Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Western and Central Asia. It has long been touted as an excellent aid for immune and respiratory health. Elderberry also boasts high antioxidant activity, as seen in multiple studies.
We recommend taking this immune-boosting herb prophylactically during cold and flu season or at the onset of sickness as it can help quicken the healing process.
Traditionally, elderberry fruit and leaves have been used to boost immune system function and both contain numerous compounds that can have immune-priming effects. In several double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, positive results have shown its effectiveness in lessening the duration of illness and the severity of symptoms.
The bioactive components of elderberry include the flavonoid anthocyanin. Elderberry extracts can increase healthy cytokine production, including IL-8 and IL-10, pathways used in the body to excrete harmful invaders.
Since elderberry enhances immune cell killers, this can be problematic for those who are already dealing with high levels of inflammation and autoimmune disease.
If you have an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis or hypothyroidism, I (Dr. Warren) wouldn’t recommend this product. You don’t want to boost your immune system in this way and enhance its destruction in your body.
However, for the general public, elderberry is an excellent product and an effective way to boost your immune system’s defenses against viral infections.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- The American Botanical Council. The ABC Clinical Guide to Elder Berry. 2004;http://abc.herbalgram.org/site/DocServer/Elderberry-scr.pdf?docID=165.
- Monograph. Sambucus nigra (elderberry).Altern MedRevMar 2005;10(1):51-54.
- Barak V, Birkenfeld S, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of herbal remedies on the production of human inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. IsrMedAssoc J2002; 4(11 Suppl):919-22.
Always be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplement when pregnant or nursing. For children, we recommend speaking with your child's pediatrician regarding proper dosing. Store away from children.
If loose stools occur, stop use and notify your healthcare practitioner.