Make Your Own Immune-Boosting Elderberry Tonic


I regularly suggest Elderberry syrup for a cold or flu, a remedy that is especially useful for those young ones who resist any pills or nasty-tasting tinctures. Elderberries are now widely studied for their antiviral properties and ability to boost our immune system. 

Astragalus root

Astragalus root

Elderberry syrup can be quite expensive, so I recently embarked on an Elderberry foraging mission after a dear friend picked some of these tiny berries herself. Whereas most studies have been conducted on the Sambuca nigra berry, some herbalists such as Matthew Wood consider the local S. canadensis to be comparable. Click here to find some tips on foraging.

Astragalus has been added for its deep immune activation with a good amount of ginger for warmth and to soothe nausea or an upset stomach. Cinnamon and cloves for taste as well as its action against viruses and bacteria. And finally, some antibacterial honey to sweeten the syrup and sooth a sore throat.

Elderberry Immune-Boosting Tonic

Ingredients for my elderberry syrup

Ingredients for my elderberry syrup

  • 2 cups Elderberries

  • 2 cups water

  • Thumb of ginger

  • 4 sticks astragalus

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 5 buds of cloves

  • 3⁄4 cup honey

  1. For ease, combine water and ginger peeled ginger in a blender (ginger can also be grated by hand).

  2. In a pot, bring to a boil all ingredients except honey.

  3. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

  4. Strain out the solids and squeeze any remaining liquid from the berries.

  5. Add honey.

  6. Allow to cool and store in fridge.

Elderberry syrup

Elderberry syrup

I take 1⁄2 Tbsp on days I worry about getting sick and 1 Tbsp every few hours up to five times a day for 1-2 days when I have the cold or flu. Children require less, about 1⁄2-1 tsp a day depending on the case. Keep the syrup refrigerated and use within about 2-3 months.


Wishing everyone all a healthy happy autumn!





Please note: All material and information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and does not mean to replace or augment any advice or consultation provided by a licensed health care practitioner or physician.



Godfrey, A, & Saunders, P (2010). Principles & Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine Volume 1. Toronto, Ontario: CCNM Press.

Wood, Mathew (2008). The Earthwise Herbal. Berkley, California: North Atlantic Books.