ELDERBERRY

OTHER NAME(S):

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, European Black Elderberry, 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.<br/><br/>

Overview

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.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

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.

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate elderberry for these uses.

Side Effects

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.

Interactions

Interactions?

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.<br/><br/> 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.

Dosing

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

ADULTS

BY MOUTH:

  • The flu: 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.
CHILDREN

BY MOUTH:
  • The flu: One tablespoon (15 mL) of a specific elderberry juice-containing syrup (Sambucol by Nature's Way) has been taken twice daily for 3 days.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • 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.
  • Bagchi D, Roy S, Patel V, He G, Khanna S, Ojha N, Phillips C, Ghosh S, Bagchi M, Sen CK. Safety and whole-body antioxidant potential of a novel anthocyanin-rich formulation of edible berries. Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Jan;281(1-2):197-209. 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.
  • 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: http://museum.gov.ns.ca/poison/?section=species&id=117 (Accessed 16 October 2009).
  • European elder. Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System. Available at: http://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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pathol Health Sci 2016;8(2) 59-66.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

More Resources for ELDERBERRY

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.

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