Elderberry syrup: properties, preparation and benefits

Elderberry syrup is an ancient recipe: delicious and tasty but also beneficial to prevent many pathologies.The elderberry fruit is very sour and needs to be cooked for consumption. n addition, elderberries can be cooked and used to make jams, chutneys , pies, and wine. The flowers are boiled with sugar to make syrup or tea. And they can also be eaten fresh in salads.

Health Benefits

There are many benefits to elderberry . Not only is it nutritious, but it can also combat cold and flu symptoms, support heart health and fight inflammation and infections, among other benefits.


The fruits of elderberry are low calorie foods and full of antioxidants.

One hundred grams of elderberry fruit contains 73 calories, 18.4 grams of carbohydrates and less than 1 gram of fat and protein.

In addition, it contains:

  • High Vitamin C: There are 6–35 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of elderberry , representing up to 60% of the recommended daily intake – IDR (see here for studies: 3 , 4 );
  • High in dietary fiber: There are 7 grams of fiber per 100 grams of elderberry , which represents more than a quarter of the fiber IDR (see study 4 );
  • It is a source of phenolic acids: these compounds are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce the damage of oxidative stress in the body (see here for studies 4 , 5 );
  • Good source of flavonols: elderberry contains the antioxidant flavonols quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin. Flowers contain up to 10 times more flavonols than fruit (see here for study 4 );
  • Rich in anthocyanins: These compounds give the fruit its characteristic dark purple-black color and are a source of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects.

On the following occasions, the intake of elderberry and flower products should be avoided:

  • Never eat berries when they are still unripe. They can, in fact, contain toxic substances derived from cyanide. Moreover, when consuming berries that are not yet ripe, the general rule of cooking them before eating them is always valid, in order to avoid an unpleasant nausea. In fact, cooking destroys potentially present toxins.
  • Choose only dark purple berries  the red fruits are in fact poisonous .
  • Also avoid elderberry bark which has toxic effects. In all these cases, gastro-intestinal consequences may occur, such as abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, together with dizziness, headache, weakness, tachycardia and convulsions.
  • Beware of allergic reactions that can be caused by elderberry extract and that manifest themselves in the form of sudden skin rashes or difficulty breathing.
  • In case of pregnancy there is a possibility that elderberry is dangerous. Better, then, be cautious and avoid consumption even while breastfeeding.
  • Beware of the poisonous cousin! If you want to venture into the collection of flowers, leaves, berries of this tree, you must be very careful not to confuse it with another poisonous plant of the same family, namely Sambucus Ebulus (Ebbio). 

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