What Is Elderberry Good For?

Given the severity of this year’s flu season, many people are expressing a new interest into the health benefits of elderberry.  So, what is elderberry good for?  Besides being a powerful antioxidant that is about 3 times as potent as blueberry, elderberry has been used for centuries for a host of ailments, but most notably for treating the flu.  As far back as the 4th century BC, Hippocrates referred to this berry as his “medicine chest” for this reason.


In the last several decades, there has been extensive research on European Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and its impact on those suffering from the flu.  Here is a brief summary of research that has answered the question, "What is elderberry good for?"

  • In vitro studies have shown that Sambucus nigra elderberry inhibits the growth of the flu virus.
  • Multiple studies have shown that elderberry is good for reducing the duration of the flu by as much as 3 days.
  • Sambucus nigra was shown to boost the body’s production of cytokines (a chemical messenger that is critical to the immune system) by 2 to 45 times!
  • Another study showed that Sambucus nigra elderberry was as effective at treating the flu as prescription drugs such as Tamiflu, but without the disastrous side effects associated with that drug.

Sambucus nigra elderberry is available as a syrup, liquid extract, capsules, or lozenges, and is best taken at the first sign of symptoms.  All of them deliver the elderberry your body needs if you have the flu, so just choose the form that suits you best.

Keep in mind, there is no silver bullet for the flu.  If you get the flu, consider elderberry supplementation to be one part of your plan to fight it, along with getting plenty of rest, staying well hydrated, and consulting your doctor if symptoms get bad enough.

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