Elderberry Syrup is one of the most popular herbal remedies - and rightly so! With immune boosting properties, rich in vitamins and antioxidants, a good elderberry syrup can protect us from contracting a virus or bacterial infection, can shorten the duration of the flu when we are sick, and has soothing and nourishing properties that fortify our body, move congestion and improve circulation. And while Elderberry syrup is readily available in many countries all over the world - in pharmacies, grocery stores, apothecaries and home kitchens - it is also easy to make, very safe and a lot of fun for the whole family!
Christy had a lot of fun making her first Elderberry syrup and we are excited to share this recipe with you as well as additional wisdom about the ingredients you will find in our syrup. Many of the plants are ones you are already familiar with, and maybe did not realize were so medicinal. Use them in this recipe and use them for tea to support your health every day.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
This is a folk remedy - which means you can play around with the recipe and you really can’t go wrong! It is easy and forgiving. You can dip a spoon in as you work and add more honey. You can add more ingredients too, like orange zest or lemon, sage leaf or rosemary, elderflower or hibiscus.. Have fun!
¾ cup dried elderberries or 2 cups fresh elderberries
6 cups water
2 cup raw honey
¼ cup fresh ginger root (or more if for grownups)
1 Vanilla pod (optional)
½ cup Astragalus
3 - 5 sticks of Cinnamon
Add your ginger and water to a blender and blend until ginger comes to a pulp. This eliminates the chopping step and makes the ginger more potent in your syrup.
1. Begin by clearing your space of clutter and interruptions. Create a clean space for yourself to create with the plants and your intuition.
2. Burn some blessing herbs like Sage, put on some music. Wash your hands.
3. Connect with your heart and your intention. Medicine Making is a magickal act of alchemizing the healing powers of the plants with your intentions and prayers. The elderberry syrup that you make will be more than the sum of its parts. So enjoy the process, smell the plants, talk to them, infuse your songs or intentions, ask them to lend their medicine to your syrup.
4. Add all of the herbs into a pot of water.
5. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for an hour or so. Keep a lid on your pot and stir it occasionally as the water reduces and a strong decoction of the herbs is made.
6. Let it cool down before straining so you can handle the herbs with your hands if need be.
7. Strain the herbs out and press them in a cheesecloth to get all of their juicy medicine. If your astragalus and cinnamon are large enough and easy to pick, you can pick them out along with the cloves and blend the rest of the herbs (elderberries, ginger and optional vanilla) into the liquid.
8. Add the raw honey when the strong brew is slightly warm, the honey will melt in easily without allowing high heat to destroy its properties.
9. Optional: squeeze some lemon in or add an orange rind.
10. Bottle into jars. Label your medicine with the date and ingredients and any magickal intentions or inspired name you want to call your syrup.
11. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
12. Feel free to take 1- 3 T daily with some days off here and there as a preventative measure during the cold season.
13. If you are sick, take 2 T four times a day.
14. You can add it to hot tea or drink as is. *Only use fresh elderberries if you are confident in your ability to correctly ID the plant and in your skills as an ethical wildcrafter. Fresh elderberries need to be boiled or dried before they can be taken internally in large quantities, such as in a syrup.
This is safe, nourishing plant medicine for you and your family. Children should take about a third of an adult dose. Babies under two are advised not to consume honey. Enjoy and listen to your body.
Christy is wearing the Bianca Dress in Rose Wildflower
The Healing Ingredients
Elderberry: antiviral, immune boosting, antioxidant rich, Vitamin C rich, anti inflammatory. Protective and magickal plant.
Ginger: expectorant (gets us to cough mucous out of the lungs), anti inflammatory, antioxidant rich, relieves nausea, pain relieving properties, strengthening to the heart and circulatory system , aids in digestion, has antibacterial & anti viral properties. Warming, moves stagnation in the body, opens breath and heart.
Astragalus: lung tonic (strengthens the lungs), adaptogen (makes our body and nervous system more resistant to stress), ancient cold and flu remedy, anti- aging, antioxidant, anti inflammatory, heart health, relaxing to the nervous system. Grounding, peaceful, deeply restorative with wise energy.
Cinnamon: antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, increases circulation, supports heart health, stabilizes blood sugar, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, aids digestion. Moves energy, uplifts spirit, delightful and full of sensation and stimulation.
Clove: antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, increases circulation, antioxidant. Powerfully cleansing, moving of stagnation, warming and aromatic.
Vanilla optional ingredient: afrodesiac, heart opener, nervine, antioxidant, heart health, digestive aid, immensely comforting and delicious.
Raw honey: antiviral, soothing to tissue, antibacterial, sweet bee magick medicine.
The Magickal Lore of Elder
Elderberries come from large shrubs that grow in wild mountains, creeks and forests all over the United States and in other continents around the world. There are several varieties of Elder, many of them medicinal, and they are deeply connected to various healing traditions and cultures. For the Druids, Elder was considered a magickal tree - the gateway to the fairy realm. A plant of protection, Elder has been regarded as sacred both for spiritual as well as medicinal uses. The branches of Elder were used for musical clapping sticks by the Chumash and native Californian Indians, and the flowers and berries for medicine and food. The straight suckers of Elder are my favorite for making broom sticks. Even Harry Potter’s wand is said to be made of this magickal wood. Both the white delicate honey scented fariy flowers as well as the dark berries are medicinal and can be used for cordials, tea, elderflower wine and much more. Chances are there are Elder trees around you. See if you can find one and rest in its shade. Sing your Elder friend a song or leave a gift, thanking this elder of the plant world for its beauty, medicine and magick.
*Elderberry syrup is generally safe to take as a preventative medicine. Because elderberry stimulates the immune system, if you have an auto-immune disorder, elderberry may not be appropriate for you. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Contributing Writer Marysia Miernowska
Marysia Miernowsk is an author, herbalist, garden designer and teacher of herbalism and regenerative land practices at The Gaia School of Healing and in California. She is the herbalist behind Wild Love Apothecary, Ritual Beauty, and author of “The Witch’s Herbal Apothecary: Rituals & Recipes for a Year of Earth Magick and Sacred Medicine Making”. Marysia teaches and speaks at conferences internationally on herbal medicine, plant shamanism, regenerative farming practices, and Earth Magick. She is delighted to support Christy Dawn’s mission of honoring Mother Earth, through writings, recipes, videos and more. You can find Marysia on instagram @Marysia_Miernowska @wildloveapothecary @rituelbeauty and online Gaiaschoolofhealing.com