Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Find a Vitamin or Supplement

ELDERBERRY

Other Names:

Arbre de Judas, Baccae, Baises de Sureau, Black-Berried Alder, Black Elder, Black Elderberry, Boor Tree, Bountry, Elder, Common Elder. Elder Berry, Elderberries, Elderberry Fruit, Ellanwood, Ellhorn, European Alder, European Black Elder, Europea...
See All Names

ELDERBERRY Overview
ELDERBERRY Uses
ELDERBERRY Side Effects
ELDERBERRY Interactions
ELDERBERRY Dosing
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.

ELDERBERRY Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • “The flu,” also called influenza. A specific syrup containing elderberry juice (Sambucol, Nature’s Way) taken by mouth seems to reduce the symptoms and length of flu symptoms when given 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.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Cancer.
  • Constipation.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
  • H1N1 "swine" flu.
  • Hay fever.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate elderberry for these uses.


ELDERBERRY Side Effects & Safety

Taking an elderberry juice extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when used for up to five days. It’s not known if taking elderberry juice extract is safe when used for long periods of time. 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.

ELDERBERRY Interactions What is this?

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.


ELDERBERRY Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • 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.

See 20 Reviews for this Treatment - OR -

Review this Treatment

Learn about User Reviews and read IMPORTANT information about user generated content

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

Search for a Vitamin or Supplement

Ex. Ginseng, Vitamin C, Depression

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Couple in bed
Article
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
Related Newsletters

Stay Informed with the latest must-read information delivered right to your inbox.

IMPORTANT: About This Section and Other User-Generated Content on WebMD

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.