Make your own elderberry extract at home for these 3 common illnesses
08/01/2019 // Stephanie Diaz // Views

Elderberries are the tiny, dark purple fruits of the elderberry shrub. They are some of the most widely used medicinal plants in the world, and their extracts are known to cure various ailments.

Elderberries contain high amounts of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins. These powerful antioxidants protect the cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. Anthocyanins are also known to have anti-viral properties that can prevent and reduce the symptoms of infections like the common cold. Traditionally, elderberries are used for pain relief and to treat ailments like constipation.

Elderberries can treat the common cold

Elderberries are effective treatments for the common cold. In a 2016 study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers investigated the effects of elderberry extract on 312 airline passengers travelling from Australia to an overseas destination. The researchers found that taking elderberry extracts 10 days prior and four days after their flight reduced the duration of the common cold by 50 percent. They also found that the elderberry extract helps decrease the severity of common cold symptoms. (Related: Research shows elderberries to be beneficial in treating infections and cancer.)

Elderberries help relieve pain

The active anti-inflammatory ingredients in elderberries can ease the pain caused by inflammation. While studies about the analgesic effects of elderberries are limited, many studies have shown that the fruit's anthocyanins reduce inflammation. These antioxidants inhibit the production of a signaling molecule called nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide triggers inflammation in response to an injury or disease. Inhibiting the activity of nitrous oxide can lead to reduced swelling and pain relief.


Elderberries prevent constipation

Many people believe that drinking elderberry tea can relieve constipation. Its laxative effect is attributed to a compound called anthraquinone. Anthraquinone prevents the intestines from absorbing too much water from stools. Consequently, there is increased intestinal pressure in the gut, which stimulates bowel movement.

How to make elderberry extract

Elderberry syrup and extract are easy to make. Below are the instructions on how to prepare them.

Elderberry syrup


  • 5 ounces dried elderberries
  • 2 quarts distilled water
  • 1 ½ cup honey


  1. In a saucepan, combine elderberries and water.
  2. Soak elderberries for 30 to 60 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Using medium heat, gradually bring the mixture into a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Stir continuously.
  5. Remove from heat and cool.
  6. Strain to remove seeds.
  7. Transfer extract into another saucepan, then add honey.
  8. Over medium heat, bring the mixture into a boil and cook for 10 to 30 minutes, or until thick.
  9. Allow the mixture to cool then transfer into bottles.

If you are down with the common cold, you can take one tablespoon of elderberry syrup four times a day.

Elderberry extract


  • 4 ounces dried elderberries
  • 1 quart vodka or brandy


  1. In a jar, combine elderberries and vodka or brandy.
  2. Shake the jar every day for one week and check if elderberries are covered with alcohol. If not, add more alcohol as needed.
  3. Let it stand for six to eight weeks.
  4. Strain and remove the elderberries.
  5. Transfer the liquid into a bottle.
  6. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.

It should be noted that elderberry extract IS an extract and will not taste like juice. To make it more palatable, it has to be added to tea, seltzer, or water. Taking 20 drops (10 drops for children) of this extract every day can help prevent the flu or common cold.

If you want to know more about the medicinal properties of elderberries, visit

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