elderberry teaElderberry tea might be one of the most medicinally-useful drinks when you’re feeling under the weather. It’s delicious, soothing and so simple to prepare at home. The tea has a naturally sweet-tart flavor and a fruity aroma from the elderberries.

Interest in elderberries has skyrocketed in recent years thanks to their potent medicinal properties.

Elderberries’ high concentration of anthocyanins – dark pigments with antioxidant properties – are believed to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. (1, 2) A lot of attention is also focused on elderberries’ anti-viral properties, which significantly shorten the duration and severity of colds and flu. (3, 4

The blossoms that precede elderberries, called elderflowers, also have medicinal uses and likewise taste amazing in a wide variety of recipes.

You can make tea from either elderflowers or elderberries. Both have antioxidant and anti-viral properties. However, even though both come from the same plant and have many of the same nutritional benefits, they don’t have the same compounds and are not used in the same way. 

elderberry tea from dried elderberries

Tips for Making Elderberry Tea

Ingredients

You literally need just one ingredient to make elderberry tea – elderberries:

  • Raw elderberries: these dark berries grow wildly all over the world. So, if you wish to forage wild elderberries, you can have them for free. Just be absolutely sure to positively identify elderberries before harvesting, as there are plants that resemble elderberries that you shouldn’t eat. To positively identify elderberry, you’ll want to consider the plant’s growth habit, bark, and the arrangement of its leaves in addition to the shape of the individual flowers, flower clusters, and the arrangement of berries. Fresh berries must be properly dried and separated from the stems and the leaves or they can cause digestive problems.
  • Dried elderberries: an easier way to acquire elderberries for tea is buying them in the store – I get organic dried elderberries in my local health food store in the cold remedy section. If your local health food store doesn’t carry dried elderberries, you can order them online. If you buy dried berries, be on the lookout for bits of stems and leaves, which aren’t recommended for consumption. 

Warning: fresh (raw) elderberries contain cyanogen glycosides – natural plant toxins, which can cause nausea and vomiting. Cooking the berries will remove the cyanide. 

elderberry tea ingredients

How to Make Elderberry Tea

You can make this tea in just a few minutes.

  1. Simmer. Add the dried elderberries and water into a medium saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for ~ 15 minutes. Elderberries are among the herbal ingredients that won’t readily release their beneficial compounds into a cup of hot water the way leaves and flowers will. You can absolutely just steep whole elderberries in boiling water, but you’ll be leaving a lot of what makes elderberries so good for you behind in the berries. To get the most out of your elderberries, take the extra step and simmer them on the stove.  
  2. Strain. Pour the liquid over a fine mesh strainer into a mug. Reserve the boiled elderberries. You can boil them again for another batch of elderberry tea.

how to make elderberry tea

how to make elderberry tea from dried elderberries

How to Store Elderberry Tea

  • Refrigerating: let the tea cool completely. Then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. 

Variations

You can customize the elderberry tea recipe based on your needs and flavor preferences. I prefer elderberry tea unsweetened, but you can add a little bit of sweetener of choice if you’d like.

Elderberries are very mild, so here are some ways to make a more flavorful elderberry tea:

  • Cinnamon: simmer a cinnamon stick with the elderberries and water.
  • Ginger: simmer a couple of slices of ginger with the elderberries and water.
  • Lemon: boil a few lemon slices with the elderberries and water or stir in fresh lemon juice into the strained tea.
  • Orange: simmer a piece of orange peel with the water and berries. Squeeze fresh orange juice into the strained tea.

You can also increase the nutritional value of the tea by simmering the elderberries with other herbs, such as astragalus, calendula, chamomile, hibiscus, etc. One thing to consider is that elderberry is  slightly cooling, so often warming herbs are added to balance it.

homemade elderberry tea

More Immune-Boosting Drinks

If you’d like to try more immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory drinks, there are a lot of options:

  • Lemon water: consuming lemon water has ample benefits from boosting the digestive and immune system to fighting off infections. A simple squeeze of lemon is packed with antioxidants including vitamin C and plant compounds called flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Ginger shots: these immunity-boosting shots are like a magical elixir. The flavor is a little bit intense, especially if you are new to ginger shots, but so tasty! Gingerol is the main bioactive compound responsible for much of ginger’s medicinal properties. Ginger has lots of health benefits but is probably most known for fighting inflammation as well as the common cold.
  • Jamu juice: jamu is a traditional anti-inflammatory drink from Indonesia. It is very potent drink with a strong flavor so it might take some getting used to. The taste is earthy from turmeric, spicy from ginger, tart from lime, and sweet from honey.
  • Celery juice: drinking any green juice is hydrating, alkalizing, and nutritious. Celery juice specifically is high in various plant compounds called phytonutrients, which reduce inflammation. It is also very hydrating, alkalizing, and rich in electrolytes. 

If you try any of these recipes, please, leave a comment and rate the recipe below. It always means a lot when you do.

elderberry tea

Elderberry Tea

Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
Elderberry tea might be one of the most medicinally-useful drinks when you're feeling under the weather. It's delicious, soothing and so simple to prepare at home. The tea has a naturally sweet-tart flavor and a fruity aroma from the elderberries.

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. dried elderberries

Instructions
 

  • Simmer. Add the dried elderberries and water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for ~ 15 minutes.
  • Strain. Pour the liquid over a fine mesh strainer into a mug. Reserve the boiled elderberries. You can boil them again for another batch of elderberry tea.
  • Store. Leftover elderberry tea keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

*Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 2, Calories: 15kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 0g, Fat: 0g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 0g