Herbal Syrups for Common Ailments: Nose and Throat Remedy

Try this syrup as an overall remedy for flu, colds and coughs.

November/December 2016

  • Elderberry
    Elderberry can be used to fight off cold and flu but should not be taken in excess.
    Photo by Fotolia/sattva
  • Elderberry

An overall flu, cold and cough remedy, this blend may provide protection against spread of infection within the body.


• 1 cup elderberries
• 1⁄2 cup plantain leaf (Plantago major)
• 1-1⁄2 cups water
• 1 cup sugar or honey
• Vodka or yarrow tincture (1⁄4 of bottle space)


Herbal Concentrate Method: This recipe requires the berries and leaves to be cooked separately — use the decoction method for the berries and the tea method for the leaves. Then combine the two herbal concentrates before adding sweetener and thickening.

Medicinal Potential

Elderberry: Acts as an overall cold, flu and cough remedy; has antiviral properties; excellent for sore throats, breaking up phlegm and preventing the spread of infection to other areas of the body

Plantain: Used to assist in fighting colds, sinusitis, throat and ear infections; calm the respiratory system; reduce inflammation; and unclog phlegm 

Yarrow: Highly astringent; suggested to fight infections, fever and congestion


Elderberry is quite potent, and more is not necessarily better. Some people will take small doses daily as a preventive measure during the cold and flu season. It should be noted, though, that elderberry can cause nausea and vomiting when used excessively. Never ingest raw berries — always cook them.

Yarrow shouldn’t be taken in conjunction with heart medicines, blood thinners or antacids. Not intended to be used long-term. Best to avoid in combination with coffee or alcohol. Use with caution if a ragweed allergy exists and stop taking at least two weeks prior to surgery.

Read more about herbal medicines for common illnesses in Herbal Syrups for Common Ailments.