This is simple to make (as you will see in step-by-step photos below) and exceptionally frugal, costing less than $2 per 4 oz. bottle vs. $10-$18 at the store. If you want to save even more, omit the cherry juice and you’ll have a flu-busting tonic for less than a buck.
When I say elderberries are “anti-flu” I’m not referring to a vague immune-boosting action.
Clinical studies show that Elderberry:
- binds to and inhibits H1N1 infection, in vitro. (source)
- suppresses the replication of the human flu virus, in vitro. (source)
- inhibits viral replication in mice while simultaneously stimulating flu antibodies, in vivo. (source)
We’ve been enjoying a spoonful or two every day as the winter season approaches. I made extra, since this homemade tonic also makes a pretty and purposeful gift.
Where to find the ingredients and bottles.
- I get my elderberries from Vitacost.
- Tart cherry juice can be found at many grocery stores in the organic juice section.
- I like these 4-oz. amber bottles (only .78 each).
Here’s how I made it:
Elderberry-Tart Cherry Syrup
Makes about 16-20 ounces (4-5 four-oz. bottles)
1/2 cups dried elderberries
3 cups water
2 cups 100% tart cherry juice
honey to taste (optional, I use about 1/4 cup)
1. Combine dried elderberries and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. (It will reduce to about 1 3/4 cups liquid or so).
2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, simmer cherry juice for 30 minutes. (It will reduce to 1/2 cup or so).
3. Strain elderberry liquid, mashing elderberries (I used this masher, then the bottom of a bowl to push the liquid out of them.) Combine with cherry juice reduction in a tempered pitcher.
4. Add honey as desired. Keep refrigerated.
IMPORTANT NOTES: Honey should never be given to children under two. Make sure to check with your doctor or health care professional before taking any new supplements.