I learned from The Wellness Mama about making elderberry syrup. I've been making it on an ongoing basis for probably a year and a half. I feel like it works, which is to say I like to have something on hand to give my kids, both proactively and reactively, to prevent and/or shorten sickness in our home. We take it primarily to boost immunity, but also because it tastes good, because raw honey has great health benefits, and because I believe 100% in the placebo effect to make up the difference in how effective it is or isn't. The kids have their elderberry syrup with dinner every other night, and TJ and I take our dosages as a non-alcoholic nightcap most evenings just before bed.
I keep tiny medicine cups (collected from bottles of Children's Motrin and the like) on the windowsill in the kitchen, one marked for each of us. It's a really easy system for doling out small measured portions of the elderberry syrup and not filling the dishwasher with extra cups.
To make the syrup, I buy dried elderberries from Mountain Rose Herbs. The other ingredients are ones I usually have on hand or can easily buy from the store. The amber glass bottles I use for storing the syrup (16 oz size) are from Mountain Rose Herbs as well.
The process of making the syrup does smell up the house, but to me, it's like a pot of Christmas, with the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Story, however, finds the smell overpowering and has a hard time dealing with it. So I've learned to make the syrup when she's away for the day at school or at night right after she goes to bed. Allow at least 2 hours for cooking and cooling time, so you won't put a hot liquid in your fridge.
For more information on the health benefits of elderberry syrup, read The Wellness Mama's post here.
Below is a PDF of the recipe, with cheers to good health!