How to Make Elderberry Tea (Powerful Natural Remedy)

Immune Boosting Herbal Tea Recipe

It is no secret that I’m a fan of elderberries. I shared how I use elderberry syrup to help our family avoid the flu for the last several years, but I can’t begin to really express how grateful I am for this natural remedy.

Imagine for a moment five small children… all getting the flu… at the same time…

That is yet to happen in our house and I think elderberries are one of the reasons why. I even make elderberry gummies that are a favorite with the “under 5” crowd at our house…

Elderberries for Grownups

Nothing against elderberry gummies, but I prefer my gelatin in my coffee and my elderberries in my tea. I do still take elderberry syrup, especially if I feel like I’m starting to get a cold, but this soothing tea is my favorite for everyday use in cooler months.

You can make this delicious tea in only a few minutes and adjust the flavors to your taste.  It has a naturally sweet flavor on its own from the elderberries, but a small amount of raw honey can be added for flavor if needed.

I like adding herbs like cinnamon and turmeric for flavor and added benefits, but these aren’t necessary either if they aren’t your thing. If you don’t like the flavor of elderberry alone, you can make this with an herbal tea bag like peppermint or chamomile to mellow out the flavor.

Where to get Elderberries

You can wildcraft  elderberries (pick your own) if you have a trusted source. If you aren’t an experienced and trained wild-crafter or herbalist, I’d highly recommend hiring one to teach you how to find and properly store the berries because they can be harmful if not harvested correctly. The berries themselves are safe but they must be properly dried and separated from the leaves and stems (these parts of the plant can cause digestive problems).

Elderberries are safest to use after they have been properly dried and there are other plants that resemble elderberries that are not safe. If you want to harvest your own- go for it, but make sure you have someone qualified to teach you how!

Most of the time, I order organic dried elderberries in bulk (or on Amazon here) since they are much less expensive this way. I store them in our deep freeze between uses and they last for years this way. They last years this way and I stock up when they are available.

Super-Simple Elderberry Tea Recipe:

4.9 from 8 reviews
Immune-Boosting Elderberry Tea
 
Prep time
Cook time
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This delicious immune-boosting homemade elderberry tea is made with dried elderberries, herbs and spices.
Author:
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 2
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. First, put the water and elderberries into a small saucepan.
  2. Add turmeric and cinnamon.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. This helps bring out the beneficial properties of the elderberries.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. Finally, strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour into individual mugs.
  6. Stir in raw honey (if using).
  7. If you prefer to drink this cool, pour into a mason jar and allow to cool, then refrigerate until cold.

 How do you use elderberries?

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Reader Comments

  1. I love elderberries! My family prefers tea over syrup and I love your addition of turmeric. I will definitely give that a try next time I make elderberry tea.

  2. Can you get elderberry tea or do you have to make it yourself? It sounds good, but straining it kind of sounds like a hassle.

    • I don’t strain it!! The berries rest at the bottom of the saucepan anyways so I just pour it straight into the mugs afree I let it cool for about 5 minutes!! But you can totally get tea bags too!

    • I’m sure you’ve found it by now, but buddha tea has a great good quality elderberry tea.

    • I found some tea at Whole foods in San rafael. Also, you can order online

  3. Are elderberries like in this tea or as in elderberry syrup safe during pregnancy?

  4. What do you think about elderberry for someone with an autoimmune disease (thyroid)? I’ve read that people with autoimmune diseases can be aggravated by elderberry, or there is something in them that can trigger a negative response in those individuals? Thanks for any additional info you can provide!

    • I read (on webMD mind you) that by strengthening the immune system it may also strengthen the disease.
      I would do more research if I were in such a position; given the disease is more than a common allergy.

  5. Just ordered dried elderberries!

    Can you get more goodness out by squishing/squeezing the berries in say a nutmilk bag? Or is it all released by boiling and straining?

  6. Hi Wellness Mama,
    I love all of your research and recipes! What do you and your kids do to avoid stomach viruses?

    Thanks!

  7. Is this something only to drink when I feel something coming on or can I drink it any time to boost immunity?

  8. Can the elderberries used to make the syrup be re-used for baking?

    • Hi, I dried my strained elderberries first. Probably didn’t need to. Mixed them with blueberries in a muffin mix. Great flavor. I believe I baked at 350 for 20 minutes but double check with Katie for safety recommendations. Good luck

    • I as well would like yo know if the pulp from squeezing the berries can be used for other culinary receipts? I made 21 quarts of concertrated Elderbery juice. There was a heavy pulp in the bottom of the jar. This is probably normal however; my question is when do I know if I successfully cooked the juice without causing digestive problems?
      I used seven jars and all was well. I opened the eight jar and it had a medicine smell yo it. It was bitter and the next morning my son and myself were on the toilet for half the day. We had to urinate twice as often and had bad diarrhea. Do you think I blended yo many stems in the juicing part? Let me know.

  9. Hi Wellness Mama-
    So I’m just going to ask- are you going to come out with some herbs/remedies to avoid/treat Ebola?

  10. I usual combine 2or3 herbal together most expecial mint leaves tea and camomile herbal tea. I will give this one with cinnamun a trier. Thk u always.

  11. I made my first elder berry/echinacea syrup the other night. Tastes yummy! Can’t wait to make some tea!

    • Just FYI, (I just found this out myself), that echinacea must be given a ‘breather’ after taking for 7 days, or it will loose all the effectiveness you have just gotten from taking it! So, after taking anything echinacea for 7 days, stop for at least 5 days before taking again.

      I was going to make elderberry/echinacea syrup, but now will leave the echinacea out just for this reason, since I plan to take the syrup daily during the fall and winter.

      • But the echinacea won’t harm you, will it? I want to keep taking the syrup for the elderberries, plus I’ve been using it as a sweetener/added flavor in my tea. Thanks for the FYI.

  12. Hi Katie,
    I have Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Chemotherapy 4 years ago left me “immuno-comprimised, NOT “auto immune”. I have been following the strict AIP Paleo diet and I needed to know if adding “immune boosting” foods to my diet would hurt or help me?
    My B Cells, (in other words, my immune system), take bad instruction from my damaged DNA and attack my skin. So my question is: Will boosting my immune system prompt more skin attacks or help my immune system heal??? I am confused and at a loss.
    I realize you are not a medical professional, and I don’t mean to burden you, but if you could shed some light, it would be more than helpful?!
    Thanks so much!

    • I avoided immune boosting foods in my early recovery for this reason and I’d definitely check with a doc, but it might not be the best for your system at this point.

      • Thanks so much Katie for your honesty, it helped a lot. I will check with my oncologist today. 🙂

        • My daughter has an auto immune disease, though I know yours is not, I always hesitate to give her immune boosting anything. I always look for anti inflammatory. I followed this elderberry recipe but substituted frozen blueberries for the elderberries. I didn’t strain the blueberries but blended all the ingredients. She is a college student and says when she drinks this blueberry blend she feels better. Just a thought. It also lasts in the frig. We have also turned to essential oils. I get them from Mountain Rose Herbs, Young Living and Native American Nutritionals as each company offers different mixes for certain ailments. I have picked up a lymph detox from Native Americans. The reviews are very interesting. Again just spreading some options.

  13. How long can you store the final made syrup in the fridge? Can you freeze it? I bought some dried elderberries a month ago and have them stored in a tight container in the cabinet, how much longer will they last? Thanks 🙂

  14. I buy organic elderberry tea and at first sign of a scratchy throat in one family member, we all drink it. If taken early enough, it can stop the progession of a cold and prevent its spread. I’ve seen this firsthand in my house for two years since I’ve been using it. Thank you, Katie, for your newsletter.

  15. I bought a bag last year and since then its been in and out of the freezer. How can I tell if its still ok to use?
    Thanks!

  16. Can you use elderberry powder for this recipe OR in just a regular tincture? I’m having trouble finding info online on how to use elderberry POWDER. 🙂

    Thanks!

  17. Katie, Sorry to bother with a question, but if/ when you have time is it ok for me to drink this at 15 weeks pregnant. We’ve already been sick several times this fall with week long illnesses and this sounds like it would be really helpful.
    Thank you!

    • I’d ask a doc or midwife since there is some controversy about it during pregnancy. Hope you guys recover quickly and avoid any future illnesses!

  18. Hi Katie
    What about if you have the fresh berries? is the recipe the same?
    Hilary

  19. I was wondering did i do wrong by freezing my Elderberries…what should i do with them?
    Thanks
    Lin

  20. they were frozen fresh…should i not use them?

    • I have always used fresh or fresh frozen for my tinctures but I know some have concerns over raw elderberry causing nausea.

  21. Hi Kaity
    I’m still nursing my 19 month old son . Do you take this when nursing? And do you think its ok to also give some to my toddler. Thank you so much for all the info youshare with us you have blessed our family and the people that we love with your blog!

  22. I wonder if you could just let the elderberries steep in a tea strainer (like you would use for loose leaf tea), or if you need higher heat of them kept at a constant boil/simmer for the 15 minutes. Any advice on this?

  23. Katie:

    How many cups a day should I drink?

  24. How can i store the tea and keep it fresh without putting in the refrigerator. How long would it stay fresh?

  25. Hello! I was wondering how often I can give this tea to my 7 year old and my 4 year old. They both developed a cold and I gave them each a cup of tea two days in a row. I am wondering if its safe to give them another glass today?

  26. Have you ever reused the elderberries from your syrup recipe in the tea? Wondering if simply adding the “finished” berries to some new water and simmering for 10 minutes or so would make a good tea? I hate just throwing out those berries when there might be some more goodness left in them! (I’ve tried making elderberry muffins with them, but no one in the fam was a fan.)

  27. Made this yesterday for the first time. Didn’t have turmeric, but since the syrup recipe had ginger in it
    I added a few chunks of crystallized ginger.
    As it cooled I added some Vit C powder since I’ve been around sick people.
    Very tasty! (I’m the picky eater in the house so that is a big deal); as it cooled it reminded me of grape
    KoolAid; I could see making a whole pitcher of this in the summer time.
    Now I have to get more elderberries!

  28. If I picked some wild elderberries, are they safe to use if I follow this recipe?

  29. Glad to have found your site. Will be back and back some more. I have been using Elderberry Syrup now for years and haven’t gotten the flu or a cold. I buy my Elderberries from Mountain Rose like all of my herbs. Great place and great prices. I like your writing down to earth and understandable. One thing is we laugh each time we make our syrup as it smells funny and we wonder what the neighbors think we are cooking. I learned about Elderberry Syrup from John Gallagher. Wellness Mama thanks.

  30. Love this!! I have been drinking it often:)

  31. Is this OK to drink if someone has an auto immune disease? Do you still drink elderberry products even though you have an auto immune disease?
    Thanks!

    • Check with your Dr. if you’re worried about it but I do…

  32. I just take a tablespoon of frozen elderberry syrup (your recipe) in a cup of hot water to make tea. Tastes great. Will add the tumeric and cinnamon next time. Good idea.

  33. What a great recipe, I will definitely be trying this one out in the cold winter months!

  34. I’m definitely going to try your elderberry recipes – sadly the dried elderberries you use are £52.83 here on Amazon UK that’s about $66 according to google!!! :-(. Will have to find another organic brand, but I will try these recipes so thank you for sharing!

  35. Hello~ I have a bag of organic dried elderberries but I noticed very very tiny stems on some of them. I read the stems are poisonous but I am uncertain that these very small small ones ones are. Do you happen to get those in your bags of elderberries as well? Are they safe?

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