Arbre de Judas, Baccae, Baises de Sureau, Black-Berried Alder, Black Elder, Black Elderberry, Boor Tree, Bountry, Common Elder, Elder, Elder Berry, Elderberries, Elderberry Fruit, Ellanwood, Ellhorn, European Alder, European Black Elder, European Black Elderberry, European Elder, European Elderberry, European Elder Fruit, European Elderberry, Fruit de Sureau, Grand Sureau, Hautbois, Holunderbeeren, Sabugeuiro-negro, Sambequier, Sambu, Sambuc, Sambuci Sambucus, Sambucus nigra, Sambugo, Sauco, Saúco Europeo, Schwarzer Holunder, Seuillet, Seuillon, Sureau, Sureau Européen, Sureau Noir, Sus, Suseau, Sussier.
Overview InformationElderberry is the dark purple berry from the European elder tree. The berries are used to make medicine. Do not confuse elderberry with American Elder, Elderflower, or Dwarf Elder.
Some people take elderberry by mouth for the common cold, flu (influenza), and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Cooked elderberries are used for making wine and tea, and also pies, jellies, and jams.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): While elderberry may have some benefit for the common cold and flu, there is no good evidence to support using it for COVID-19. Follow healthy lifestyle choices and proven prevention methods instead.
How does it work?Elderberry might affect the immune system. Elderberry seems to have activity against viruses including the flu.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Flu (influenza). A specific elderberry juice syrup seems to reduce flu symptoms when taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms. But some research shows that it might not be helpful in some people, such as those with lung conditions or children under 12 years of age. Taking elderberry lozenges within 24 hours of the first symptoms may also reduce flu symptoms.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Heart disease. Early research shows that taking elderberry extract daily for 12 weeks does not reduce risk factors for heart disease in postmenopausal women.
- Common cold. Early research shows that taking a specific type of elderberry extract for 10 days before traveling and for up to 5 days after arriving at an overseas travel destination does not prevent colds from developing. But it might shorten the length of a cold and reduce cold symptoms.
- High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Early research shows that taking capsules containing dried elderberry three times daily for 2 weeks does not reduce cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
- A lung disease that makes it harder to breathe (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD).
- A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis).
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
- Hay fever.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyWhen taken by mouth: Elderberry is LIKELY SAFE when used in amounts found in foods. Elderberry extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 12 weeks. There isn't enough reliable information to know if it is safe to use elderberry extract for more than 12 weeks.
It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to consume elder leaves or stems, or unripe or uncooked elderberries. Cooked elderberry seems to be safe, but raw and unripe fruit might cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Children: Elderberry is POSSIBLY SAFE in children 12 years of age or older when taken by mouth for up to 10 days. There isn't enough reliable information to know if it is safe for children younger than 12 years of age to take elderberry.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if elderberry is safe to use when pregnant or 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.
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:
- For the flu (influenza): One tablespoon (15 mL) of a specific elderberry juice-containing syrup (Sambucol by Nature's Way) has been taken four times daily for 3-5 days. Also, a specific lozenge (ViraBLOC by HerbalScience) containing 175 mg of elderberry extract has been taken four times daily for 2 days. Also, one teaspoon (5 mL) of a product containing echinacea and elderberry (Echinaforce Hot Drink by A. Vogel Bioforce AG) mixed with 150 mL of hot water has been taken five times daily for 3 days, then three times daily for 7 days.
- For the flu (influenza): One tablespoon (15 mL) of a specific elderberry juice-containing syrup (Sambucol by Nature's Way) has been taken twice daily for 3 days. Also, one teaspoon (5 mL) of a product containing echinacea and elderberry (Echinaforce Hot Drink by A. Vogel Bioforce AG) mixed with 150 mL of hot water has been taken five times daily for 3 days, then three times daily for 7 days.
- Azadmehr A, Ziaee A, Ghanei L, Fallah Huseini H, Hajiaghaee R, Tavakoli-Far B, Kordafshari G. A Randomized Clinical Trial Study: Anti-Oxidant, Anti-hyperglycemic and Anti-Hyperlipidemic Effects of Olibanum Gum in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Iran J Pharm Res. 2014 Summer;13(3):1003-9. View abstract.
- Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. Eur Cytokine Netw 2001;12:290-6.. View abstract.
- Bitsch I, Janssen M, Netzel M, et al. Bioavailability of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides following consumption of elderberry extract and blackcurrant juice. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther 2004;42:293-300. View abstract.
- Cao G, Prior RL. Anthocyanins are detected in human plasma after oral administration of an elderberry extract. Clin Chem 1999;45:574-6. View abstract.
- Chrubasik C, Maier T, Dawid C, et al. An observational study and quantification of the actives in a supplement with Sambucus nigra and Asparagus officinalis used for weight reduction. Phytother Res 2008;22:913-8. View abstract.
- Cunha S, Meireles D, Machado J. Sambucus nigra - a promising natural source for human health. Exp Pathol Health Sci. 2016;8(2):59-66.
- Curtis PJ, Kroon PA, Hollands WJ, et al. Cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers and liver and kidney function are not altered in postmenopausal women after ingesting an elderberry extract rich in anthocyanins for 12 weeks. J Nutr 2009;139:2266-71. View abstract.
- Elderberry (Sambucus species). The Poison Plant Patch, Novia Scotia Museum, 2007. Available at: https://museum.gov.ns.ca/poison/?section=species&id=117 (Accessed 16 October 2009).
- Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
- European elder. Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System. Available at: https://www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/pp/ppack.jump?p_null=all&p_psn=121&p_type=all&p_sci=comm&p_x=px (Accessed 16 October 2009).
- Forster-Waldl E, Marchetti M, Scholl I, Focke M, et al. Type I allergy to elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is elicited by a 33.2 kDa allergen with significant homology to ribosomal inactivating proteins. Clin Exp Allergy 2003;33:1703-10. View abstract.
- Frank T, Janssen M, Netzet G, Christian B, Bitsch I, Netzel M. Absorption and excretion of elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) anthocyanins in healthy humans. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Oct;29(8):525-33. View abstract.
- Frank T, Sonntag S, Strass G, Bitsch I, Bitsch R, Netzel M. Urinary pharmacokinetics of cyanidin glycosides in healthy young men following consumption of elderberry juice. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 2005;25(2):47-56. View abstract.
- Grbic J, Wexler I, Celenti R, et al. A phase II trial of a transmucosal herbal patch for the treatment of gingivitis. J Am Dent.Assoc. 2011;142:1168-75. View abstract.
- Kirichenko TV, Sobenin IA, Markina YV, et al. Clinical effectiveness of a combination of black elder berries, violet herb, and calendula flowers in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the results of a double-blinded placebo-controlled study. Biology (Basel). 2020;9(4):83. doi: 10.3390/biology9040083. View abstract.
- Kong F. Pilot clinical study on a proprietary elderberry extract: efficacy in addressing influenza symptoms. Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics 2009;5:32-43.
- Kunitz S, Melton RJ, Updyke T, et al. Poisoning from elderberry juice. MMWR 1984;33:173-4.
- Macknin M, Wolski K, Negrey J, Mace S. Elderberry extract outpatient influenza treatment for emergency room patients ages 5 and above: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Sep 14. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06170-w. View abstract.
- Murkovic M. Abuja PM, Bergmann AR, et al. Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004;58:244-9. View abstract.
- No author. Leads from the MMWR. Poisoning from elderberry juice. JAMA 1984;251:2075. View abstract.
- Picon PD, Picon RV, Costa AF, et al. Randomized clinical trial of a phytotherapic compound containing Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Sambucus nigra, and Cassia augustifolia for chronic constipation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010;10:17. View abstract.
- Raus K, Pleschka S, Klein P, Schoop R, Fisher P. Effect of an echinacea-based hot drink versus oseltamivir in Influenza treatment: a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, multicenter, noninferiority clinical trial. . Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2015;20;77:66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.curtheres.2015.04.001. View abstract.
- Roschek B, Fink RC, McMichael MD, et al. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry 2009;70:1255-61. View abstract.
- Samuels N, Grbic JT, Saffer AJ, et al. Effect of an herbal mouth rinse in preventing periodontal inflammation in an experimental gingivitis model: a pilot study. Compend.Contin.Educ.Dent. 2012;33:204-11. View abstract.
- Samuels N, Saffer A, Wexler ID, et al. Localized reduction of gingival inflammation using site-specific therapy with a topical gingival patch. J.Clin.Dent. 2012;23:64-7. View abstract.
- Schroder-Aasen T, Molden G, Nilsen OG. In vitro inhibition of CYP3A4 by the multiherbal commercial product Sambucus Force and its main constituents Echinacea purpurea and Sambucus nigra. Phytother Res 2012;26(11):1606-13. View abstract.
- Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 24;8(4). pii: E182. View abstract.
- Van Damme EJ, Roy S, Barre A, et al. The major elderberry (Sambucus nigra) fruit protein is a lectin derived from a truncated type 2 ribosome-inactivating protein. Plant J 1997;12:1251-60. View abstract.
- Viapiana A, Wesolowski M. The phenolic contents and antioxidant activities of infusions of Sambucus nigra L. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2017;72(1):82-7. View abstract.
- Vlachojannis JE, Cameron M, Chrubasik S. A systematic review on the sambuci fructus effect and efficacy profiles. Phytother Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):1-8. View abstract.
- Wu X, Cao G, Prior RL. Absorption and metabolism of anthocyanins in elderly women after consumption of elderberry or blueberry. J Nutr 2002;132:1865-71. View abstract.
- Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res 2004;32:132-40. View abstract.
- Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med 1995;1:361-9. View abstract.
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