How to Treat Colds With Elderberry

Three Methods:Making Elderberry SyrupDrinking Elderberry TeaTaking Safety Precautions

Elderberry is a highly effective herbal remedy for colds and flu. It has been used in medicines for a long time and contains bioflavonoids that significantly boost the immune system. You can ingest elderberry in many forms such as syrup, tea, pills, and lozenges. You can make these concoctions yourself or purchase them from a store. Make sure your doctor knows that you are using elderberry.

Method 1
Making Elderberry Syrup

  1. Image titled Treat Colds With Elderberry Step 1
    Gather your ingredients. You will need 1 cup fresh or ½ cup dried Elderberries and 3 cups of water. To improve the taste, you can add 1 cup of honey, 1 cinnamon stick, and 3 cloves. You can harvest the elderberries yourself or purchase them online from a health food store.[1]
    • If you are harvesting the berries yourself, only use blue or black berries. The red berries are poisonous.
    • You can find Elderberries in moist areas by rivers, roads, and in forests.
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    Place the ingredients in a sauce pan. Put the berries, spices, and water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to low heat. Let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes.[2]
    • Remove the saucepan from the heat and use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to smash the berries.
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    Strain the mixture. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a small bowl. Press as much liquid as you can from the berries using the back of your spoon. Allow the liquid to cool for a few minutes and then add 1 cup of honey to the juice. Store the syrup in a container with a lid.
    • Keep the syrup in the refrigerator. It will last for 2 or 3 months.[3]
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    Buy elderberry syrup. If you do not want to make your own syrup, you can buy the syrup. Elderberry syrup is called Sambucol. Sambucol is typically contains 38% elderberry extract for adults and 19% extract for children. [4]
    • If you buy the syrup, the amount of elderberry extract is standardized. When you make your own syrup, you will not know how strong the syrup is. Standardized extracts may be more effective.
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    Take syrup daily. If you have the cold or a flu, take 4 tablespoons of syrup a day for 3 days. This could shorten the length of your cold by 3 days. You can also use the syrup on pancakes and waffles when you do not have a cold. This may help prevent colds.[5][6]
    • Children should only take 2 tablespoons of syrup every day for 3 days.[7]
    • Start taking the syrup as soon as you have symptoms. Treatment may be more effective if you start when you first get sick.

Method 2
Drinking Elderberry Tea

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    Make your own tea. Place 3-5 grams of dried elderberry flowers in one cup of boiling water. Allow the flowers to steep in the water for 10-15 minutes. Pour the mixture over a strainer to remove the flowers from the mixture.[8]
    • You can sweeten the tea with honey or add some spices such as cinnamon and cloves if you like.
    • If you do not have any dried elderberry, you can use 2 tablespoons of syrup to make the tea.[9]
    • If you do not want to make your own tea, you can purchase elderberry tea bags that you can steep in water.
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    Drink the tea 3 times a day. If you are sick, drink the tea 3 times a day. Start drinking the tea as soon as your symptoms start. Again, the strength of homemade tea is unknown, but it should be just as effective as the syrup. [10]
    • Your symptoms should go away faster.
    • Avoid drinking the tea for more than 5 days.
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    Purchase elderberry pills or lozenges. If you do not want to drink a syrup or tea, you can take elderberry pills or lozenges. Read the package instructions before taking them. The pills and lozenges work best if you take them as soon as your symptoms start.[11]
    • Lozenges that contain 175mg of elderberry extract can help reduce flu symptoms.[12]
    • The amount of elderberry extract will vary depending on the brand that you buy. Read the package to see how much elderberry extract your pills and lozenges actually contain.

Method 3
Taking Safety Precautions

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    Avoid adverse drug interactions. Elderberry can interact with certain prescription medications. Always talk to your doctor before you begin using elderberry. Avoid elderberry if you are taking any of the following types of medications:[13]
    • High blood pressure medications
    • Chemotherapy drugs
    • Diabetes medications
    • Diuretics
    • Theophylline
  2. Image titled Treat Colds With Elderberry Step 10
    Avoid raw elderberry. Uncooked elderberries can cause cyanide poisoning, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and nausea. Do not drink any elderberry juice that was made from crushed stems, leaves, or uncooked berries. You should be fine as long as you boil or cook the elderberry before using. [14]
    • If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical care and stop taking the elderberry.
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    Do not use if you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor before taking elderberry. There is not much information about the effects of using elderberry when you are pregnant or lactating. It is unclear whether it is safe or harmful. Because of tis, it is recommended that you not take elderberry.[15]

Things You'll Need

  • cinnamon stick
  • elderberries
  • water
  • whole cloves
  • small bowl
  • saucepan
  • stove
  • honey
  • container with lid
  • potato masher
  • spoon
  • mesh strainer

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Colds and Viruses