Health Benefits of Elderberry

Elderberries are dark purple fruits from the elderberry bush.It is rich in antioxidants, known as anthocyanin.

Some believe that elderberries are effective in treating the common cold, flu, constipation, hay fever, and sinus infections. It is also claimed to be useful for toothaches, sciatica and burns. Some of these claims have more evidence than others.

European elderberry (Black elderberry, black elderberry) is the most commonly used shrub species in supplements. But other older species also produce anthocyanin-rich berries. There are several elderberry supplement options and preparations. You can find them sold in gummies, lozenges, syrups, teas, and more.

This article will discuss elderberries and whether they have health benefits. You’ll learn how to take it and possible side effects, including some important warnings. This article will also describe possible interactions that can occur if you take elderberry with other supplements or medications.

health benefits

Many of the health benefits of elderberry are related to anthocyanins.

These substances are said to:

  • Works by scavenging free radicals in the body that damage cells at the DNA level
  • Has antiviral properties that can prevent or reduce the severity of some common infections
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties and modulates the body’s immune response

colds and flu

Elderberry syrup has been used for centuries as a home remedy for colds and flu caused by viruses. There are some researchers who believe that syrup can reduce the severity and duration of certain infections, and some evidence from small studies supports this claim.

A 2019 study of elderberries for colds and flu showed that the fruit greatly reduced upper respiratory symptoms.

In 2016, Australian scientists studied the effects of elderberries on a group of airline passengers.them 312 passengers on long-haul flights were studied.

The scientists reported that passengers who used the elderberry extract 10 days before and 5 days after the flight had 50% fewer days sick with colds than those who didn’t. In addition, passengers using elderberries had milder colds based on scores for upper respiratory symptoms.

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What elderberry doesn’t seem to do is reduce the risk of colds. The number of infections was more or less the same in the elderberry and placebo groups.

A 2012 study showed that elderberries may help prevent flu infections by stimulating an immune response.

Natural and herbal cold and flu treatments

relief the pain

Anthocyanins are known to reduce inflammation. Those in elderberries do this by preventing the body’s immune cells from producing nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide acts as a signaling molecule to trigger inflammation, such as when you are injured or sick. By slowing this response, pain and swelling may be reduced.

Topical elderberry tinctures and salves have long been used in folk medicine to treat:

  • toothache
  • reduce
  • bruises
  • Burns

Few studies have investigated the anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving benefits of elderberries in humans.

prevent disease

Some alternative healthcare providers say elderberry has antioxidant properties. They believe elderberries can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

While a diet rich in antioxidants does provide such benefits, no studies have specifically linked elderberry intake to these disease outcomes.

possible side effects

Ripe, cooked elderberries are considered safe if you eat them in moderation. If you eat too many elderberries, you can experience diarrhea, stomach pain, and abdominal cramps. If elderberry is used as an alternative medicine, you should only eat the ripe or dried berries.


Certain parts of the elderberry plant contain a poison called Cyanoside. These include leaves, roots, bark and stems, and unripe raw berries. If you chew unripe elderberries, cyanide can be released into your body. Even ripe berries contain trace amounts, so elderberries must Cooked before you eat. Raw berries can make you sick.

Elderberry poisoning is rarely life-threatening. But it may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, numbness, bloating, and difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms after consuming elderberry extract or unripe fruit.

Elderberry is not recommended for children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers. Although no adverse events were reported in these groups, there were insufficient data to determine whether it was safe long-term.

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medicine interactions

Elderberry extract could theoretically interact with medications designed to suppress the immune system, so it could interfere with their ability to work effectively.

Examples include:

  • CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil)
  • corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Imulin (Azathioprine)
  • OKT3 (muromonab-CD3)
  • Prograf (tacrolimus)
  • Rapamin (Sirolimus)
  • Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
  • Simulect (basiliximab)
  • Zenapax (daclizumab)

Elderberries may stimulate the immune system. For this reason, people with autoimmune disorders should not use elderberry medication without guidance from a healthcare provider.

Dosage and Preparation

Elderberries have long been cultivated for food and to make natural medicines. Elderberry natural medicines come in many forms, including:

  • syrup
  • Tea
  • capsule
  • fondant
  • tonic
  • tincture
  • topical ointment

Ripe berries are tart and usually sweet (like cranberries).

Treatment should begin within 48 hours of the first cold or flu symptoms. As a general rule, you should not take more than the dosage recommended by the product manufacturer.

Many commercial syrup manufacturers recommend taking 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of elderberry syrup 4 times a day for cold or flu symptoms. Elderberry lozenges (175 mg) can be taken twice daily.

Remember, elderberries should never be used as a substitute for traditional medical care. Self-treatment of illnesses and delays in standard medical care can have serious consequences.


Experts recommend taking elderberry supplements no later than 48 hours after the first sign of symptoms. Never take more than the dosage recommended by the manufacturer.

what to look for

Elderberry-based medicines are classified as dietary supplements by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).Under this classification, they are not intended as treat for any medical condition. Because supplements do not need to undergo rigorous research or testing, their quality can vary widely.

To ensure quality and safety, only buy supplements certified by independent certifiers, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab.

safety warning

If you eat fresh berries, be sure to buy them from a reputable source. It is absolutely unsafe to eat unknown berries in nature. This is because you are unaware of the potentially dangerous effects of wild fruit. Seek immediate medical attention if you eat unnamed berries and experience adverse side effects.


Elderberry is a fruit that some people claim to treat a variety of ailments. They believe elderberries are helpful for the common cold or flu. Some people think it can also help with pain and constipation.

You can take elderberry supplements in many forms, including gummies, syrups, teas, and capsules. Elderberries should only be eaten when they are ripe or dried. Raw berries can make you sick.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is elderberry most commonly used for?

    Elderberries are most commonly used as a cough syrup. Research suggests that elderberry syrup may help prevent and treat upper respiratory symptoms of colds and flu.

  • Is it safe to take elderberry every day?

    Commercially prepared elderberry syrup and supplements are generally considered safe and can be safely taken daily in the amounts listed on the supplement’s label. However, homemade elderberry syrup—sometimes sold as artisan, artisan, or small batches—should be used with caution, as it may contain small amounts of cyanide. Commercially produced elderberry supplements do not contain cyanide and should be safe to take daily.

  • How should I store fresh elderberries?

    Elderberries are best stored in the refrigerator if not eaten right away.

  • How do you make elderberry syrup?

    Elderberry syrup can be made from dried elderberries and is available online and at specialty health food stores.

    To make syrup:

    1. Combine 2 cups dried elderberries with 4 cups cold distilled water in a heavy saucepan.
    2. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring regularly.
    3. Remove from heat and soak for 1 hour. Strain mixture into a generously sized cup covered with cheesecloth, reserving liquid and discarding used berries.
    4. Allow syrup to cool, then whisk in 1 cup honey. Pour the mixture into a sterilized container.
    5. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to three months.