Elderberry Tea is a warm drink you can make at home in just minutes! It’s a faster than making elderberry syrup, when your immune system needs a little boost.
Why You’ll Love It
Elderberries have been long used in folk medicine to potentially help with inflammation, headaches, and cold symptoms, but these immune-boosting berries must be cooked before they are consumed.
Boiling the elderberries to make an herbal tea is a great way to do that!
Potential Health Benefits of Elderberries
- Black elderberries have been shown to reduce the symptoms and length of influenza when taken at the first sign of illness.
- In one study of patients with influenza, taking elderberry syrup 4 times a day was shown to reduce influenza-like symptoms 4 days earlier than those who didn’t take it.
- Elderberries are rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which may have anti-inflammatory and anti-carinogenic properties.
- The flavonoids found in elderberries may help to lower the risk of heart disease.
- Black elderberries (also known as Sambucus nigra) may help with blood sugar control.
As an added bonus, this elderberry tea is a comforting cold-weather drink, and tastes amazing with a touch of honey and spices.
Safety Tip: When storing dried elderberries, be sure to keep them away from kids and pets. Dried elderberries may be toxic when eaten straight from the bag, and my kids think the dried berries look like mini chocolate chips– so keep them stored up high, safely out of reach.
How To Make Elderberry Tea
1. Combine the ingredients.
In a small pot, combine the elderberries, water, and spices. I like to use a whole cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves, but you can also add in any other herbs or spices that you enjoy.
Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat slightly. Simmer the elderberries for at least 15 minutes. The water will turn dark purple, and your kitchen will start to smell like elderberry juice!
Pour the hot liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into your mug. You can discard the elderberry pulp, or save it to boil a second batch later.
Add in any extras you love, such as raw honey or lemon juice, and then enjoy!
Simmer the elderberries in water for 15 minutes. The liquid should be dark purple, and your kitchen will start to smell like elderberry juice!
Pour the liquid through a strainer into your mug to serve, since you won’t want to consume the elderberry pulp.
The best thing about making elderberry tea at home is that you get to control the flavor. Here are some other add-ins you might want to consider.
- Fresh rosemary. Rosemary has potential antibacterial and antioxidant properties, too! It makes a great addition to elderberry tea, if you want to maximize your antioxidant intake.
- Whole Cloves. Cloves also have antimicrobial properties and contain potent antioxidants, which may help to inhibit tumor growth.
- Cinnamon Sticks. Compared to 26 other spices, including garlic and oregano, cinnamon has the most antioxidant activity. It’s also been shown to promote heart health and healthy blood glucose levels.
- Orange Peel. Did you know the peel may have up to 3 times more vitamin C than the fruit inside? It may also have anti-cancer properties and is rich in polyphenols.
- Fresh Ginger. Ginger is known for its potential anti-inflammatory properties, and may even help with weight loss. It may also help to lower blood sugar levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some health food stores sell dried elderberries, otherwise you can buy them online. Brand availability will vary, but I feel comfortable buying most brands that are certified organic.
Elderberry tea tastes slightly tart and spicy (depending on which spices you add), with a fragrant smell of berries. Add your favorite sweetener to make it taste more palatable.
Yes! You can get more “bang for your buck” by reserving the boiled elderberries from your first cup of tea. Just add more water and boil again, for a second, slightly less-strong cup of elderberry tea. If you’re going to boil a second batch, I recommend you do it on the same day, so you don’t have to save the soggy elderberries in the fridge for later.
Dried elderberries will be more concentrated in flavor, so when using fresh elderberries you’ll need to use more. Also, keep in mind that elderberries must always be cooked before you consume them. The berries, leaves, stems, and seeds all contain a toxic substance that is removed by cooking, so don’t be tempted to skip that important step.
Consuming uncooked elderberries, stems, seeds, or leaves may result in vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea.
Elderberry Tea (3 ingredients!)
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons dried elderberries
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- Combine the water, elderberries and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let it gently simmer for 15 minutes.
- Pour the tea through a fine mesh strainer to remove the elderberries and cinnamon stick.
- Serve warm with any add-ins you like. I sometimes like to add a squeeze of lemon or orange juice, along with a drizzle of honey. Leftover tea can be stored in the fridge and enjoyed warm or cold, if you want to make a larger batch.
If you try this easy elderberry tea recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.