Marie Rose Elderberry Syrup

Grown & produced in Calgary by the great-great grand-daughter of Marie Rose Smith, the Famous Metis Herbalist & Midwife of the Prairies.

 Boon Michinn means “good medicine” in the Michif language. You can find out more about the Metis people and see a dictionary of words in Michif through the Gabriel Dumont Institute.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is elderberry syrup used for? Elderberries have a long and distinguished history of use, and an impressive repertoire of scientific research to support it. Elderberry syrup is traditionally used at the onset of a cold, flu or other viral illness, to prevent infection or shorten the duration of a cold or flu.

How much elderberry syrup should I take? 1-2 tsp. as needed, to reduce a fever, or to ease aches and pains associated with chronic or acute illness. When you feel the first tickle in your throat, grab your elderberry syrup! For prevention or to shorten the duration of a cold/flu, it may be helpful to take 1 tsp. every couple hours. Research shows that elderberries are best taken during the onset of a cold, rather than daily, when prevention of illness is the goal.

Are there other ways to use elderberry syrup? Oh my goodness, Yes! You can apply elderberry syrup to a cold sore on your lip to speed healing.  Have a couple of teaspoons in hot water to ease inflammatory arthritis. Rub it on a teething baby’s gums. Mix it in your cranberry juice to relieve urinary tract pain. Drink it with sparkling water or pour it on waffles for a delicious treat. There are a million ways to use elderberry syrup.

Why is the syrup sometimes a different shade of red/purple?  Our elderberry syrup is all natural, and the appearance can change depending on a few factors. The  color of elderberry is dependent on the conditions of naturally occurring antioxidants known as Anthocyanins. Even the pH of water used to cook the berries can change their color from blue, to purple, to bright pink or red! (Learn about this fascinating chemistry here). Other factors effecting the color of the syrup include:
1. Location of harvest – Our Calgary berries tend to produce pink syrup, Montana berries tend towards purple
2. Weather conditions before harvest
– berries that have been through a few frosts are naturally purple in color
3. Syrup occasionally contains elder flowers as well as berries.
Elderberry trees often have flowers and ripe berries at the same time, a rare property in a fruit tree! Flowers contain anti-viral properties, and may lighten the appearance of the syrup.

How long will a bottle of Marie Rose’s Elderberry syrup last? The syrup is shelf stable but lasts longest in the refrigerator, where it may stay fresh for more than a year. To increase shelf-life, avoid drinking directly from the bottle, and store away from light to preserve the antioxidants. If the syrup turns cloudy, grows mold or smells/tastes stale, please be safe and dispose of the remaining product.

What ingredients are in MR Elderberry syrup?  Naturally grown black elderberries (S. nigra) and flowers, organic cane sugar, water and grain spirits (10%) are the only ingredients we use.

Who is Marie Rose?  Marie Rose Delorme Smith was a Canadian author, midwife, herbalist, and mother to 17 children in Pincher Creek in the late 1800’s. She was a Metis woman who spoke 4 languages, and was known as “Buckskin Mary” for her skill at glove-making. She left a legacy of Metis pride and commitment to Spirit for her hundreds of descendants. Her writings can be found in the Glenbow Archives at the Museum in Calgary, Alberta. Her log cabin home and some personal affects are displayed at the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek. Her tradition for healing is carried on by her great great grand-daughter, Kalyn Kodiak, the Calgarian Metis Herbalist.

Elderberry Trivia: 

  • Elderberries are naturally ‘dry’, tart, and low in sugar. Marie Rose’s Elderberry syrup contains 1/2 the sugar of a most syrups.
  • The black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is most suited to making medicine. Elderberries are high in antioxidants, which gives them natural anti-inflammatory and cell-protecting properties. Syrups made with fresh elderberries contain more antioxidants than dried berry syrups.
  • Elderberries are traditionally consumed by everyone, ages 0-101. Breastfeeding or pregnant moms, and even infants, can consume cooked elderberry syrups and juices.
  • A special cooking process ensures the safety of the elderberries in our syrups.
  • The traditional drying method of First Nations Peoples are another great way to safely process elderberries for consumption in the winter months.


Written byKalyn Kodiak, ClH