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Homemade Elderberry Tonic

hippie kitchen immunity Dec 07, 2021

Elderberry is one of the most powerful plants I keep in my medicinal “chest”, especially during the winter season.

Check this out, a new study, “has shown that the common elderberry has a potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus. It inhibits the early stages of infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells.” (Source)

Australian scientists discovered how elderberry compounds inhibit the flu virus’s replication and entry into our cells, at the same time it strengthens the body’s immune response to the virus!

Elderberry, known as Sambucus, is a kind of flowering plant that contains antioxidants that can help relieve colds, fight the flu, and help balance the immune system. You can find many options at your local health-focused grocer OR you can make your own!

Some of the benefits of taking elderberry are: 

  • Immune Support
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Shortens cold & flu 
  • Reduces cold & flu symptoms
  • Great for skin health! 

Check out this article by Dr. Axe to learn more about the benefits! 

This recipe by Jamie Boscardin, is one that my Mother and I use monthly during the cold and flu season.

I’ve made some comments below on some of the modifications and recommendations, but overall, following this simple recipe will yield a fantastic syrup to support you and your family during the sick season.

Elderberry Syrup – Instant Pot
by: Jamie Boscardin


6 cups filtered water
1 ½ cup dried elderberries (These are the ones I source)
3 tablespoons organic whole cloves
3 organic cinnamon sticks (or 2 if you have the extra-large ones)
2” piece organic fresh ginger peeled and roughly chopped
1 organic lemon quartered
1 (organic) small or ½ large orange quartered
3 – 4 organic mint sprigs
1 cup – 1 ½ cup raw unfiltered, preferably local honey (optional, but great for picky kids).


  1. Pour water into Instant Pot (IP) insert, add all other ingredients EXCEPT honey. Set IP to manual for 8 minutes. 
  2. When done, carefully do a quick release, open the pot, and set to sauté mode. Let reduce for 5 – 10 minutes. The syrup doesn’t really thicken, I usually cook down until it measures about 5 cups on the IP insert knowing that it will yield about 4 cups of syrup.
  3. Turn off IP and carefully strain the hot syrup through a wire mesh sieve into a glass or stainless steel bowl, using a wooden spoon or spatula to press the mixture to strain out all of the syrupy goodness.
  4. Let cool (do not put in the refrigerator) until it is a bit warmer than room temperature, about 40 minutes. At this point whisk in the honey until completely dissolved. Note: adding the honey while the mixture is still hot will break down the beneficial properties of the honey.

  5. Pour finished mixture into a glass container and store in the refrigerator. Yields approximately 4 cups. 

Stays good for about 2-3 weeks.

Recipe Notes: lemon, orange, and mint are all optional so omit any/all to fit your taste. I think they enhance the flavor and of course, they all have their own medicinal properties.

Ginger and cloves have bold flavors but don’t skimp on them, there’s tons of healing power in that stuff.

While raw honey has lots of health benefits, it’s still a sugar and we try to limit our intake so I only use 1 cup, however, if you have little ones or others who are picky you can use 1 ½ cup.

Quality of ingredients is important, use organic whenever possible.

Dosing recommendations: Please note that I am NOT a health care professional, so do your own research on dosing instructions and possible drug interactions before consuming.

This is how we (all adults) use it: 2 tbsp 1 – 3x daily.

Once-daily during cold/flu season to boost immunity and 2 – 3 times daily when knowingly exposed to or feeling the onset of cold/flu.

Although this may seem like a bit of work, trust me it’s worth it!

Make it in batches and/or make it with a friend! Split the costs and share the work. Boom.

If you are looking for more ways to increase your health, support your immune system, increase overall well-being, and vitality, check out my new 14 Day Gut Healing Cleanse!

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Do you use Elderberry? Have you made your own syrup? Please share!

In love and health, 

Becky Wells
NTP, Clean Living Educator & Advocate 


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