In the world of elderberry concoctions, two preparations often come up in conversation: What are the difference between elderberry shrub and elderberry syrup?. While they may sound similar, they are distinct in their preparation, usage, and health benefits. Let’s delve into the differences between these two and explore why the elderberry shrub is often considered the healthier option.

1. What is an Elderberry Shrub (the drink, not the tree)?

An elderberry shrub, often referred to as a “sipping vinegar,” (and not to be confused with the actual tree) is a concentrated syrup made from vinegar, honey, and elderberries. The term “shrub” is derived from the Arabic word “sharāb,” which means “to drink.” Historically, shrubs were used as a way to preserve fruits before the advent of refrigeration.

The primary base for a shrub is apple cider vinegar, which is known for its myriad health benefits. Apple cider vinegar, is rich in acetic acid, which can help regulate blood sugar levels, improve digestion, and may even aid in weight loss.

2. What is an Elderberry Syrup?

Elderberry syrup, on the other hand, is a water decoction (simmered for a length of time) of elderberries & other spices that is then sweetened with honey. It’s a traditional way to administer herbal remedies, especially for those who might find straight herbal teas or tinctures too strong or bitter.

3. Why is a Shrub Healthier?

While both elderberry shrub and elderberry syrup have their place in herbal medicine, there are several reasons why shrubs might be considered the healthier option:

  • Vinegar Base: As mentioned, vinegar has numerous health benefits. Its acidic nature can help balance the body’s pH, promote healthy digestion, and even support a healthy microbial balance in the gut.
  • No heat: Elderberries and other spices retain more of their nutrients as they are infused into the vinegar vs using a heat-extraction which mildly depletes certain water soluble nutrients.
  • More nutrient-dense: vinegar extracts a broader range of phytochemicals, beyond those that are only water soluble, than water-based methods can.
  • Preservation: The acidic nature of vinegar acts as a natural preservative, potentially giving shrubs a longer shelf life without the need for artificial preservatives.
  • Versatility: Elderberry shrubs can be consumed on their own, diluted in water, or used as a base for cocktails and mocktails. This versatility not only offers various ways to enjoy them but also introduces the health benefits of vinegar into different aspects of one’s diet (see our ‘recipes‘ section for more inspiration)
  • No refrigeration: (see preservation)

Unique Flavors, Different Benefits

While both the elderberry shrub and elderberry syrup offer unique flavors and benefits (syrups are sweeter with a smooth feel and shrubs have a tang and bite on the palate), the shrub’s vinegar base and make it a standout in terms of the range of preserved nutrients. However, it’s essential to remember that the best choice often depends on individual preferences and needs. Whether you’re sipping on a tangy shrub or a sweet syrup, you’re partaking in a tradition that spans centuries and cultures, bringing the power of herbs into your daily life.


Elderberry Shrub

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Our tart & tangy elderberry shrub is a sophisticated sipping mixer infusion of organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother), elderberries, and raw honey. This elderberry botanical infusion is full of health benefits, including gut-friendly probiotics, never heated, and delightful on the palate and for your digestive & immune health!

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A How To Use Elderberry For Optimal Health Guide!


You've heard about elderberry but don't know much about it or how to use it. Inside the guide, you'll everything you've ever wanted to know, like:


✅ The health benefits of elderberry

✅ The right type of elderberry for you
✅ How to use elderberry effectively
✅ Common elderberry myths
✅ Frequently asked questions
✅…and more!

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