Black Elderberry Tincture

black elderberry collage

I am grateful that I have what one would consider a healthy family. My five year old daughter rarely gets sick, and my baby boy was seven months old when he got his first cold. My husband, a school teacher, comes down ill just a couple times a year, and I join the club with him. I like to think we have three “secrets” to health in our family: our faith in our master healer Jesus Christ, the fact that both of our kids were/are extendedly breastfed, and black elderberry extract.
Black elderberry extract has been around forever, but it is more recently becoming popular in the United States. My mom introduced the syrup to me when I was a teenager. She would start me on a dosage at the first sign of a cold. One of two things would happen: I would never fully develop the illness and my symptoms would go away within twenty-four hours, or my illness would be lessened by days compared to my peers with the same ailment.
Nowadays, you can purchase black elderberry syrup, even pills, at any health food, pharmacy, or big box store. The only downside is expense; a typical four ounce bottle can cost anywhere from $8 to $20. One person can go through an entire bottle or box of pills through just one incident. The remedy works incredibly well, but is unfortunately costly.
One day while looking through my Pinterest feed, I came across some posts about making your own black elderberry syrup and tincture. Ever the experimenter in the kitchen, and a firm believer in black elderberry’s benefits, I decided to make my own tincture.
The price of the supplies runs high, but you get quite a bargain when you break down the cost. My husband and I spent $30 on a 1.75 liter of Svedka vodka, $23 on a bag of dried black elderberries (via amazon.com), and $25 on the glass bottles with droppers (via premiumvials.com). One recipe yielded thirteen full bottles of tincture, each bottle costing just $6 in the end. Due to the fact that the remedy is a tincture, the dosage is taken in drops instead of tablespoons. This yields an incredible value by making a homemade tincture, with savings in the hundreds of percents.
For dosing, I have found a few different measurements. They all vary by strength of tincture and weight of person taking it. (The longer you let the berries soak in the vodka, the stronger the tincture will be. The more one weighs, the more tincture they may want to take and vice-versa). The general consensus is the following:
At first signs of sickness, adults should take 10-30 drops under the tongue three times a day for three to four days or longer, until symptoms disappear.
For prevention, take 10 drops under the tongue once a day.
You can take the drops in a little bit of water if the taste is off-putting to you, but under the tongue is recommended.

Black Elderberry Tincture
 
Serves: 52 ounces
Ingredients
  • 1.75 liters Svedka vodka
  • 3 cups dried elderberries
  • Clean mason jars and lids
  • Funnel
  • Strainer
  • Glass bottles with droppers
Instructions
  1. Fill your mason jars ⅓rd full with the dried elderberries.
  2. Top off with the vodka, filling jars to ½ inch of the rim.
  3. Seal jars well.
  4. Place jars in a dark place, and gently shake and flip once a day. Continue this for 8-12 weeks.
  5. When tincture is ready, lay out paper towels (or newspaper) over your workspace. (Elderberries stain badly)!
  6. Set down your glass bottle over the paper towels. Place a funnel over the glass bottle. Hold a fine strainer over the funnel, and pour the tincture through the strainer, funnel, and into the bottles. Leave ½ to 1 inch space on top and seal with the dropper cap.
  7. Discard the elderberries.
  8. Label as desired.

 

I used five mason jars of various capacities to soak the elderberries in vodka.

I used five mason jars of various capacities to soak the elderberries in vodka.

I allowed my elderberry tincture to "brew" in the mason jars for twelve weeks. To transfer into my glass bottles, I used this fine mesh strainer on top of a funnel. After pouring Bout 4 oz. into each bottle, discard the berries.

I allowed my elderberry tincture to “brew” in the mason jars for twelve weeks. To transfer into my glass bottles, I used this fine mesh strainer on top of a funnel. After pouring about four ounces into each bottle, discard the berries.

I.75 ounces of vodka and 3 cups of dried blueberries yielded thirteen 4 oz. bottles.

I.75 ounces of vodka and 3 cups of dried blueberries yielded thirteen 4 oz. bottles.

My father made me some wonderful labels for the bottles.

My father made me some wonderful labels for the bottles.

This is a warning sticker that I put on the side of each bottle.

This is a warning sticker that I put on the side of each bottle.

The final product: a bottle of 4 ounces of black elderberry tincture, at a cost of $6 per bottle

The final product: a bottle of 4 ounces of black elderberry tincture, at a cost of $6 per bottle

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