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Heal Thy Self: Elderberry Tincture with Ginger & Cinnamon

devon 4 Comments

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black elderberry

Heal Thy Self: Elderberry Tincture with Ginger & Cinnamon

Devon 4 Comments

Warming and with rich spices, this Elderberry Tincture will boost your immune system and become a “go-to” in your herbal remedies cabinet.

black elderberry

Since my teenage years I have held a very strong belief in the world outside of modern medicine.  That plants and natural systems fostered the human race in their primal embrace since the beginning of everything.  That modern society should not so quickly overlook the botanical world for our health and well being…  After years of buying herbal remedies and keeping library books dedicated to subject far beyond the due date, I finally made my first elderberry tincture.  And I have been tinkering (and tincturing ever since).

When our family moved to our current home, I was pleased to discover, among other things, that the front yard brandished the largest elderberry TREE that I have ever seen.  I am not kidding.  Far from a shrub this tree is probably 30 feet tall and even bigger around.  That said – I can’t harvest half the bounty, so that goes to the birds…  But it is a wild crafter’s dream!

preparing elderberries for tincture making

One of my younger sisters, Kaitlin, has been nurturing a burgeoning interest in the herbal and natural approach to wellness after becoming a licensed massage therapist.  So this week, blessed with a tree dripping with ripe berries and armed with a couple sets of shears and a big basket, we set to collecting all that we could reach to craft our own elderberry tincture for the upcoming cold and flu season.

Elderberry Tincture Ingredients

Our tincture also includes fresh ginger and cinnamon for the added therapeutic benefits.  There are a multitude of potential health benefits from these ingredients including:

A strong antioxidant and immune system booster containing vitamins A, B and an abundance of C,  that protects healthy cells from the ravages of viral and bacterial offenders.  Additionally, elderberries are reputed to lower cholesterol and improve eye sight.

A powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger is both warming and and soothing.  The list of therapeutic benefits are practically endless, but as it pertains to our tincture it also antiviral and increases circulation.

Another warming remedy, cinnamon is both anti bacterial and anti fungal and even has contains some mild pain inhibitors.

After this tincture is fully developed, we will filter it off for tinctures and combine it with raw local honey for cough syrups.

Interested in learning more about elderberry and 49 other common wild medicinal plants?  Check out my new book The Backyard Herbal Apothecary!

Recipes to Give Your Immune System a Boost

Need a little help to get your immune system in tip top shape? Try these recipes and feel better fast!

Elderberry Tincture

Elderberry Tincture with Ginger & Cinnamon Recipe

Elderberry Tincture with Ginger & Cinnamon

Choose only fully ripe berries from a spray free plant. This recipe is based on proportions, prepared in a quart jar.


  • 3 cups fresh ripe elderberries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon bark or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 80 proof vodka


  • Carefully remove all berries from the small lacey stems. The stems are mildly toxic and should be avoided as much as possible to prevent stomach upset.
  • Place approximately 3 cups into a quart jar and tamp down slightly to crush and release some juice.
  • Add ginger and cinnamon.
  • Fill jar with vodka.
  • Place lid on jar and set to steep in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily.  Because there are concerns about the potential for toxicity of unripe and/or uncooked elderberries, it maybe advisable to place this jar in a crockpot filled with water set to high heat for 24 hours to mitigate these concerns.
  • Filter off solids and discard. Pour the resulting tincture into dropper bottles or combine with honey for syrup.



Devon is a writer and author on subjects of holistic and sustainable living. She has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, and her first book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, will be published by Page Street Publishing in Spring 2019. Devon's work outside of can be seen at,,, and in the magazine The Backwoods Home. Devon's second book, as yet untitled will be published Fall 2019.

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  • Lynne Thomas October 11, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    I may have missed it, but could I use dried elderberries instead of fresh? I’m not as fortunate as you and haven’t got a tree in my yard. Thanks.

    • Devon October 11, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      Hi Lynn! By all means, go ahead and use dried elderberries. You’ll want to use a ratio of about 1 part dried elderberries to 2 parts spirits. Also, I find that the resulting tincture made with dried elderberries has a more “raisin-y” flavor, but should be pleasant and just as effective!

  • kim May 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I made an elderberry tincture. It has now been sitting for almost 6 months. What ratio sweetener to tincture would you use? Same amount as berries? THANK YOU

    • Devon May 16, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Hi, Kim! I generally do not sweeten my tinctures. Rather I just filter and bottle, and dose “straight” tincture. My family and clients seem to think it is tasty as is. However, if it the tincture is unpalatable for you straight, I suppose that you could sweeten to taste. As for turning the tincture into a medicinal syrup — I use equal parts honey to tincture (1:1). Hope that helps!

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