A Cure For What Ails You

Can you guess what I’m making?


Today I made elderberry tincture.  Yes, I should’ve done this weeks ago before cold and flu season, but better late than never.  This is great to have on hand when you feel like you’re coming down with something as elderberries are known for being effective against the influenza virus, H1N1, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis and boosting your immune system.  They have a long history of use in traditional European medicine.

To make elderberry tincture, you’ll need elderberries (Sambucus nigra) and 100 proof alcohol.  Most people use vodka, but we used moonshine because, well, this is Tennessee.

Fill a pint or quart jar half full of elderberries (you can use dried or fresh, I used dried).  Then fill the jar with the alcohol, leaving a 1 inch head space, cap it and shake it up.  Label with the date and contents, then let it sit in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks.  When finished, strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard the berries.  Pour the tincture into clean, sterile jars and store in a dark place.  It should last 1-2 years.

To use, take 1 teaspoon 3 times a day when you feel like you’re coming down with the cold or flu.


*I am not a doctor or an herbalist.  I have done research on herbal medicine and have chosen to use it in certain instances.  You should do your own research and make your decisions based on that.

10 thoughts on “A Cure For What Ails You”

  1. Sounds good, Julie. I use vodka for all my infusions because, well, this is Lithuania! (And it’s cheap as chips!) Does this tincture taste good, or might it benefit from a few spoons of sugar? Would the sugar interfere with the medicinal properties, do you think?

    1. It has a strong taste, which I don’t mind, but you could add a little honey or mix with water when you’re taking it to make it more palatable without diluting the medicinal benefits.

  2. Good reminder about the medicinal benefits of elderberries. Same principle is used in making vanilla extract. Split 2 vanilla beans infuse in a medium size Mason or Kerr jar 3/4 fill with cheap vodka (or if you live in the mountain regions use moonshine) for 6 – 12 months. This is a heck lot cheaper than buying vanilla extract at the grocery store. Great for your winter baking! Stay well and bon appetit!

    1. There are some wild elderberries growing along one of our fence lines, but they are not the right species for medicinal purposes.

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