Easy Homemade Elderberry Syrup – low carb & AIP

This Easy Homemade Elderberry Syrup is a delicious way to boost your immune system and keep your family healthy, especially during the cold and flu seasons!

Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite tools for healthy living — Homemade Elderberry Syrup — and I’ve made it low-carb so even those on low carb diets can enjoy it.

When I was young, I got sick a lot.  And I do mean, a lot.

It was during that time that antibiotics were all the rage, and I was sadly the victim of that kind of thinking.

Every time I got sick, my mother would take me to the doctor and would ask for antibiotics. It set me up for a ton of health issues including candida, gut problems, adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disease, and set the stage for my son’s autism as well.

Everything is connected.  And when you mess with your gut, you mess with everything particularly since it is the core of your health.

Since I found out the horrible effect that antibiotics can have on gut health, in addition to learning how they can lead to antibiotic resistance, I have tried my best to keep my family healthy without leaning on antibiotics for things like ear infections, goopy eye, and the sort.

I also think it’s important to avoid over the counter meds as much as possible due to them having unwanted side effects.  For example, for years I took Benadryl for allergy issues, only now to find out that it is an anti-cholergenic drug that can lead to Alzheimer’s and brain shrinkage.

YIKES!

All the more reason to lean on healthy natural remedies whenever possible.

Brain Shrinkage and Alzheimer’s?

No thanks!

I have a whole post on DIY Cold and Flu Remedies which includes this fabulous recipe for Elderberry Jam, but I started making Elderberry Syrup this year when my youngest got a very bad virus, as in a terrible terrible sore throat, a fever, and was feeling completely out of it.

We thought he had strep since his throat was so sore and we even ended up going to Urgent Care due to some odd symptoms, but we were sent home with no special treatment recommendations.

So I went to work nursing my son back to health.

I gave him Echinacea Tea, a mixture of garlic, cayenne, and honey, and this fabulous Elderberry Syrup.

The Elderberry Syrup was his favorite part of the regimen. I think he would have eaten it all day if I had let him :).

He sat and watched Lone Ranger reruns all day long, and I actually sacked out and watched them with him.  I never really got sick, but my body sure was working overtime fighting the germs off. At one point I even slept through a bunch of the The Long Ranger’s shooting, “Hi Ho, Silver!”calling, and more.

Elderberry Health Benefits

Simply getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet is always a good thing, but when you are adding in produce that is dark colored, the benefits typically run deeper.  The dark color is an indication of more nutrition and more detox capabilities as the antioxidants in the foods scoop up all of the junk that is best removed from your body.

For centuries, elderberries were a standard folk remedy in Europe, North America, Western Asia and North Africa, so now their health benefits are being examined and studies.

Elderberries (Sambucus Nigra) are full of antioxidants which have many health benefits. They also have tannin, flavanoids (including quercetin, which is often used for helping mitigate allergy symptoms and anthocyanins), carotenoids, amino acids, vitamins, and more.

They have been shown to lower cholesterol (Source), and boost the immune system (Source), including giving relief of Influenza Symptoms (Source) and the duration of colds (Source)

Dried Elderberry Caution

Just so you know, when you buy Dried Elderberries for making your Homemade Elderberry Syrup, don’t go a snackin’ on them, MK?

Elderberries are not to be eaten raw as they are toxic in that form.

Actually it isn’t the berries themselves that are toxic — the seeds, stems, leaves, and roots of the plant are toxic, and of course, the berries have seeds in them.

I knew about this, but found out just how bad it could be.

Those parts of the plant contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside.  Eating a sufficient quantity of these cyanide-inducing glycosides can cause a toxic buildup of cyanide in the body and make you quite ill.  Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma.  Most people recover quickly, although hospitalization may be required. The fruit of the elderberry is a tiny berry, about 1/8 to ¼ inch in diameter, and about 50% of the berry is seed.  Cooking the berries destroys the glycosides present in the seeds, making the berries with their seeds safe to eat.  As such, the fruit of the Black Elderberry should always be cooked before consumption.  Interestingly, research indicates that exposing elderberry to heat actually concentrates the polyphenols and anthocyanin’s.

See, I had dried elderberries around for the purpose of making Homemade Elderberry Syrup and one day was craving berries.  I figured that the elderberries had most likely been dried at a high enough temperature so as not to be raw, and I sat and snacked on some.

And some more.

Bad idea.

I ended up awake almost all night with, let’s just say, serious digestive upset. Upset to the nth degree.

The moral of this story is that friends don’t let friends snack on dried elderberries.

Ever.

By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

Don’t Feel Like Making Your Own Elderberry Syrup?

This recipe is super simple, but if you really are in need of the syrup and don’t have time to make it, then you can buy quality Elderberry Syrup as well.

This brand has an organic version, but it isn’t low-carb.

Nature’s Way Organic Sambucus Elderberry Syrup, 4 Fluid Ounce

Nature's Way Elderberry Syrup

Following is the recipe for Homemade Elderberry Syrup that I used. I make mine low carb but the honey-sweetened version adds extra health benefits.

These are the jars pictured in the blog image.

This Easy Homemade Elderberry Syrup is a delicious way to boost your immune system and keep your family healthy, especially during the cold and flu seasons!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easy Homemade Elderberry Syrup - low carb & AIP
 
Author:
Recipe type: DIY Foods
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Low-Carb, Vegan, Paleo, AIP
Serves: approx. 1½ cups
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Easy Homemade Elderberry Syrup - low carb option. Just what you need to boost your immune system to stay healthy and keep germs away!
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine the berries and spices (if using) and water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil.
  3. Simmer for 30 min to an hour until the water is reduced by about a half.
  4. Mash the berries in the water, or blend in a blender.
  5. Strain through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag (optional).
  6. Add sweetener. Heat, if needed, to combine. (heat gently if using honey to not destroy the enzymes.)
  7. Store in a jar or bottle in the refrigerator.

That’s it.

Super simple.

Keep this on hand all year round to help keep your immune system healthy, and use extra when fighting off “a bug”.

Have you had Elderberry Syrup before?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

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  1. What is the dosage for the Elderberry Syrup?

    • That really depends on the age and size of the person but since it’s a food there is leeway in that. I can’t medically advise – but I have seen all kinds of recommendations from 1/2 tsp for a child to 2 T for an adult up to several times per day. Of course you could use it as a pancake syrup too or on ice cream and so, like I said, it’s like a food as well. I’m using some right now as I’m under the weather. I’m using about 2 T every 3-4 hours I assume.

  2. I first used elderberry syrup last year. I was in the middle of a respiratory crash which lasted from September 2015 to February 2016. I did not find out about elderberry syrup until about midway through, which was about the same time I was introduced to andrographis, (which I take all year long since I have a life=long history of severe bronchial issues). I coughed for the last time in February 2016, and I have not had another bout with a bronchial issue since, which is truly remarkable. I have had almost every antibiotic, steroid, inhalant, breathing treatment you can name in my 60+ years of life. For most of my life, I would have at least 2 or 3 major episodes a year where I would have an antibiotic, steroid and breathing treatments. I have gone almost a whole year without even had the slightest cough or other bronchial issues! Can we say WOO-HOO!

  3. Do the elderberries have to be dried? I picked up a bag of frozen ones to make the syrup & all the recipes I’ve seen called for dried. Thanks..

    • No, they do not but you have to adjust the recipe – typically I consider use 1/4 the amount of dried produce in the place of fresh. Maybe 1/3. Somewhere in there.

  4. I like your recipe with cinnamon & ginger. Will have to try it. Thanks for the heads up on raw elderberries. I had no idea!

    I’ve been using Nature’s Answer Sambucus with great results. There are no added sugars of any kind. I dilute the dose with a bit of water. You could add a little stevia to it if you want, but I don’t think it really needs it.
    https://www.amazon.com/Natures-Answer-Alcohol-Free-Sambucus-Extract/dp/B0007CSCIS/ref=sr_1_7_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1479614795&sr=8-7&keywords=natures%2Banswer%2Bsambucus&th=1

  5. Thanks for the recipe Adrienne! I’ve used the syrup for my family for several years and swear by it. One of my sons calls it my “voo doo magic” and when he feels an illness coming on he’ll start taking it and it will usually resolve within 24-36 hours. Depending on how early he started it after realizing he was getting sick, because the sooner you start the faster it resolves! It’s a little expensive to buy, so I can’t wait to start making my own!

    • You are so welcome! I had some of the tablets years ago but didn’t really do any research into how helpful it was, but I really think it helped my son. We didn’t strain out the berries but it wasn’t that big of a deal. I hope you like it!

  6. What an interesting and personable post. I’ve learned something about elderberries too so this is not a ‘wasted’ day. (I like to try and learn one thing every day:-).
    I’m old enough to be very suspicious of the latest ‘fads’. I have a relative who has gone berserk on the no-gluten fad. I asked her what she was doing to replace the gluten in her diet – blank stare. She asked me what I meant but I also know better than to give people ‘free & easy’ information, so I told her to look it up herself. Now she’s on a much more sensible & balanced diet.
    I remember when mother’s were being crucified for sending their kids to school with a peanut butter and jam sandwich. Turns out it was the best snack they could have used (and please don’t tell me there are limitations and exceptions – of course there are!)
    Don’t drink milk or eat butter or eggs.. I refused to join that craze too. I figured the most healthy people I knew at that time were farmers – and guess what they ate. I was tested for allergies and was told to give up milk. I refused – I drink whole milk and love it, and am healthier than most people half my age. I believe that if I had given up milk my allergy to it would have increased.

    I also avoided the popularity of antibiotic products and can’t believe that this stuff is still selling in spite of all the warnings about the danger it puts us in.

    I have a great nephew with autism and can partially appreciate what you are going through with your son. He is 10 now and still climbs up on my lap and gives me huge hugs when he sees me. I just love having him around. Seeing things through his eyes is a wonderful experience – the honesty is astounding. One thing I don’t do is spoil him. I think that is an unfortunate side effect for many parents since they are trying to protect their beautiful children who have special needs. Letting an autistic kid have his own way all the time does nothing to help him grow. I try my best to explain why he must follow certain rules of mine and he seems to accept this well. Much of this is for his own safety of course. I try to make games and experiences to help him learn why the rules are here, like crawling under my car with him to teach him how massive and heavy it is so that he will learn to be aware of how much a car can hurt him when he is on the road.

    Thanks again for the valuable information on elderberries and other foods. I guess the seeds ares similar to apple seeds. I used to chew those until I found out that they can kill you!

    Everything in moderation – especially moderation itself.

    • Hi Michael – thanks for commenting (and reading!).

      I overall agree w/ you about moderation. Of course, depending on what that moderation is, if you have enough things in moderation you could get sick.

      I suspect, from my experience (ugh) that the elderberry seeds are worse than apple seed, but it could be the proportional amount of the elderberry seeds to the elderberries.

      Hope to see you around again!

      • Hi Adrienne:

        Wow – fast reply. At one time I thought that was an original quote from
        myself but later discovered that others had come up with the same
        qualification on the original “Everything in moderation”. Can you imagine
        living life like that ! LOL I would go bananas. I guess it’s a bit like
        listening to someone who speaks in a monotone. I had a prof that talked in
        a monotone for her whole lecture in uni and I had to quit the course! I
        absolutely LOVE life (the alternative being a little less appealing), I
        love finding different things to do and different people to meet. I love
        challenging the lack of logic in so many of the fables, advice & old wive’s
        tales (OWT) that I hear so often. I also enjoy finding the reasons behind
        some of the OWT that prove them to be valid.

        As for apple seeds. My son (who is much smarter than I) tells me that the
        seeds contain a chemical that produces cyanide in our digestive tract. You
        can get a fatal dose by eating only 20 apples! that’s about 200 seeds.
        Makes me wonder why unhappy spouses bother with rat poison LOL

        Best wishes,

        • 20 is a lot, but doable, I guess. As for the elderberries I think I read that about 50% of the elderberry is seeds. In any case, just pretty casual munching on the dried berries was pretty bad. I was afraid of needing to go to the ER. 🙁