The word is out.  Elderberry Syrup can help protect you this flu season.

This flu season is severe, and far from over.  While health officials urge us to get the flu shot, wash our hands, and stay home if we have a fever, there is another remedy you can add to your medicine cabinet:  Elderberry Syrup.  It is one if the most powerful allies we have against cold and flu viruses. 

If I had to choose only one herb to take at the onset of illness, it would be elderberry.

Elderberry syrup has been used for generations, and the latest research supports its use for the cold and flu.  One of the ways scientists believe elderberry fights viruses is by stopping the virus from replicating.   Studies have shown that compounds in elderberry can coat the exterior of a virus, rendering it non-functional and unable to penetrate our body’s cells.  This stops viral replication and shortens the course of the illness.  Elderberry is also high in antioxidants and other chemicals that help our immune system fight an illness.

Clinical studies have shown that when taken at the onset of flu symptoms, elderberry syrup decreased the average length of illness by 4 days and decreased the severity of reported symptoms (1).

The key to using elderberry syrup successful to stop a cold or flu in its tracks is “early and often”.  Herbalists will often recommend taking 1 teaspoon of elderberry syrup every waking hour for several days.  Most of the clinic studies used 1 tablespoon of elderberry syrup 4 times per day.

Elderberry syrup, tincture, tea, dried berries and extract capsules is safe for adults and children, but do not eat raw elderberries due to cyanide compounds that could be lethal if consumed in significant quantities.

As this flu season progresses, it’s getting harder to find Elderberry Syrup.  Our local Whole Foods is completely sold out – syrup, tincture, and capsules!  I am thrilled that more people are discovering this herbal remedy… but what can you do if you need some right now?

Make your own!  It’s simple, delicious, and much less expensive than buying off the shelf.  


Click here to view and download my top two favorite Elderberry Syrup recipes.  One version is a “no-cook” method that involves soaking the elderberries overnight, and the other recipe is a traditional stove-top cooking method.

Purchasing dried elderberries this season has been hard (the herbal suppliers I usually buy from are sold out as well!), but a quick search on Amazon for “dried organic elderberries” will provide the latest list of suppliers to purchase from.  My favorite suppliers are:  Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herb Store, Pacifica Botanicals, and Frontier Coop.

Once you have made your own, you won’t wan to purchase the store bought version again!  Each recipe makes 8 ounces, but you can easily increase the recipe to cover your whole family for the entire cold and flu season.  The syrup lasts for 1 year.

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