Elderberry Syrup vs Elderberry Tincture: Which Is Best?

Feb 14, 2023

We all know the signs. Cough, sneezing, runny nose, body aches, and sore throat can only mean one thing: cold and flu season is upon us. 

There are many home remedies to prevent and soothe these symptoms that present themselves often during the fall and winter seasons. One of these remedies stands out from the rest; the consumption of elderberry gummies, syrups, or tinctures. 

Elderberry remedies show proven results when it comes to treating colds, flu, and respiratory viruses. And the best part? You can make your own elderberry syrup or elderberry tincture at home to keep your family healthy over the winter months. 

Keep reading to find out the differences between elderberry syrup and tincture and how to make them at home. 

What Are Elderberries?

Elderberries are purplish-black berries that grow on the Sambucus tree. There are many types of elder plants, but the one most known for their healing and health benefits is the European elderberry, black elderberry, or Sambucus nigra. The elderberry is one of the world's most healing plants. We have dived deeper into the medicinal properties of elderberries previously so we won't take a deep dive in today's post.



What Is Elderberry Syrup?

Elderberry syrup has been a prized, healthy elixir for many centuries, known for its immune-boosting qualities. Making syrup out of the berries makes the benefits of the berries last longer in the refrigerator, or shelf-stable when canned.

Elderberry syrup is made using a mixture of berries and water brought up to a boil, then sweetened with honey. Additives to the elderberry mixture can be cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, or cayenne pepper. Strain berries and spices out, return to the pot, and add two cups of raw honey. 

For complete instructions on how to make and store elderberry syrup, visit this post on our website. 



What Is Elderberry Tincture?

An elderberry tincture is a herbal extract made from elderberries infused in alcohol for an extended period, usually six weeks, or more. This gives you a highly concentrated product. Elderberry tincture can be made with fresh or dried berries.

The use of alcohol pulls the nutritional components from the berries and infused them into a condensed liquid. Elderberry tincture is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. You can do this by dropping a dose of the tincture directly into your mouth or by adding it to other foods or beverages. Tinctures are very convenient and they preserve the herbs for a very long time, making this an excellent way to save any elderberries that you might have grown or have fresh. 

Elderberry Syrup vs Elderberry Tincture: The Differences

Both elderberry tinctures and syrups offer immune-boosting benefits, but there are some differences. 

Elderberry syrups are cooked, thick in texture, and include added sweeteners, typically honey. Consumable right away after preparation, elderberry syrup lasts up to two to three months in the refrigerator, or two weeks when stored at room temperature. 

Elderberry tincture is made with raw berries that have been infused in 80 percent alcohol over 6 weeks. It's a more time-consuming process, due to the time needed to infuse into the alcohol. One of the main benefits is that an elderberry tincture can last up to five years when stored properly. 

When it comes to taste, the elderberry tincture is not as "good-tasting" as the syrup, but it has equal benefits. 



The Legal Stuff

The contents of this blog are made available via St. Fiacre's Farm LLC through Grow Create Sip and Farmhouse Teas and are for informational purposes only. This blog does not constitute medical advice; the content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by St. Fiacre's Farm, Farmhouse Teas or Grow  Create Sip. Reliance on any information provided by this webinar is solely your own risk. St. Fiacre's Farm LLC (along with Farmhouse Teas and Grow Create Sip) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for our team to earn fees for recommending our favorite products! Along with additional affiliate programs not associated with Amazon. We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Thanks for supporting us!


The Benefits of Elderberry Tincture

The consumption of elderberries, including elderberry syrup, elderberry tincture, and elderberry gummies is known for providing immune system support and elderberry vitamins but there are other benefits. The use of elderberry tincture offers you the benefits of:

  • Antibacterial and antiviral properties
  • Rich in antioxidants and nutrients
  • Delivers anti-inflammatory properties
  • Supports insulin response
  • Relaxing Nervine and diaphoretic
  • Acts as a diuretic

How to Make Elderberry Tincture

Elderberry tincture recipes follow a simple process. If you are planting elderberry plants, it's a great way to use up extra elderberries at the end of the season. Here is our step-by-step guide to making your own elderberry tincture.

1. Fill a jar (pint or quart size) to the halfway point with fresh or 1/2 the amount of dried berries.  

2. Fill the rest of the jar with vodka, leaving 1 inch of space at the top. The vodka must be at least 80 proof.

3. Close the jar with a tight-fitting lid, and give the mixture a good shake. 

4. Add a label to the jar, and mark the date. Place the tincture in a cool, dark place for six weeks. Give the mixture a good shake from time to time over those six weeks. 

5. After six weeks, strain your tincture through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. 

6. Your tincture is now ready! Store it in an air-tight jar or bottle, preferably a dark-colored glass bottle. 



Some Important Tips

Make sure to use alcohol that is 80 proof or above for use with raw berries. Once the elderberries are strained after six weeks, discard the berries, only keep the liquid. 

How to Store Elderberry Tincture

Store your elderberry tincture in dark, glass bottles. Dropper bottles are a good way to store your tincture for easy dosing. 

The tincture will last longer in a cool, dark room or storage space. Room temperature spaces are fine as long as there are limited temperature fluctuations and above-freezing levels. 

How Long Does an Elderberry Tincture Last?

Elderberry tinctures last up to five years when stored properly. This is in contrast to elderberry syrup, which lasts for two to three months in the refrigerator. 

How to Take Elderberry Tincture

There is no single dose that is appropriate for everyone. Recommended doses fall between 600 and 1,500 mg per day, but you should always follow your doctor's instructions. (Elderberry tincture can be diluted with water or juice for those who find the taste too strong.)

For adults: 1 teaspoon daily to boost the immune system and 1 teaspoon three times daily at the first sign of illness. 

For children: 1/2 teaspoon daily for an immune boost and 1/2 teaspoon three times daily when ill. For toddlers use half of the children's dosages. 

What about Elderberry Tea? 


When it comes right down to it, the way you take elderberries doesn't matter so much in effectiveness as it's more about convenience and what you have available to you. Here on the farm, our favorite way to use elderberries is in syrup because it's simple to make in a short amount of time and doesn't require as much planning. I also love that there is less alcohol involved and the syrup can be used as food. That being said it's hard to take elderberry syrup on the go and a tincture can be simple and handy enough to stick in a purse or bag. 

A lot of times we will just enjoy our elderberry dried in teas such as:

What is your family's favorite way to use elderberry in your home? Tincture? Syrup? Tea? I'd love to know in the comments below! In the meantime I'd love to invite you to join us in a free tea blending workshop, it's a great way to learn to blend your own elderberry teas!



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