Herbal Apothecary 101: Elderberry Shrub with Honey

| June/July 2009

  • Health made simple: A few herbs and you in your kitchen, preparing medicines with simple techniques as ancient as time.

Makes about 2 quarts

Shrub is a term for an acidic iced beverage that is sipped in small quantities. It is often preserved with lemon, vinegar or alcohol, so it can cause one to perspire, which is cooling in the summertime. Recipes for shrubs vary greatly and date as far back as pre-colonial times. Shrubs can be made with sweetened fruit juice, fruit, vinegar, honey or sugar. Some suggest adding spirits, such as rum or brandy, to the shrub, but we haven’t yet tried this.

Generally, shrubs are sipped from a cordial glass, poured over ice or served with a bit of sparkling water. They are a wonderful remedy for congestion and sore throat, and make an excellent tonic for the body. Elderberries are great in this shrub, but you can substitute other berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries or a combination.

• 2 cups elderberries
• 1 quart apple cider vinegar
• 1 quart honey

1. Wash and pick over the berries. Put berries in a nonreactive pan. Pour vinegar over berries, cover and bring to a low simmer. Remove from heat and let stand overnight or up to 2 weeks. 

2. Mash fruit vinegar and strain through cheesecloth or muslin. Add honey and blend well. Bottle in dark glass sterilized jars with non-metal lids. Label contents in bottle; keep out of reach of children.

3. Store in a cool, dark place. Use within 1year.

Susan Belsinger and Tina Marie Wilcox use herbs every day in and around their homes and greenhouses. Some of this article’s information and recipes are from their book The Creative Herbal Home (Herbspirit, 2007). 

Click here for the original article,  Herbal Apothecary 101 .

5/13/2014 2:50:21 PM

Thank you for the article about elderberries. My mother is from Austria and she has often spoken about how her mother made a syrup from elderberries and it was given to the children when they first started feeling sick. I look forward to sharing the recipe with my mother. This is going to make her very happy because she never knew how her mother made the syrup. Now at the age of 85 my mother can make her own.



February 15-16, 2020
Belton, Texas

Join us in the Lone Star state to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me