aid kidney function by relieving fluid retention and cleansing toxins. Elder stimulates the circulation, causing sweating, effectively cleansing the body. It quickly increases the activity of body systems and increases overall energy. One side-effect of this property is weight loss.


In addition to providing relief to the respiratory system and boosting immunity, the elder also promotes a feeling of well-being. Taken before bed, this elderberry syrup (and this elderflower tea), promote peaceful sleep and relaxes and soothes the nerves. Elder has also been known to relieve anxiety and lift depression.

Respiratory Aid

If you’ve ever taken a homemade cough syrup, it has no doubt contained elderberry as the main ingredient. Elder relaxes bronchial spasms, making them very useful for treating upper respiratory infections.

Further, fresh elderberries, combined with plantain, make an effective homemade cough syrup.

Cautions: Flowers are the mildest part of the plant and the safest for children. Leaves, roots, seeds, and berries of the raw plant contain cyanide-producing compounds and should not be consumed without cooking properly.

Elderberry & Plantain for Cold, Flu, and Cough

In addition to using some of my favorite essential oils when someone in our house has a cold, flu, or cough, I like to make this elderberry syrup.

As mentioned above, the elder is great for colds, coughs, and flu. And I like to use the berries and flowers to get the benefits of the different parts of the plant. I also add plantain leaf because it’s also well-known for treating coughs.

We’ve noticed that this elderberry syrup recipe soothes the throat, boosts immunity, and prevents excess coughing. When I use it, I notice the tickle in my throat is gone almost immediately.

Elderberry Syrup Homemade Cough Syrup

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

5 from 2 votes

This elderberry syrup is very effective in getting rid of cold and flu. It is simple to make and works great as a homemade cough syrup too!

Prep Time
5 minutes
Active Time
45 minutes
Steeping Time
2 hours
Total Time
2 hours 50 minutes
2 cups
Estimated Cost



  1. Begin making your elderberry syrup by placing water, plantain, elderflowers, and elderberries in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and let simmer for fifteen minutes.

  2. Place in the oven or cover and let steep for an additional two hours. Strain the infused water from the herbs and put your infusion back into the pan (go ahead and compost those herbs).
  3. Turn the stove on low and let it simmer uncovered, reducing by half.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool for a bit. Add the honey while it is still warm so that it dissolves nicely.
  5. Use and enjoy your homemade elderberry syrup!

Recipe Video


For Cold and Flu

Adults, use 1 tablespoon of elderberry syrup every 2-3 hours. For children under six, use 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours.

For Immunity

Take 1 teaspoon daily

Tips for Storage

Store your syrup in a labeled glass jar in the refrigerator. It keeps for about 5 months (the honey acts as a natural preservative).

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We Use This Elderberry Syrup All Fall and Winter

Our family takes elderberry syrup every day for immunity against cough, cold, and flu.

Here are more ways to build your immune systems & prepare your family for better health during cold and flu season:


About Nina Nelson

Nina is a writer, student midwife, and mama of four. She blogs regularly at Shalom Mama and loves helping others create wellness through simple living. Check out her website for more simple wellness tips.

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DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.


  1. Joshua Howard says

    Hi! I also like this syrup! The recipe is simple and it really works! Natural and healthy remedy what can be better?

  2. Lady Ike says

    I can’t recommend this recipe enough! I made it yesterday for the flu season, etc. It really works and I’ve been using this for a couple of years with great success. Thanks so much for all your helpful information and keep up the good work to keep us all healthy and happy!

  3. Susan says

    Hi! I am wondering if I can freeze or can this syrup. I am the only one who will take this.
    Thank you in advance

  4. Gasper Jack says

    how many varieties of elderberries do you have in your area, we have white, blue and red. Which are safe and dangerous?

  5. Heather says

    Is agave nectar or maple syrup in place of the honey a viable alternative? I am looking for a vegan option.

    I understand that some of the efficacy of the syrup may be compromised by substituting the honey, but hopefully not too much given that I believe the elderberries are the powerhouse in this brew. Please advise.

  6. Pamela says

    I am just wanting to try to make this for the first time. That being said, I don’t want to purchase a one pound bag of these ingredients which I see on Amazon, checking there after I discovered Mountain Rose Herbs is OUT OF STOCK on everything listed! Does anyone know how many ounces of elderberries is required for the 1/4 cup listed I would need to make this recipe? Thank you to anyone that can answer this for me!

  7. Rachel says

    I’m not sure where to get elderberry berries and flowers other than from mountain rose that you linked to. Thanks gor the link–i will probably use it, but id appreciate any suggestions on finding a more local supplier so I don’t have to pay shipping. I’m also wondering how the amounts you used translate to ounces so I know how much to order.

  8. Di Rogers says

    I am diabetic, so honey is not an option. I know honey is considered antiseptic, healing etc, would it work just as well without it? If it’s just for the “making it palatable” factor, how about using stevia?

  9. Amy says

    Ok. All I have are hard adonized pots and pans, which I believe is a form of aluminum. Should I try the double boiler technique to make this with a quart size glass jar, like when I made my salves, or would that not work?? I need to just find a stainless steel or glass sauce pan to use specifically for things like this.

  10. Diane says

    I have elder shrubs and I make elderberry tincture. I also have elder flower tincture (which I’ve not yet used). Elderberry has been proven to be effective against 10 different viruses; and I believe, they extrapolated the results to other cold/flu viruses. The way it works is that it prevents viruses from replicating. So, if you catch something, then start taking elderberry, you’ll get over it in 1/3 the time. It can also be used as a preventive.

  11. Amy says

    YEA!!! Something else to use some plantain in!! I’ve been planning to make some elderberry syrup anyway – have two tinctures going right now.

    Is there a certain type of pan I should or shouldn’t use when I’m boiling the herbs and water when I make this? I could swear that I’ve heard there’s a type you shouldn’t use, but I can’t remember. I’d love to find something at a thrift store to use specifically for herbs and such.

    I’d also like to know if this is something that could be canned or preserved somehow for longer storage in case I don’t use all of it at once or whatever.

    • Mari says

      NEVER us aluminium for herb brews…. or any sort of cooking for that matter. The tannins in many herbs and veges cause the aluminium to leach out. OK when I was growing up aluminium cookware was all the rage and is quite possibly why people my age have health issues now.
      I use good quality stainless steel or glass items for my brews. I don’t use plastic either for the same reasons plus they do not cope with heat.

  12. Mandi says

    I just made some elderberry syrup today for the first time. I love that I now have a new use for these berries. I think I found an elderberry bush in my neighborhood during my run today. I’m hoping my neighbors don’t mind sharing with me!

  13. Kara says

    I have a mild case of asthma where I do not have attacks, I just cough a lot and my lungs produce a horrid phlegm. I’ve tried so many medications (prescription and over-the-counter) that have not worked. Do you feel this would help at all with this issue? Thanks so much.

  14. Ginger says

    Hi! I love this! Do you know if you can use a canner to make batches but have it on hand? Or is it better to make fresh as needed? Just curious. Thanks!

  15. melissa l says

    Hi, I think this is a great recipe however I came looking for help for my 10 month old’s cough. I think it might be a good disclaimer to add that children under 1 year shouldn’t have honey 🙂

  16. Amber Nisley says

    Not directly related to the recipe, but I was wondering what kind of rope/twine you used with the little label. 🙂 It’s adorable!

  17. Tashima Byrne says

    I’ve been brought up on elderflower tea for tonsillitis and sore throats – it rocks! Still trying to find a supplier of the berries here in Japan, but will try the recipe once I can!