DIY (Recipe) Elderberry Cough Syrup

This cough syrup is super easy to make, tastes great and can be used for adults or children alike.

Elder also known as Black Elder or by its Latin name Sambucus nigra is from the Caprifoliacea family.

The flowers of this plant are used for feverish conditions especially where the lungs or whole respiratory tract are involved such as influenza. The are also used to make elderflower cordial or elderflower champagne. Purely medicinal of course.

Its berries are more useful for upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold or coughs. You can make this syrup and keep it for up to 3 months in the fridge or a cold cupboard.

Elderberries x 4 bunches
Water x enough to cover the berries
Honey or sugar x 1 tbsp
Glucomannan or Gelatine x 1gm (this is optional but will make the syrup thicker)

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and heat slowly. Do not boil or simmer but rather keep a constant low heat going. The water will evaporate while the heat and sugar will release the active ingredients in the berries: volatile oils, tannins, flavonoids and mucilage. Stir often and even press the berries to squish them (to encourage the release of the active ingredients). Once the liquid turns to syrup you can leave it to cool a little to check its thick enough for your liking. Strain the mix through a fine mesh or piece of muslin cloth into a sterilised jar. Label with the date.

Adults: Take 1 tsp 2-3 times per day (1 tsp TDS) at the onset of a cold or cough or to prevent colds at the beginning of winter.
Children: 1 tsp per day.

Nutritional info:
Sugar in its natural form such as honey or unrefined sugar is a real food that has health benefits. In this recipe it is a preservative as well as a solvent that extracts active ingredients. Elderberries are known to have a broad range of effects on the respiratory tract; being neither relaxing or stimulating expectorants they can be used where a cough is dry or wet and have a broader therapeutic effect. This syrup is also alcohol free which is useful for children or elderly or those avoiding alcohol entirely.

If you would rather buy a ready made product I recommend this one by Sambucol.

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About the author

Emma Wight-Boycott MSc is a natural health advocate with a passion for simplifying the science. Emma works with postnatal mums, weekend runners and those with digestive issues to rediscover their health mojo!

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