One of my granny’s best-kept family secrets revealed. With the flu and cold season just around the corner, I asked my granny for her wonderful homemade cough syrup. She’s been brewing it for ages to cure a cold or the flu, a cough, or soothe a sore throat. Her elderberry tree has always been a sacred tree in her garden. And of course like all grannies, being kind and helpful, she gave me the recipe to share with all of you.

So again, thanks granny!

After she had given me the recipe that’s been in the family for ages, I did some research to find out more about the ingredients she, and her mother before her used to make the syrup.

  • Elderberry
    Elderberries are excellent to fight influenza and other respiratory viruses. Jam-packed with antioxidants and other phytonutrients it strengthens your immune system and knocks out flu symptoms right from the start.
  • Echinacea
    Just as the elderberries, Echinacea is very useful to cure flu and colds and strengthens the immune system. It is effective to soothe a sore throat, sinusitis and helps to fight most respiratory infection.
  • Ginger root
    Ginger is well known to fight sickness and has been used for ages as a remedy for nausea. It has anti-inflammatory properties and works as an expectorant as well.
  • Cinnamon
    Great to improve the taste of your cough syrup and gives your immune system a boost.
  • Clove
    Relieves upper respiratory infections and makes it easier to cough up phlegm and does wonders for a sore throat.
  • Honey
    Used in so many home remedies… known for its powerful effect to soothe a cough. Honey has antiviral and antibacterial properties and works as a natural preservative. So no need to use brandy or any other alcohol to preserve your syrup! And therefore safe to use for your kids as well!


Elderberry-Echinacea Homemade Cough Syrup


Nanny was right to put all these ingredients in her cough syrup. After reading this, why would you ever opt for store-bought cough syrups again? Cheap, no exotic chemicals added, not a bad taste at all and easy to make.


  • 1 cup fresh black elderberries (or ½ cup dried elderberries)
  • 3 ½ cups filtered water (tap water contains bacteria bits, metals, and other stuff you don’t want to end up in your syrup)
  • 2 tbsps. dried Echinacea
  • 2 tbsps. fresh ginger root (or 1tbsp dried)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey

How To…

  • Add all ingredients in a saucepan, but leave out the honey.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat. When boiling reduce the heat.
  • Simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. (until the liquid is about half as much)
  • Stir occasionally and smash the elderberries with the back of your spoon the release all the good stuff.
  • Remove from the heat and cool down for a few minutes. Enough to be handled or be very careful when straining.
  • Strain the mixture into a jar or bowl. Use a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth for this. Discard the elderberries.
  • Cool further down, but make sure the mixture is still warm enough to dissolve the honey. It needs to be cooled down at last 10 to 15 minutes after you took the pot from the heat to not harm the delicate healthful properties of the honey.
  • Add the honey and stir until well combined.
  • Pour into an airtight mason jar or glass bottle.
  • Make sure to sterilize every jar or bottle you use (Just add the jar for 10 minutes to boiling water, and it should be good)
  • Store in the fridge for up to 2 months.
  • Use:
    – Kids: ½ tsp each 2-3 hours
    – Adults: ½  to 1 tbsp each 2-3 hours


Update: click here to learn how to make your own cough drops using my granny elderberry-Echinacea recipe. Great to take along when you have to leave the house.

 Note: Although the remedy is safe for young and old, certain people with autoimmune problems should go easy on the Echinacea or check with a doctor first. Elderberries work well on their own, so if doubting, you could just leave the Echinacea out of the recipe.

Easy, cheap and doesn’t taste that bad as the store bought cough syrups on the market. No alcohol added to preserve the syrup, so safe to use for your children as well.

And now that I have my granny’s recipe, definitely going to brew this wonderful homemade cough syrup and be ready when the flu or cold hits our family!


How do you treat colds and flu? Do you have another homemade cough syrup that worked well in the past? Please share them with us in the comment box and let us all be ready to fight the flu or cold naturally!



Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!



Amy Goodrich

Amy Goodrich


Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.

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