Elderberry Medicine!


European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a time-honored folk remedy for good health. Elderberries have traditionally been made into wine, brandy and cordials.  Folks made their elderberry medicine in the late summer and sipped it throughout the winter. Recently, science has discovered that elderberries protect the cell wall against viral attack. That means they can help to protect your body against any virus, including H1N1.

A species of Elderberry, sambucus mexicana, is native to California.  I planted an elderberry tree in my yard four years ago.  This year my tree is giving me pound and pounds of elderberries, plus many to share.

I am grateful because elderberry is one of my go-to medicines for cold and flu prevention and treatment.  I make a big batch of Elderberry Cordial each year for myself and to sell.  I love that the tree growing in my yard is providing medicine for so many people this season.

To learn more about making herbal remedies like Elderberry Cordial to stock your home medicine chest, check out our class page.  Herbal medicine making is taught in Herbal Allies, Cecemmana and the Curandera’s Toolkit.

Also, check out Ancestral Apothecary’s online store to buy your own Elderberry Cordial and other unique herbal remedies.


Elderberry brandy

Ingredients:  elderberries (fresh or dried), brandy

  •  Folk method:  fill a jar full of elderberries and cover with your favorite brandy.  Since this is a folk method, exact measurements are not important.
  •  Sit for one month.  Can strain and add honey.


Elderberry Cordial

Ingredients:  elderberries, honey, brandy, water.

Optional ingredients:  wild cherry bark, cinnamon, ginger, rose hips, osha, aralia, mullein

  • Start with about ½ cup herbs to 2 cups water.
  • Decoct elderberries and other seeds & barks 20 minutes to 2 hrs.  Turn off heat, add flowers and leaves & steep for at least 20 minutes more.  Make into strong tea.
  • Strain and measure liquid.
  • Add ½ cup honey per 2 cups liquid
  • Add 1 part brandy to 1 part tea decoction


Elderberry Syrup Recipe from Mountain Rose Botanicals

Ingredients:  elderberries, honey, other herbs (see below)

  • 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried organic Elderberries (harvest blue or black, avoid poisonous reds)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup raw local honey
  • 1 organic Cinnamon stick, 3 organic Cloves, and organic Ginger (optional)

Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow liquid to cool and stir in honey. Will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.

WARNING: Only harvest and eat the blue or black elderberries. The red elderberries are toxic! Make sure you identify them correctly before harvesting. It is easy to tell once they are ripe because the color is obvious.

One Comment on “Elderberry Medicine!

  1. Pingback: Oils and Herbs for Transition – jessicabaker,lac

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: