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Can you Rely on Elderberry Supplements for Relieving Symptoms of a Common Cold or the Flu?


Elderberry has been used for centuries by herbal remedy believers for treating various ailments including hemorrhoids and even insect bites. These solid believers do indicate that the elderberry is useful in boosting the body's immune system to help you in fighting against diseases. Some recent studies have also shown that elderberry in it’s supplement form could be used as a remedy for treating the common cold as well as flu.

However, before we clear out whether these beliefs are true or not, let’s learn more about this miraculous tiny berry, the elderberry.

What is Elderberry?

Elderberry is a flowering shrub species that are seen in Europe and North America. This family of plants produce tiny berries that are usually available in dark colors like black, purple, or blue. The elderberry has been used in plenty of things other than medicines throughout centuries. In medieval Europe, people believe that elderberries could promote longevity.

Native Americans used the fruits and flowers of elderberries for treating fever and pain, while the branches and twigs were utilized for constructing arrow shafts, flutes, and baskets.

Elderberries are very well-known for their medicinal properties, but they could also turn out to be toxic if they are consumed raw. Hence, elderberries should only be consumed after cooking them.

Elderberries possess a tart flavor and they are used in making:

  • Pies
  • Wines
  • Sauces
  • Jellies
  • Jams

You would even find elderberry being used in various commercial products like:

  • Teas
  • Supplements
  • Syrups
  • Lozenges
  • Gummies

Health Benefits of Elderberry

Elderberry is an antioxidant, and this is the reason why most of its health benefits could be attributed to anthocyanin. It clears the body from all the free radicals that could damage the cells present in the body at the DNA level. The severity of several common infections is also reduced because of its antiviral properties. Due to the anti-inflammatory effects, it is pretty useful for reducing swelling and also improving the body's immunity.

Can Elderberry help in treating a cold and flu?

The evidence is still not solid, but the current research seems to indicate that using an elderberry supplement might contain properties that are useful to fight off the flu virus and also ease flu and cold symptoms. Elderberry syrup has been used as a common home remedy for centuries to alleviate flu and the common cold symptoms. It has been believed that if the syrup is taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms, it would reduce the severity as well as the duration of the infection. To support this claim, several studies and researches have taken place.

Benefits of Elderberry

For instance, the antimicrobial properties of liquid elderberry extract were tested in a laboratory in a 2011 study. From this study, it had been found that the extract was capable of preventing the growth of certain types of influenza (flu) viruses and strep bacteria. Similarly, a 2012 test-tube study indicated that elderberry supplements possessed certain properties that could help in fighting off the common cold and flu.

A study had been conducted in Australia in 2016 among 312 long-haul airline passengers. As per this study, the passengers who had used elderberry extract 10 days prior to the flight, as well as 5 days after their flight, had 50% fewer sick days that were resulted from the common cold as compared to the passengers who didn't use it.

The people who didn’t consume elderberry extract had to go through more severe colds as well as for longer durations as compared to the passengers who had consumed it.

As per a 2018 research review, it had been found that elderberry supplements were capable of relieving the upper respiratory systems like:

  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose

This study was only conducted among a group of 180 people. A larger crowd study needs to be tested to evaluate whether it works the same for most people or not.

As recent as a study in February 2021, it was noted that the flavonoids that are found in the Elderberry has a potential role in the modulation of signaling pathways that are crucial for COVID-19 disease, particularly those related to inflammation and immunity.

The identification of agents, including naturally occurring substances such as flavonoids, represents a great approach potentially utilizable in the management of COVID-19. Although not clinically investigated yet, the applicability of flavonoids against COVID-19 could be a promising strategy due to a broad spectrum of their biological activities.

So What is Elderberry Used for?

Elderberry has been used for centuries in medicinal purposes. People continue to look for the best elderberry supplement available, that can help in treating not only cold and flu symptoms, but also other issues like:

  • Toothaches
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches
  • Hay fever
  • Constipation
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • High cholesterol
  • Sinus infections

Are there Any side effects of Elderberries?

There is not much information available regarding the safety of consuming elderberry supplements. But mostly, this supplement is considered to be safe if they are consumed as per the package instructions. Some of the serious side effects of elderberries if they are eaten raw are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

In its raw form only, if too many elderberries are consumed raw, it has the potential to be fatal. Such scenarios could be easily avoided by cooking elderberries before consuming them.

Final Thoughts

As per these referenced studies, it has been evaluated that elderberry in its supplement form is useful for treating upper respiratory symptoms that are related to the cold and flu. With all that this tiny berry has to offer It might even be possible to reduce the severity of these symptoms by consuming elderberry early-on in your symptoms.

A reliable 3rd party tested source of elderberry supplements can be found at More Natural Healing. Here are 2 formulas from which to choose, each targeting these symptoms mentioned here are more!


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Our blog post is a collaborative effort by the founders of More Natural Healing in conjunction with Editors of Renewed Health Alliance, and our board of advisors including doctors, herbalists, and experts in using natural herbs and supplements to enhance our daily lives. We only provide information that has been researched, validated, and vetted for our posts and includes validation from experts in the herbal community.

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