Is Elderberry Truly A Magical Fruit?

Is Elderberry Truly A Magical Fruit?

November 14, 20234 min read

Elderberries seem to be the hottest thing out there right now………. That means everyone is sick!! At least in the greater Hampstead, NC area, the flu is running wild! I’m guessing that for most people, you are coming in to this article with a bias towards Elderberry being an effective method for recovering from the flu and cold faster. Some folks will even tell you it helps you recover from the flu, if taken right when symptoms start, faster than Tamiflu! Well, with a title like “Is Elderberries Truly A Magical Fruit?” , you might think I’m about to tell you the opposite of what you’ve heard. Before I give you my personal opinion, let’s dig into to some research and see what we can find out together!

A couple of notes and fun facts to start with:

“Several species of Sambucus produce elderberries. Most scientific literature pertains to Sambucus nigra.”

  • European elder can grow to 30 ft tall and has been naturalized to America.

  • Historically, the flowers and leaves have been used for pain relief, inflammation, and even urine production!

  • The bark, when aged, has been used as a laxative, diuretic, and even to induce vomiting.

  • The berries have been used in wine, pies and of course, medicinally.

  • It’s important to note that in order to ingest the berries, they must be cooked as they can cause nausea and the rest of the plant is poisonous.

  • Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about elderberry, what does the research say on how it is most effectively used

If you don’t like diving into the research, here’s a quick 1 minute summary on what I found out in this youtube video!

In 2014, the Journal of Dietary Supplements published a Systematic Review on Elderberry and Elderflower to see what they could determine based on the evidence.

Elderberry was studied for Influenza, Bacterial sinusitis, Bronchitis, Cardiovascular disease risk, Constipation, Gingivitis, Hyperlipidemia, and Obesity.

Today we will focus on the evidence as it relates to the flu. It is flu season after all but, out of all of the issues listed above, the strongest evidence for Elderberry is available for the flu.

In study #1: Patients taking elderberry for 48 hr had a significant eradication of all investigated symptoms such as cough, fever, headache, mucus discharge, muscle aches, or nasal congestion.

In study #2: Reported that elderberry juice may improve flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, cough, and aches, in less than half the time that it normally takes to recover from the flu.

In study #3: Symptoms were relieved on average four days earlier, and use of rescue medication was significantly less than placebo group.

Based on these 3 studies, it seems that Elderberry is indeed, “magical”. Of course, there were issues with these studies. All of them had pretty small sample sizes and weren’t always highly organized.

There are some promising animal studies as well. In these studies, Elderberry had a significant anti-viral effect by inhibiting or stopping the replication of flu strains A and B.

So, how much was taken in these research studies where symptoms were knocked out so quickly?

The research for Elderberry and Influenza patients received 175 mg of proprietary elderberry extract lozenge four times daily for two days (Kong, 2009). Patients were given 15 mL of elderberry syrup four times daily for five days for influenza symptoms in another clinical trial by the same author group (Zakay-Rones, Thom, Wollan, & Wadstein, 2004).

So, after reading this information, I ask you,”Is Elderberry Truly A Magical Fruit” as the media would have you believe??

My personal opinion, it’s promising as heck and I’d love to see some larger scale studies done but, as of now, I’ll be looking into it every time I get sick!

Here’s a few more articles we thought you might be interested in:

Supplements For The Cold and Flu

Can You Boost Your Flu Shot With Probiotics?

What To Eat When Sick?

Should I Workout When I’m Sick?

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to throw them in the comments section or simply reach out!




An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Elderberry and Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 11(1):80–120, 2014 C 2014 by Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. Available online at


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Breakaway Fitness & Performance

Breakaway Fitness & Performance focuses on strength training, weight loss, and a healthy lifestyle in their blogs.

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