Elderberry Juniper Syrup for the Masses

I have dozens of this kind of experience: I was about to start catching a cold, took this syrup and wow, now I am not getting sick.

It is that time of year again.

The elderberries are ripe. Blue/black berries so heavy they pull the branches down lower so you can reach them, if you can get to them before the birds…

When the Earth is giving it up with such an abundance of harvest, time to honor it with making medicine.

So today, I’d like to share a recipe for a VERY big batch of elderberry syrup!

I don’t have as much of the fresh berries to make this batch, so this recipe uses dried elderberries.

I’ve been making this recipe for a long time and here is my experience. If you wait until you already have the cold or flu, sure it will help you mop up quicker.

HOWEVER! This is the syrup that if I take 5 tablespoons a day the day that I feel the VERY first symptoms of a cold or sore throat coming on… well, it never comes.

I have dozens of this kind of experience: I was about to start catching a cold, took this syrup and wow, now I am not getting sick.

Even now, it sometimes amazes me, if I feel that first sign of fatigue that is not normal, or the first tickle in my throat, and I JUMP ON IT with this syrup… it doesn’t progress. At this point, with all my students and their kids, I have heard this story hundreds of times now…

Paying attention to the subtle ques that your body gives you when it starts to not feel well. That is an art and one worth developing, because that is the place where herbs can really support you. I am really hammering this message hard around my house right now with my son, who seems to want to ignore every signal his body is giving him.

I seriously sound like a broken record, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…” Can someone please put a nice melody to these words??

You can halve or quarter this recipe, but maybe you want to make a big batch for friends or for gifts. I love having extra to give away.

Ready to make a big batch of syrup?

Elderberries are known for their ability to keep a virus from spreading, juniper berries are incredibly anti-microbial and help keep the lymph and circulation moving. Just chewing on a few juniper berries can help prevent a cold. Echinacea adds its immune support, ginger is a great delivery herb for this formula, and we put in a little yerba santa for the added lung support. If you can’t get the yerba santa, don’t worry about it, it is optional.

Pour it all into a BIG pot

Simmer it on low

Once the liquid has simmered down to ½ the original volume, strain the herbs from the liquid

Pour it into clean jars, stir in honey first

Take it when you FIRST think you need it!

Elderberry Juniper Syrup for the Masses


  • 4 gallons water

  • 2 cups dried elderberries

  • 1 cup dried echinacea root

  • 1 cup dried juniper berries

  • 2 tbsp dried yerba santa (optional)

  • 1/4 cup fresh grated ginger

  • 4 quarts honey

  • 1 quart brandy


  1. Put all herbs and water into a pot with out a lid on

  2. Bring everything to a boil then turn the stove down to the lowest setting and simmer on low

  3. Keep the lid off the pot the entire time and let simmer on low heat until liquid is ½ the original volume

  4. If you are using a stainless-steel pot, you can kind of eyeball things when the liquid gets to be one half of what you started with. There will be a ring of herb material residue round the inside of the pot that shows where the liquid was when you began. Develop an eye for this, or it can be a hassle to keep pouring things into a measuring cup to see when you finally get to ½ of your original liquid volume

  5. Once you have simmered the liquid down to on half the original volume, strain out all the herbs. You started with 4 gallons of water, so you will be simmering it down to 2 gallonsof liquid

  6. Add in honey

  7. Let cool

  8. Add in brandy

  9. Shake and mix everything together well

  10. Pour into storage jars

  11. Shelf life: Store in refrigerator and the shelf life is 2-3 months

  12. If you don’t use the brandy, the shelf life will be much less, more like 3 weeks. It does not preserve as well without the brandy, always smell your syrup before taking it and keep it in the refrigerator

Article and Receipe Written By: Kami McBride; kamimcbride.com