The formula is based on Kiva Rose Hardin’s elderberry elixir and Kami McBride’s cold and flu elixir, which use brandy to extract the plant constituents and honey to sweeten it up. The recipe is very versatile in that you can use fresh or dried herbs and make additions or substitutions of herbs based on your own preferences (although be sure to use dried elderberries since it won’t be cooked). We like to add a few tablespoons of cinnamon chips and extra ginger and honey.


    • 1 cup fresh (or ⅔ cup dried) calendula (Calendula officinalis) flower
    • ⅔ cup dried elder (Sambucus nigra or S. canadensis) berry
    • ½ cup fresh (or ⅓ cup dried) elder (Sambucus nigra or S. canadensis)
    • flower
    • ½ cup fresh (or ⅓ cup dried) rose (Rosa spp.) hip
    • 2 tbsp fresh (or 1 tbsp dried) orange (Citrus sinensis) peel
    • 1 tbsp fresh (or 1 tsp dried) ginger (Zingiber officinale) root, grated
    • Brandy
    • Honey


  1. Fill a glass quart jar (4-cup capacity) with herbs.
  2. Add brandy, pouring until herbs are covered by 1-2 inches of brandy and jar is approximately ¾ full.
  3. Add honey, leaving 1 inch of space at the top of the jar.
  4. Poke chopstick into jar to release any trapped air bubbles and ensure brandy and honey are coating herbs.
  5. Cap jar with a lid and label with ingredients and date.
  6. Let steep for 4-6 weeks in a dark place, shaking daily.
  7. Filter elixir by pouring through a fine mesh filter or several layers of 45 Herbal Academy cheesecloth over a bowl or wide-mouth jar. Press the plant material (“marc”) to squeeze out every last drop of elixir.
  8. Compost the marc and cap and label the elixir. Store for up to 1 year.
  9. To use, take 2-3 teaspoons every 2-3 hours at the first sign of an infection. Frequent doses are the key to effective use! Listen to your body to tailor the dosage to your needs.

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