Rachel de Thample’s elderberry syrup with echinacea recipe

Both elderberries and echinacea are powerful immune system boosters and have been used to prevent and treat colds and flus for many years, according to chef, forager and food writer Rachel de Thample.

“Ginger is also added for its antimicrobial, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Mix all of these immune powerhouses together to give your nasty cold or flu a good beating!” she says.


Rachel de Thample's elderberry syrup with echinacea


  • Makes 10 x 50ml servings
  • 50g dried or 100g fresh elderberries
  • 500ml filtered or mineral water
  • ¼ cup dried echinacea root or 1 teaspoon echinacea tincture
  • 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 125g raw honey


  1. Put the elderberries and water into a saucepan along with the echinacea (if using the root), ginger, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest and juice. Bring to a rolling boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the consistency of maple sytup. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  2. Leave to cool, then strain everything through a fine sieve lined with a muslin cloth (one you don’t mind being stained purple!). Whisk in the honey, and the echinacea if using tincture.
  3. Pour into sterilised bottles and store in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  4. If you start to feel a cold or flu coming on – or even if you’re just around people who are sick – take a few tablespoons of this throughout the day. If you do get sick, you can take a spoonful every couple of hours. Avoid taking it for more than a week or two at a time, however, as you also need to give your body a break from the herbs and maximise the therapeutic window.

Tonics & Teas by Rachel de Thample is published by Kyle Books, priced £9.99. Photography by Ali Allen.

Listen to our interview with Rachel de Thample – ‘Making a foraged Christmas feast’ – on ApplePodbeanPocketcastsTuneInLibsynStitcher and Acast.