Make your own elderberry tincture and cough syrup to fight the flu

Elderberries, the fruit of the flowering plant known as Sambucus, is often called elder or elderflower. The full scientific name of the most common variant, which is the major source of elderberries, is Sambucus nigra.

Elderberries have many health benefits, and they can improve respiratory health and boost immunity. Both elderberry tincture and elderberry syrup help decrease “the viral load of the influenza virus.” Many believe that elderberry and star anise prevents the replication of the virus. (h/t to

How to make elderberry cough syrup and tincture

Influenza is often treated with Tamiflu, an antiviral medication. Star anise is the active ingredient in Tamiflu, which is also an ingredient in elderberry cough syrup.

However, herbal remedies are a more affordable alternative to Tamiflu, and they don’t require a doctor’s prescription. (Related: Elderberry is an Effective Treatment for Colds and Flu.)

Elderberry cough syrup ingredients:

½ cup elderberries
12 star anise pods
4 cinnamon sticks
8 cloves
2 cup water
1 cup honey

  1. Combine the water, elderberries, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Let the mixture simmer for 45 minutes, then strain out the plant material.
  3. Once the liquid cools down, add honey. Stir well.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a glass jar and refrigerate.

Dosage: For adults, one tablespoon must be taken every hour until the coughing subsides. For children, use at least half to one teaspoon every two to three hours as needed if they have a cough.

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You can also include licorice root and ginger in the cough syrup. Licorice root can boost the immune system while ginger can ease the pain caused by coughing and it can help ease nausea.

Elderberry tincture doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and it has a long shelf life. But do take note that the recipe includes alcohol. If you are allergic to alcohol or if you want an alternative, make the cough syrup mixture instead.

Elderberry tincture ingredients:

1 cup elderberries
100 proof vodka

  1. Put the elderberries in a quart jar then fill the jar with vodka. Shake the jar every day for two weeks.
  2. After two weeks, strain the plant material from the mixture.

Dosage: Include one tablespoon of the tincture in some tea. You can also add some honey and lemon juice. You must stay hydrated if you have the flu, so drink a lot of water and other clear fluids. Try to drink a cup of tea every hour.

Elderberry fast facts

Here are some interesting facts about elderberries:

  • Elderberries can be found in the Northern hemisphere, especially in Europe and North America. However, some southern species are grown in Australia.
  • Elderberries are black or very dark blue. They have a “sharp, sweet flavor,” and they are often used in desserts, syrups, jams, jellies, spreads. Elderberries are also used as the base for various cocktails and beverages.
  • Most of the berries in the genus Sambucus are toxic, and they must be cooked before consumption.
  • The branches, leaves, and twigs of all species of elderberries contain trace elements of cyanide. Cyanide builds up in the body, and it can eventually kill you.
  • Despite the risks posed by elderberries, they remain a crucial part of traditional medicine because they are full of beneficial nutrients.
  • Elderberries contain nutrients and minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.
  • The fruit also contains vitamins A, B, and C, as well as proteins and dietary fiber.
  • Elderberries contain organic compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

You can read more articles about the benefits of elderberries and other natural cures at

Sources include:

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