Boost your immune system naturally! Homemade slow cooker elderberry syrup is easy and delicious! You only need 4 ingredients!
Homemade Elderberry Syrup
I have a few friends that swear by elderberry syrup for boosting immunity during cold and flu season. One fellow blogger grows and dries her own elderberries too!
Of course I had to see what all the fuss was about! A year ago, we moved onto a small homestead and we’ve been taking steps towards growing/making our own foods and self-sufficiency. It’s been a lot of fun, but definitely a learning experience!
However, this recipe was a total WIN!
This is an easy recipe that takes just a few minutes at all to toss together in a crockpot. Then just set it and forget it! Your whole house will smell fantastic while it cooks!
When it’s all done, you’ve got a super-food, antioxidant rich, immunity boosting homemade elderberry syrup that smells and tastes amazing!
Related: How Dirt Builds Kids’ Immune Systems
What is Elderberry Syrup Good For?
I know some natural living bloggers who swear by elderberry syrup for keeping their family healthy. You may also notice elderberry as an ingredient to many over the counter cold and flu remedies.
That’s because elderberries contain Vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which have been used for centuries to build immunity and potentially lessen the chances of getting sick. Specifically, antioxidants are powerful molecules that are shown to prevent cell damage, and may boost immunity.
Does Elderberry Actually Work?
There are a few studies that suggest taking elderberry syrup regularly may reduce the length of time a cold or flu lasts, as well as lessen the symptoms.
There is even research to show that it could “support heart health, improve antioxidant status and have a variety of anti-cancer, anti-diabetes and anti-inflammatory effects.”
Notably, a 2004 study in The Journal of Internal Medicine Research “reported that people who sipped 15 mL of elderberry syrup four times daily for five days shortened the duration of their illness by four days compared to those who took a placebo syrup.”
That definitely sounds promising!
One thing to keep in mind is that this study and others have been limited in scope. So far, most evidence about the effectiveness of elderberry is anecdotal.
The verdict: it could work, but more research is needed to provide a definitive conclusion.
The way I look at it, we should do anything we can to boost our immune system and natural methods are always a plus!
Make sure you talk to your health care provider before trying elderberry syrup, as there are certain conditions and medications where this wouldn’t be recommended. For example, expectant moms are usually advised not to take it.
How Much Elderberry Should I Take?
There’s no standard dose and the strength of your syrup may vary from others. Generally, commercial manufacturers recommend that adults take 1TB of syrup, 4 times daily, as soon as you notice cold or flu symptoms.
If you’re looking to boost immunity or use elderberry juice syrup in a preventative manner, a teaspoon a day might be a good starting point.
Elderberry Syrup Ingredients
For your convenience in re-creating this recipe, I’ve included shop-able ad links to some of the products we used. Disclosure policy available here.
- Dried elderberries — Stick with organic if possible!
- Water — We use filtered water, but that’s not a necessity.
- Fresh ginger — Sliced thinly
- Ground cinnamon
- Honey — Keep in mind that since this recipe includes honey, it should not be given to infants age 1 and under.
Kitchen Tools Used
How to Make Elderberry Syrup in the Slow Cooker
First, peel the ginger and cut into thin slices. If I had to guess, I’d say ours were about 1/8th of an inch thick.
Add all of your ingredients to the slow cooker — except for the honey. Give a quick stir, then cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
When the syrup is done cooking, turn off the heat and allow to cool. If you want to speed up the process, pour into a large mixing bowl.
When the syrup is cool, or just barely warm, add the honey and stir well.
You want the liquid to be cooled so that it doesn’t damage the enzymes and healing properties of the honey.
Finally, pour the syrup through a mesh strainer to remove all of the berries and ginger pieces. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to squeeze out as much juice as possible from the berries before discarding.
To save time, strain directly into your mason jar.
How to Store
Homemade elderberry syrup should be kept refrigerated; it can stay good for 2-3 weeks. We keep ours in a mason jar, but any liquid storage container should work.
If you’re into canning (I’m starting to learn the process and love it!) then this is perfect for storing the syrup for a long time. Canned elderberry syrup should last up to a year unopened, if kept in a cool dark place.
Are there any side effects?
While the syrup is an immune booster, some parts of the elderberry plant or trees are not meant to be ingested.
It’s important to know that the unripe berries, bark, and seeds can cause stomach upset and other unpleasant side effects if eaten.
Cooking the berries, like we do to make our syrup, is a must to make them safe.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is a home remedy and I am not a medical professional. I’m just a mom who loves finding natural ways to keep my family as healthy as possible! If you have any questions, be sure to check with your doctor first!
Slow Cooker Elderberry Syrup Recipe (Printable Copy)
Slow Cooker Elderberry Syrup Recipe
- Slow cooker
- 1/2 cup dried elderberries
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 4 slices fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon optional
- 1/4 cup honey
- Peel and slice the fresh ginger, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Add dried elderberries, water, ginger, and cinnamon to slow cooker.
- Cook on LOW for 8 hours.
- When done cooking, pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
- When liquid is cool, stir in the honey until dissolved. Pour through a mesh strainer into a mason jar. Use the back of a large spoon to squeeze out any remaining juice from the berries.
- Seal and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
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