Elderberry Elixir

Materia Medica, Recipes, Therapeutics and Nutrition Add comments

Everyone, or nearly so, in our small village has a terrible hacking, icky cold. All of us here at the Sanctuary have been a bit run down and short on sleep so it was no surprise when Loba woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat, low grade fever, muscle aches and copious phlegm and other face fluids…. She was miserable and overtired and begging for something to make it go away. First, I assigned her to extra sleep, instructed her to pour Fire Cider on everything she ate and drink lots of Ginger tea to enhance the body’s own virus fighting techniques of fever and sweating. She also ate easy to digest foods in small amounts in order to not further tax her system. AND, I dosed her up good with Elderberry Elixir, not that I don’t love Elderberry syrup, but I have found time after time that Elderberry is MUCH more effective when not heated in any way… my two favorite ways of preparing are the Elixir (see recipe below) and a honey paste with whole dried berries ground into raw local honey. I also had everyone else in the household start sucking down Elderberry Elixir.

And sure enough, after a good solid nap, and six or so doses of Elderberry she started to feel much much better. By the time she went to bed last night, she mostly just had some bodyaches and extra face fluid. By this morning, she just felt a bit run down and tired with just a little extra phlegm. I expect she’ll be all better by tomorrow morning. I want to point out that the average run time of this particular virus on other people in the village is at least a week, often with bronchial complications. And, none of the rest of us caught it. I started to feel a little bit off with a sore throat yesterday morning, but by the afternoon, I was fine.

To top it all off, Elderberry does not simply stimulate the immune system, which would make it somewhat dangerous to those with autoimmune disorders or certain other chronic diseases. Rather it modulates the immune system to more appropriately respond to environs and circumstance. It also disarms the virus and helps it flush through body quicker, while strengthening the mucus membranes, supporting the body’s natural fever mechanism without overheating, improves energy and stress handling AND last but certainly not least, it tastes great too.

I have tons of the Elderberry stories, I like this most recent one especially though because she was already sick, most of the time we just prevent the virus and never see many symptoms of it. Here, Loba was clearly manifesting signs of the same virus that was running around town.

If I had a snake bite, you bet I’d reach for the Echinacea. But for viral afflictions and general immune support, there’s no better herbal ally than the bounteous and lovely Elder!

As an aside, I don’t think that averting a virus is always the best course of action, sometimes we just need to get sick so we can spend a day in bed. Even so, I think Elderberry is a wonderful supportive therapy. Listen to your body and act accordingly.

Elderberry Elixir

For your elixir, it’s helpful to have on hand:
▪ A pint canning jar (or other glass jar that seals well)
▪ Fresh elderberries (dried can be used as well, simply use about a third of the amount, or about 2.5 oz to follow the 1:5 proportion method for dried plants).
▪ About a pint of high quality brandy (the better the brandy, the better your elixir will taste), depending on whether you’re using fresh or dried berries.
▪ Appr. 1/3 pint of raw honey (or to taste, as you prefer)
▪ A good stirring spoon

Step by Step Instructions
• First, fill your jar all the way to the top with fresh elderberries.
• Now, pour the honey in slowly, stirring as necessary, until the berries are well coated.
• Next, fill jar with brandy, stirring as you go, until all air bubbles are released.
• Now cover the jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake carefully to finish the mixing process.
• Let macerate in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks (or as long as you can stand to wait.
• Strain, reserving liquid. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Take 1/4 – 1/2 dropperfull of Elixir every two to three hours at the first sign of illness. You MUST take the Elixir frequently rather than having a bigger dose further apart, it just won’t work that way. Use the same dosage if you are actively ill. For a general preventative dose, I suggest 1/3 dropperfull every four hours or so.

Be sure to rest extra as well, the Elderberry has a much harder time with your immune system if you’re really worn down. A little extra sleep will increase its benefits tenfold.

Posted by Kiva Rose at 10:38 pm
73 Responses to “Elderberry Elixir”

Donna says:
December 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm
I made this wonderful elixir over a year ago. How do I know when it is no longer fit for consumption? It has a much more potent alcohol taste than a year ago, but seems to be every bit as effective as last year. One jar seems to be more brown than purple. Should I make it fresh each year? Thanks.


Kiva Rose says:
December 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm
You should be able to tell by the taste, if it starts tasting at all off (as in fermented in a bad way) then it’s probably not good, but otherwise it should be effective for several years… I usually run out every year though, so I make more pretty frequently.


Babs McColl says:
January 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm
I have been reading your website and have taken down details of the elderberry elixir, thank you so much Kiva…I did not know anything about elderberrys until I was saying a prayer one day for a solution to my lung problem and elderberrys popped into my mind!
I was diagnosed with Allergic Intrinsic Alveolitus in 2008 and the specialist said it was the feathers from my cockateil bird I had for 27 years. I used to kiss him and did not realise I was giving myself a disease! Sadly he died a long while ago…but my lungs have got steadily worse and I have been really breathless for the past 3 months or so. I take hyssop tincture which does help with the mucus, but the breathlessness is still there. On xray it shows all the bits of white inflammation on my lungs. I have a steroid inhaler and ordinary one, (which I have refused to take up until the past week as I have osteoporosis and steroid take the minerals out of your bones) I actually literally watched my own mum crumble away as she was on permanent steroids…and the doctors wonder why I will not take them?? I am a therapist myself and into all the alternative remedies and your site has given me new hope. I got the hyssop from a lady whom I trust, I also eat very healthy and take lots of vits/minerals. Hope I haven’t written too much?


Kristin says:
June 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm
Kiva. I hve made this 2 years running and missed last year. I felt uch a difference. Elderberries are lready coming on in my area. Thank you so much for this tecipe. It is one of the best medicines i provide my family. And yes my toddler loves it and asks for it every day. I think she has developed a taste for alcohol as she loves rescue remedy as well. But lo. Hopefully she associates it with medicine and in very small doses.


Angel says:
October 24, 2013 at 10:37 am
Dear Kiva Rose,

First of all, what a gem of a website! A treasure chest full of recipes and information about all things good that God’s provided for us to keep us happy and healthy… Super!

Just a quick question for you, and I hope I’m not repeating a question that has already been asked! Just too many comments to read through. 🙂 Anyway, you mention dosages in units of ‘dropper fulls’. Please may I ask how much a ‘dropper full’ holds?

Thank you once again for a fab website!

Kindest Regards,
Angel in Gloucester, UK


Kiva Rose says:
October 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm
Hi Angel, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the site. By dropperful I mean appr. 1 ml.


Donna says:
March 23, 2014 at 1:17 am
Hi Kiva, if I use the dried berries do I blitz them first into a powder? Also I was a little concern about using alcohol as it’s for my children 5 year old & 7 yr old. Could I replace the alcohol with pear juice, or would it not be as effective?
Lol Dee 🙂


Kiva Rose says:
March 23, 2014 at 8:48 am
No, you should NOT make them into a powder. Some people have a strong response to the ground seeds and will become very nauseous or vomit from ingesting them.

And no, you definitely cannot replace the alcohol with pear juice, it would just ferment and rot. Please understand that the amount of alcohol being ingested by a child for a dose of this is far less than what naturally occurs in something like an overripe banana…. but if you’re very concerned about the alcohol for some reason, make a syrup instead.