Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are a fantastic home remedy for colds and flu and are backed by both science and traditional use.
They’re often turned into a sweet and tasty syrup, like my homemade elderberry syrup made with honey, but can also be preserved and dosed in other ways, including this elderberry tincture.
I chose to add a handful of herbs to my elderberry tincture to give it an added antiviral boost, but they’re completely optional.
Antiviral herbs you may want to add to include:
- bee balm (Monarda sp.) flowers
- lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaves
- thyme (Thymus sp.) leaves & flowers
- sage (Salvia officinalis) leaves
- echinacea (echinacea purpurea) leaves & flowers
- hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
Ingredients needed for tincture:
- dried or fully ripe fresh black elderberries, without stems
- 80 proof or higher alcohol (such as vodka, 120 proof is better)
- canning jar
- herbs, optional (see list above)
Organic dried elderberries can be purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Directions to make elderberry tincture:
- Fill the jar about 1/4 of the way, if using dried elderberries, or 1/2 of the way if using fresh berries.
- Add a few pinches of antiviral herbs, if you’d like.
- Add vodka to the jar until it’s almost filled to the top.
- Use a chopstick or knife to gently stir and release any air bubbles; add more vodka if needed.
- Cover with a lid, label, and tuck in a dark cabinet for 4 to 6 weeks, or longer.
- Strain and pour the elderberry infused liquid into glass jars or bottles.
Shelf life is at least one year, or longer.
This varies depending on the size of the person, but a good starting point for an adult is 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (1.25 to 2.5 ml) elderberry tincture, taken several times per day.
For my family, I mix a few drops into a spoonful of honey to make it pleasant to take. You could also add it to a hot tea, to help the alcohol evaporate, or try dropping a small amount into ginger ale.
If you’re pregnant, nursing, on medication, or have any health concerns or questions, please consult a qualified health care provider before using herbal home remedies such as this one.
If you enjoyed learning how to make elderberry tincture, let’s keep in touch!
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