ELDERBERRY Overview Information
Elderberry is a plant. The berries are used to make medicine. Do not confuse elderberry with American Elder, Elderflower, or Dwarf Elder.
Elderberry is used for “the flu” (influenza), H1N1 "swine" flu, HIV/AIDS, and boosting the immune system. It is also used for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) .
Some people use elderberry for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), cancer, as a laxative for constipation, to increase urine flow, and to cause sweating.
Elderberry fruit is also used for making wine and as a food flavoring.
How does it work?
Elderberry might affect the immune system. Elderberry seems to have activity against viruses including the flu, and might reduce inflammation.
Possibly Effective for:
- “The flu,” also called influenza. A specific syrup containing elderberry juice (Sambucol, Nature’s Way) seems to relieve flu symptoms and reduce the length of time the flu lasts when taken by mouth within 24-48 hours of the first symptoms. Some research also shows that an elderberry lozenge (ViraBLOC, HerbalScience) also reduces symptoms of the flu. Symptom relief seems to occur within 2 to 4 days of treatment for most people.
- Heart disease. Early evidence shows that taking elderberry extract daily for 12 weeks does not reduce symptoms of heart disease in postmenopausal women.
- High cholesterol. Early evidence shows that taking capsules containing dried elderberry three times daily for 2 weeks does not reduce cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
- Nerve pain.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- H1N1 "swine" flu.
- Hay fever.
- Other conditions.
ELDERBERRY Side Effects & Safety
Taking an elderberry juice extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 12 weeks. It’s not known if taking elderberry juice extract is safe when used for long periods of time.
Elderberry is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when the leaves, stems, unripened fruit, or uncooked fruit is consumed. The cooked elderberry fruit seems to be safe, but raw and unripe fruit might cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using elderberry during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
“Autoimmune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Elderberry might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using elderberry.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with ELDERBERRY
Elderberry can increase the immune system. Taking elderberry along with some medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- The flu: one tablespoon (15 mL) 4 times daily of a specific elderberry juice-containing syrup (Sambucol, Nature’s Way) daily for 3-5 days. A dose of 15 mL (1 tablespoon) twice daily for 3 days has been used in children. A specific elderberry lozenge (ViraBLOC, HerbalScience) 175 mg 4 times daily for 2 days.