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Elderberries: The Natural Cold and Flu Fighter

Janis Covey

Elderberries are your immune system’s best friend!  They contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system a lean, mean disease fighting machine. 


Elderberries are rich in both vitamins A and C which are vital to the immune system’s function. Vitamin C is required for phagocytes and t-cells to preform their disease-fighting tasks. Vitamin A is an immune enhancer that increases the power of the antibody response. It also maintains and restores the integrity and function of all mucosal surfaces including the digestive tract. 

Elderberries also contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins which are a subgroup of bioflavanoids.  Anthocyanidins are are known to have immunostimulant effects. 

Elderberry Syrup:  A daily dose can assist you in keeping your immune system healthy and help prevent illness. 

2/3 cup dried black elderberries (about 3 ounces)
3 1/2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cup raw honey (local is best since it can also help with seasonal allergies).  If you would like to keep the recipe vegan or are going to be giving to children under 2 you can substitute Maple Syrup.


  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. 
  3. Remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled.  Pour through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into a bowl.  Then wring out the elderberries wrapped in the cheesecloth. 
  4. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey or sweetener of your choice and stir well.
  5. When well mixed, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  6. The finished syrup will last refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. 


  1. Prevention: 

Adults: 1 tsp one to two times a day

Children: 1/2 tsp once a day

  1. Treament:

Adults: 3 tsp up to 4 times a day 

Children: About half of the adult dose (always check with Pediatrician before starting a new treatment)


Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections

Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial