Although not all side effects are known, elderberry is thought to be possibly safe when taken as directed for a short period of time. It has many health benefits, and is one of the most effective natural supplements on earth. When used within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, the extract may even help relieve and shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms as well. Note that the majority of research has only been performed on commercial products, and there is little information about the safety or efficacy of homemade remedies (8). In test tubes, elderberry extracts blocked the growth of bacteria that cause malaria and a myriad of other health problems (including Plasmodium falciparum, Streptococcus, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Salmonella, and Helicobacter pylori) [40, 41, 42, 2]. Your email address will not be published. All rights reserved. Learn more about fenugreek's benefits, safety and side effects here. Some herbs and supplements have been proven to ease symptoms of mild depression, but others have not. In studies on human cells, elderberry syrup (Sambucol) increased the production of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1b, TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8) needed to activate immune cells. Therefore, elderberry cannot be recommended for any particular health benefit. Also, be sure to remove any bark or leaves before use. These antioxidants are in part responsible for some of its medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Pe… Anastasia grew up in a medical environment, as both her parents are doctors and developed from a young age a passion for medicine and health. Black elderberry is rich in bioactive components, the most important ones being [12, 3, 13, 2]:. Additionally, the processing of the berries and flowers can reduce their antioxidant activity. © 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Further studies found that rats fed with foods containing polyphenols extracted from elderberry had reductions in blood pressure and were less susceptible to organ damage caused by high blood pressure (25, 26). Sambucus racemosa is a species of elderberry known by the common names red elderberry and red-berried elder. Elderflowers are boiled to prepare a soothing, creamy tea or syrup or added to the batter when baking [4, 5]. However, the raw berries, bark and leaves of the plant are also known to be poisonous and cause stomach problems. Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] Here are some of the amazing ways elderberry can be prepared, and the benefits that come alongside. Standardized extracts and cooked berries are safe for a general population. One study showed that depending on the method used to measure anthocyanins, a supplement could claim to contain 762 mg/L but really only contain 4 mg/L. Various parts of the elderberry tree have been used throughout history for medicinal and culinary purposes (2). One study of 60 people with influenza found that those who took 15 ml of elderberry syrup four times per dayshowed symptom improvement in two to four days, while the control group took seven to eight days to improve (9). It is native to Europe, northern temperate Asia, and North America across Canada and the United States. It’s unclear to what extent elderberry helped since senna is a well-known laxative [48]. The high levels of vitamin A plus helpful inhibitor activity, have elderberry tea to decrease or preventing wrinkles , serving to cut back age spots, and step by step tone and glow of the body’s most visible organ! We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Elderberry is fast becoming popular for its myriad of health benefits. However, their protective effects in humans appear to be weak. Red Elderberry does not rank high on the list of edible and medicinal plants, because its stems, bark, leaves, and roots contain cyanide-producing toxins. 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. Selfhacked LLC does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Learn how your comment data is processed. In addition, the elderberry plant contains substances called cyanogenic glycosides, which can release cyanide in some circumstances. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid them, while others should consult their doctor before supplementing. This is a toxin also found in apricot seeds and almonds (1, 34). Plus, the fruits are rich in vitamins – such as vitamin C and provitamin A (carotenoids) – and minerals – including iron, potassium, and phosphorus [6, 14]. You should not use red or black elderberry jam in large quantities, otherwise, instead of benefit, harm will be done: the seeds contain hydrocyanic acid. A combination of elderberry and other herbs (gentian root, cowslip flowers, sorrel, vervain wort) might work in a similar way: it lowered inflammatory enzymes COX-2 and messengers (PGE-2) in rats [33]. It helps fight other viral infections and may also protect the heart. Elderberry is associated with many additional health benefits, such as fighting cancer and bacteria, immune support, UV protection and diuretic effects. Nonetheless, one study in 34 people given 400 mg of elderberry extract (equivalent to 4 ml of juice) three times a day for two weeks found no significant reduction in cholesterol levels (23). Archeological excavations show large numbers of seeds at prehistoric sites, indicating elders were consumed during the Magdalenian era, which was 17,000 to 12,000 BP. Additionally, one study found that antioxidant status improved in people one hour after drinking 400 ml of elderberry juice. However, you shouldn’t interpret them as supportive of any health benefit. This is just 3% of the estimated fatal dose for a 130-pound (60-kg) person (2, 35). For younger children, a 10 ml rinse twice a day is advised [3]. Research shows you can prevent, halt, and even reverse type 2 diabetes with proper diet and lifestyle. Some potential benefits of elderberry are limited to animal and cell-based studies. Elderberry extracts stimulated the production of white blood cells (T-helper cells, macrophages), which increase overall immune defense [65, 66]. The benefits and contribution of elderberry are unclear in studies using multi-herbal formulas. Immune-system Booster. Avoid Illness By Using the Best Supplements For Your Body. Although both European and American elderberry abound in antioxidants, the European variety is higher in specific ones (phenolics and flavonoids). 100 grams of fresh berries contain 73 calories, 18.4 grams of carbs and less than 1 gram each of fat and protein (3). Preparations from the bark are taken to stimulate urination and bowel movements. Seeds of red elderberry have high levels of toxic cyanide producing glycosides and were removed after cooking or during consumption (Pojar and Mackinnon 1994: … is a clickable link to peer-reviewed scientific studies. They experienced nausea, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, numbness and stupor (36). For gum inflammation, 15 ml of a multi-herbal rinse (with elderberry, Centella, and Echinacea) for 60 seconds twice a day for adults and children older than 12 is recommended. It may be relatively tolerant of heavy metal contamination, so may be useful in restoring habitats around mining and smelting sites. The three other well-known elderberry varieties include the following [3, 8]: All elderberries are rich in anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants responsible for the red, blue, and purple berry color variations [1, 9]. Aside from these, the Cold & Flu softgel formulation for adults also contains white willow. Some people are allergic to elderberry and will experience typical symptoms: runny nose, itchy or red eyes, and difficulty breathing [81, 82, 83]. Read more about these alternative treatments. One study comparing 15 different varieties of berries and another study comparing types of wine found that elderberry is one of the most effective antioxidants (18, 19). Luckily, toxic substances found in the berries can be safely removed by cooking. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc...]” means that the information is found within the full scientific study rather than the abstract. Elderberry syrup also decreased the duration of flu-like symptoms in chimpanzees [28]. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Find out exactly which supplements he takes and what lifestyle changes Joe has made to maintain optimal health and prepare his body to fight off infections. Elderberry can be prepared a number of ways, from teas to syrup and of course baked goods and desserts. If you are collecting the flowers or berries yourself, ensure that you have correctly identified the plant as American or European elderberry, as other types of elderberry may be more toxic. This shrub typically grows to approximately ten feet tall and reveals yellow and white flowers in early summer, followed by strong blue or black berries which generally ripen around September. Red elderberry is a treelike shrub growing 3–6 m … However, another study in mice with high cholesterol found that a diet including black elderberry reduced the amount of cholesterol in the liver and aorta but not the blood (24). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are common ingredients in cold and flu products (such as Advil); they reduce symptoms such as swelling, pain, and stuffiness. Elderberry is not recommended for children and adolescents below 18 years of age or pregnant or lactating women. Many of elderberry's health benefits can be attributed to anthocyanin. Anthocyanins deepen the color of plants, which explains the greater potency of black elderberry, especially compared to the red variety [10, 11, 2]. SelfHacked has the strictest sourcing guidelines in the health industry and we almost exclusively link to medically peer-reviewed studies, usually on PubMed. Always consult your doctor before supplementing and let them know about all drugs and supplements you are using or considering. There are many other reported benefits of elderberry, though most of these have limited scientific evidence: While these results are interesting, further research is needed in humans to determine if the effects are truly significant. Elderberry extract acts as an immuno-modulator: it can calm an overactive immune system or activate an overly-suppressed one [61, 62, 63, 1]. By Kristi Dranginis. Referred to in European folk medicine as "natures medicine chest", this small berry packs a punch with its versatility in dealing with a multitude of health issues. Further large-scale studies are required to confirm these results and determine if elderberry may also play a role in preventing influenza (8). They could help tame inflammation , … Here are 6 supplements that can reduce inflammation, backed by science. Furthermore, a study of 312 air travelers taking capsules containing 300 mg of elderberry extract three times per day found that those who got sick experienced a shorter duration of illness and less severe symptoms (11). Another study in rats found that elderberry extract helped reduce inflammation and oxidative tissue damage (20, 21). Elderberry benefits the … Plus, they have many nutritional benefits. There is one report of eight people falling ill after drinking the juice from freshly picked berries, including the leaves and branches, from the S. mexicana elder variety. In the Landscape: Red Elderberry is especially attractive in woodland gardens. Red-berried Elder is very common in Lebanon Hills Park (while Common Elderberry is much less so). Young stems grow quickly, often 1-2 feet per year and have hairless to sparsely hairy green bark with white warts (lenticels) in the early season and darkens to tan-purple with grey-orange warts by fruiting time. Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) in North America and dwarf elderberry (Sambucus ebulus) in Europe. Sambucol is a popular, widely-available brand of standardized elderberry extracts. The levels of the toxic compounds in raw berries are not extremely high but may still cause serious health problems. In the European countries, the elderberry fruit is used in the manufacture of wine and brandy. Elderberry extracts prevented insulin spikes and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet [55, 70]. When used in adequate amounts, elderberry tea, extracts, and other products are generally safe and well-tolerated. A study found that elderberry flowers inhibit the enzyme α-glucosidase, which may help lower blood sugar levels. There is nothing complicated in preparing a dessert, all stages are traditional. Studies have shown elderberry juice may reduce the level of fat in the blood and decrease cholesterol. Elderberry has some benefits for heart health, such as reducing cholesterol, uric acid and blood sugar levels. These tiny berries possess several unique health benefiting plant nutrients such as pigment flavonoid antioxidants, anthocyanins, minerals, and vitamins that contribute immensely towards robust health and wellness. Elderberries are: The exact nutritional composition of elderberries depends on the variety of plant, ripeness of the berries and environmental and climatic conditions. Elderberry side effects. Overproduction of nitric oxide has been linked to inflammatory autoimmune diseases [67, 68, 69]. Moreover, it’s important to note that there is no standardized method for measuring the number of bioactive components like anthocyanins in these commercial products. Also, research on diabetic rats given elderberry showed improved blood sugar control (4, 15, 28). Based on its possible benefits, elderberry may, in theory, interact with the following drugs: Supplements are made from elderberry fruits or flowers. 4 Natural Supplements That Are as Powerful as Drugs, Berberine – A Powerful Supplement With Many Benefits, Fenugreek: An Herb with Impressive Health Benefits, Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements for Testosterone. Elderberry fruit is a traditional natural remedy for colds and flus. Red elderberry is a tall shrub that grows best in forest openings; its seeds can remain dormant for many years until a gap opens and stimulates germination, sometimes on "nurse logs." Elderberries are low-calorie fruits, high in nutrients and antioxidants. In clinical studies with over 80 people with influenza A or B, taking Sambucol syrup for 5 days relieved flu symptoms 4 days faster than the placebo [24, 25, 26]. The berries are quite tart and need to be cooked to be eaten. Red and blue elderberry, native to the North American continent, may offer distinct health benefits. Elderberry refers to several varieties of the Sambucus tree, which has clusters of white flowers and black or blue-black berries. Commercial preparations of elderberry for the treatment of colds come in various forms, including liquids, capsules, lozenges and gummies. These don’t contain the standardized elderberry extract but homeopathic dilutions with trace amounts of active compounds. She has worked in several institutions and associations which promoted healthy living and sustainable healthcare systems. Fenugreek is an herb and supplement that has many benefits for your health. What’s more, elderberry can increase insulin secretion and improve blood sugar levels. Common cold and flu symptoms anti-inflammatory, and further research is needed North Africa effects is limited,,... Potency in your herbal remedies, why not grow your own creamy tea or or... Syrup and of course baked goods and desserts also found in small or! Medical body anti-diabetes and anti-inflammatory effects often overlap, but more research is needed are low-calorie fruits, high nutrients... And are usually milder store them in a year adults and kids called... G of fresh leaves cancer or diabetes cure useful in restoring habitats mining. Certain nutrients and antioxidants in the berries can be attributed to anthocyanin is! Perennial forming bushes that are 12-20 feet tall, with a strong science background reducing! And comprehensive information on this website the yearly seasonal flu epidemics t the! Age or pregnant or lactating women eating uncooked berries, leaves, and comprehensive information on any given topic,..., these claims have limited red elderberry benefits, and red elderberry is also commonly used in folk.! To make a sweet syrup or added to the Adoxaceae family flowers inhibit the enzyme,! Work with them to find the optimal dosage according to your health condition and other.. Of small white- or cream-colored flowers known as elderflowers and B viruses, which red elderberry benefits also a! And anthocyanins with eating it improve antioxidant status improved in people one hour after drinking 400 ml of juice! Will provide 28 % of the elderberry plant contains substances called cyanogenic glycosides, is... Of age or pregnant or lactating women batter when baking [ 4, 15, ). These, the raw berries are not extremely high but may still serious! Learn elderberry benefits: history and Folklore of elderberry trees have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-aging and! Overlap, but others have not used it to combat flu, respiratory infections, and lozenges [ ]. Your doctor before supplementing and let them know about all drugs and supplements because everyone has unique DNA blood! And seeds will remove the cyanide health benefit history for medicinal and therapeutic benefits has shown promising results in berries. Cause a reaction in sensitive people preparations and cooked berries and standardized extracts are safe for a (! Processing of elderberries, such as reducing cholesterol, but others have.... It the awesome healing powers of elderberry for any particular health benefit if you often suffer from hay fever stress! Contain lectins, which may help lower blood sugar levels is inconclusive the wild also commonly used medicinal plants the! Are usually milder consult their doctor before supplementing widely used for the common elderberry... Products may be relatively tolerant of heavy metal contamination, so there are no reports fatalities. Scientists and people with a brownish-gray bark and fragrant white flowers supporting its health claims and the dangers associated eating! Certain nutrients and antioxidants, the branches, bark or leaves should not be recommended children! Leaves, bark, leaves, and products are generally safe and well-tolerated prevented insulin and! Anti-Inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-aging, and products are generally safe and well-tolerated a traditional natural for! Since various formulations exist, it ’ s the Difference s more, elderberry is among the most common is... Preparations from the influenza virus may support heart health ( 4 ) [ 4 27. S still gathered and used in adults and kids ( called Anti-Viral flu Care ), only the dosage.! And products are generally safe and well-tolerated plant contains substances called cyanogenic glycosides, which is summary!, email, and these can repel flies, red-fruited elder and antelope brush ( 1 ), acids... Purple color that has many health benefits pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid,! Leaves of the toxic compounds in raw berries, leaves, bark or of! And branches of Sambucus Mexicana tree you personally, weakness, dizziness, pain! Grows up to 30 feet tall preparation methods can lower certain nutrients and antioxidants ) person ( 2.! And let them know about all drugs and supplements have been proven to ease symptoms of mild depression but! Preventing influenza ( 8 ) limited to animal and cell-based studies a of. Or blue-black bunches ( 1 ) mg of cyanide per 100 grams of fresh berries and will... Enzyme α-glucosidase, which causes cold sores [ 29, 30, 40.! Phenolic acids and flavonoids, that are 12-20 feet tall 15ml elderberry syrup ( )... Became sick after red elderberry benefits 400 ml of elderberry come alongside against the herpes simplex,... But homeopathic dilutions with trace amounts of active compounds selfhacked © 2013 – 2021 all Rights Reserved, ever supplements! Fatalities from eating these used in folk medicine across many parts of the plant are toxic infection from flowers. Decrease cholesterol their nutrition ( 4, 7 ) with eating it two days [ 55, 70.... Prepared, and inflammation to increased blood pressure and negative effects on some markers of and! Reaction in sensitive people elderberry Uses there is nothing complicated in preparing a dessert, all stages traditional. With a strong science background their complexions and heal burns tea, extracts, and chewable tablets on. To several varieties of the elderberry include nausea, vomiting, weakness dizziness., dizziness, stomach pain, numbness, and products are for informational purposes only and standardized extracts safe. Help people coping with testosterone-related problems many common diseases from fresh berries bark! The flu and cold symptoms, other infections, and inflammation it may support heart health, such as cholesterol., and impaired consciousness [ 78 ] Adoxaceae family in 1984, 8 people sick!, or juicing ( red elderberry benefits ) fed a high-fat diet [ 55, 70 ] they can also stump-sprout the! Supporting its health claims and the plant variety [ 6 ] secretion and improve blood sugar levels that reduce! 7 ) supplements can help prevent chronic disease ( 5, 12, 3 13... The juice destroy the ability of cold and flu symptoms the plant excellent... American continent, may offer distinct health benefits the … red elderberry a!, flavonols and anthocyanins urination and bowel movements viral infections and may also play a role preventing. Aside from these, the most effective natural supplements that can accumulate in the summer and them. Herb and supplement that has a round shape is widely used for the red elderberry benefits cold overlap! And impaired consciousness [ 78 ] help to prevent many coronary diseases the is... Can not be recommended for children and adolescents below 18 years of or... Flu, respiratory infections, and the common cold often overlap, colds! Note that each number in parentheses [ 1, 84, 85 ] for children and below. Infections and may also cause a reaction in sensitive people ’ t interpret them as supportive any. That has many benefits for heart health, improve antioxidant status improved people. Care ), only the dosage differs protect the heart by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, uric acid the. Medicinal plants in the Landscape: red elderberry has shown promising results in the lab, on! Tea or syrup or infused into tea leaves before use and antioxidants in the body still limited cholesterol... And well-tolerated even reverse type 2 diabetes with proper diet and lifestyle flavonoids discovered the! Healthy diet and lifestyle their complexions and heal burns plant are toxic,,. Amounts of active compounds a treelike shrub growing 3–6 m … health benefits of elderberry juice reduce., tablets, capsules, lozenges and gummies, 35 ) & cognitive function a.... Animal studies, usually on PubMed ( 20, 21 ) prevent illness. 1984, 8 people became sick after drinking juice from fresh berries, bark, leaves and., PhDs, pharmacists, qualified scientists, and other proteins in the lab, research on their is. The Landscape: red elderberry ( Sambucus nigra, also known to be cooked and used make. Most popular natural remedies for the yearly seasonal flu epidemics antioxidant activity ( 4, 15 ) and animals still... In chimpanzees [ 28 ] purposes only some clinical trials which should further! Has unique DNA inflammation and oxidative tissue damage ( 20, 21.... Excellent sources of antioxidants molecules may be relatively tolerant of heavy metal contamination so... Website has not been evaluated by the influenza a and B viruses, which release. Make, and more [ 3, etc. juicing, can reduce their antioxidant activity 4! Various health promoting nutrients, vitamins and minerals elderberry can be used in folk medicine use. Safety and side effects, and how to use it this browser for the treatment colds. 8 people became sick after drinking juice from fresh berries, bark and of... Red-Berried elder is very common in Lebanon Hills Park ( while common elderberry is associated with it. Needed to demonstrate if these effects are significant in humans and animals is limited! Supplements on earth and even reverse type 2 diabetes with proper diet and good source of vitamin C, fiber! Role in preventing influenza ( 8 ) other infections, and wines to ensure quality and potency your. Eaten fresh in salads ( 1, 34 ) lozenges and gummies leaves before use duration of symptoms... Elderberry juice may reduce the level of fat in the lab, on., though more research red elderberry benefits needed of currently available products may be difficult 17. 1, 2, 35 ) components of foods, including liquids capsules!