Every year around this time, Annmarie and the kids play around in the kitchen and make elderberry syrup for the whole family. It helps to keep their immune systems strong through the fall and winter months.
This year she wanted to revamp the old recipe and give it some extra herbal love. Annmarie and Aubrey, ASC’s herbalist, came together to add a couple new herbs to boost the healing power of the syrup and turned the stove-top recipe into a crock pot method that keeps the herbs at a steady temperature.
We wrangled Ann and the kids for an afternoon to make a video and take photos of the process. Hudson and Basil had a wonderful time making this syrup, and they’re great little helpers in the kitchen, even if they do like to make little cameos during our herbal photo shoots:
Our Elderberry Syrup Ingredients
Elderberries have been used for over 2000 years as a base to make a syrup to take internally for all sorts of colds, flus, and coughs because it tastes good along with being high in antioxidants.
Used internally, ginger has a rich healing history both fresh and dry. Dry ginger was traditionally used for stomach aches while fresh ginger, like we’re using, is great for respiratory issues.
Cinnamon is traditionally used internally by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners for warming the body by moving the blood. The idea that our blood feeds our bodies is ancient so to “move the blood” when someone is sick is a way that traditional healers help to clear out illness. Cinnamon is also thought of as a synergist both in flavor and to bring all of the ingredients together to work in harmony.
Mullein is used internally by herbalists for all things lung-related. Working with a plant based on its appearance is called the “doctrine of signatures” and this is one of the plants that gave herbalists the idea that it could be used for the lungs based on its shape—the leaves are really large and lung-shaped. This plant is great for coughs, especially hard and dry, because it helps to soften internal mucosa and to loosen and expel phlegm.
Yarrow is another herb that’s been used for centuries and is considered a panacea by healers all over the world. It has a lot of amazing benefits for the body but we’re using it internally in our syrup because it’s gentle enough to be a tonic and strong enough to stimulate blood flow, kill off bad bacterias, and increase secretions throughout the digestive system.
Nettle is a well-known vitamin and mineral-rich plant boasting constituents like calcium, iron, silica, and vitamin C, K, B, and E. It has been used internally by herbalists for ‘building blood’ which basically means that it’s so jam-packed with the things our bodies need that our blood fills out and can feed our bodies better.
Raw honey is a natural throat soother, perfect for a dry, winter cough. Use raw honey internally to get the most benefits. Wait a year before giving honey to your young ones!
Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup Recipe
- 1 cup dried elderberries
- 1/2 cup dried nettles
- 10 cloves
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2.5 tbsp yarrow
- 2 tbsp mullein
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cups water
- ⅓ cup raw honey or to taste
- Put all the ingredients except honey into crock pot covered on high, let sit for a few hours
- Turn to low and let sit overnight
- Add honey to taste. (add honey while the syrup is warm)
- Pour into airtight glass containers.
The whole family enjoys this syrup, Hudson and Basil are particularly in love, we had the pry the spoons from their little hands (literally.)
Do you have an elderberry syrup recipe you love? Let us know in the comments below.
Aub is a certified clinical herbalist and content strategist/creator. She is the co-founder of Dandelion Branding, a digital marketing company that works with brands that are focused on revolutionizing their industries. When she's not working on a project, you can usually find her nosing about in the forest or giving congratulatory high fives to every plant in her house for growing.