Elderberry tea is a powerful natural source of vitamins and antioxidants that stimulates your immune system and help you protect against cold and flu.
Whether you decide to make this homemade immune-boosting tea from fresh berries, dried, or concentrate, your body will benefit from its natural immune boosting power.
Elderberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins and are considered to be the top antiviral herb on the planet. Therefore we like to use elderberries to keep our bodies protected against viruses. While some people prefer to make elderberry syrup or jam I like to make a cup of warm and comforting elderberry tea.
Elderberry tea benefits
It is a well-known fact that elderberries are packed with antioxidants and flavonoids. Thus able to deactivate viruses in our bodies.
Moreover, elderberry tea has a high content of vitamin C and antioxidants, mainly polyphenols (1). These stimulate the immune system and may help to overcome cold and flu symptoms. They are also useful in the prevention of chronic diseases (3) and to reduce inflammation (4)
Other herbal teas with similar immune boosting properties
How to make elderberry tea
While making ordinary herbal tea requires dried herbs and hot water, elderberries won't release their medicinal properties that easily. If you want to get the immunity-boosting benefits of elderberries, you need to gently simmer the berries to make a decoction.
In this article we will cover the three ways to make safe and potent black elderberry tea.
The first method - fresh elderberry tea
To prepare herbal elderberry tea from fresh dark purple berries requires some foraging. Elderberry, Sambucus in latin, grows on a deciduous shrub and any of these three main types of elderberry are fine for our immune boosting elderberry tea
black elder (Sambucus nigra),
blue elder (Sambucus nigra su cerulea) or
red elder (Sambucus racemosa).
Make sure you are familiar with this plant before you start to forage. Once you gather fresh berries, Remove stems and wash them thoroughly and cover them with water. While I would rather steep them overnight (the same way we prepared rosehip tea), elderberries need to be cooked to release their medicinal properties. Cook them on low heat for at least 20 minutes. For one cup of elderberry tea you will need 1 tablespoon of fresh berries and 1 cup of water.
Strain the berries afterwards and enjoy your warm cup. You can always add honey or other sweeteners or cinnamon to taste.
The second method - Elderberry concentrate recipe
If you manage to get a large quantity of fresh berries that you want to turn into elderberry tea I suggest making a concentrate.
Place 2 cups of fresh elderberries and 2 cups of water into a casserole. Let it simmer for 20 minutes under very low heat.
Switch off the heat and let cool a bit. Strain it through the sieve pressing the berries lightly so they release all their juices.
This concentrate can stay refrigerated for several weeks in the fridge. If you want it to last longer you can water bath it for 10 minutes.
When making an elderberry tea, just dilute it with water in a 1:1 ratio.
The third method - elderberry tea from dried berries
If you prefer to make elderberry tea from dried elderberries you can either purchase them online or just dry your fresh elderberries to preserve them for later.
You can either air dry them by simply spreading them on a screen which takes several days unless you use a dehydrator . You can also use your oven to dry them on the tray in the oven using the lowest temperature setting (115F or 46C)
Use the ratio of 1 teaspoon of dried elderberries to 1 cup of water. Again you will need to simmer them for at least 20 minutes before you can enjoy a healthy cup of immune-boosting tea. When simmering you can add cinnamon sticks or turmeric to get extra immune boosting benefits or add flavors.
The fourth method - making double elder tea
I discovered this method when reading Everything Elderberry book from Susannah Shmurak. She suggested combining the power of elderflowers and elderberries in one simple decoction. Thus making an intensively flavored and potent infusion.
To make 1 cup of this powerful tea you will need 1 tablespoon of dried elderflowers and 2 tablespoons of dried elderberries.
Place it into a casserole and let it simmer for 20 minutes. strain the herbal material and your cup is ready.
Elderberry tea possesses a tart and earthy flavor which not everyone may like. You can change its flavor when adding other herbs or spices while elderberries are simmering such as cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, turmeric orange peel or ginger. Herbs such as chamomile, mint or elderflowers that we already mentioned when making double elder tea above would do the job
When the flu and cold season hits we like to take some of our elderberry products such as syrup, gummies, jam or extract every day.
However, this period should not exceed 3 weeks in a row according to WebMD or for children, 10 days. If it is taken longer it may lower its effectiveness when really needed. I suggest you ask your doctor if you have any concerns.
The same way you make ordinary elderberry tea, Once you finish the boiling process, strain the liquid and add 1 cup of cold water. Chill it and add honey or lemon juice to taste. Serve it with ice, a slice of orange or any fresh herbs such as mint or verbena.
The elderberries need to be boiled to release their medicinal properties. I suggest turning dried elderberries into elderberry powder and boiling it prior to drying. That way you can create a dried substance that could be made into tea bags.