Elderberry Benefits for Your Health

Elderberry BenefitsElderberry is a type of plant that is cultivated for its medicinal properties and used to treat a variety of conditions.

There is evidence that the elderberry plant may have been used by prehistoric man. There are also recipes for elderberry-based medications dating back to Ancient Egypt. It also traces back to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the “Father of Medicine,” who described the plant as his “medicine chest”. This is why it’s no wonder it is known as one of the top antiviral herbs on the planet. And so much more.

The top vitamins that elderberry ha:

Vitamin C, which helps several important cells in the immune system perform their jobs.
Vitamin A, which helps regulate immune responses.
Flavonoids, which may help fight inflammation and cancer.
Vitamin D and zinc, which are well-known for their role in fighting illnesses

The health benefits of the elder plant include naturally improving:

sinus issues
nerve pain
chronic fatigue
even cancer

Research published in the Journal of International Medical Research suggests that when it’s used within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, the plant may even help relieve and shorten the duration of cold and flu. For this reason, the government actually employed the use of elderberry to fight the flu during the 1995 Panama flu epidemic.

Does it really work? How can you use it to promote better health?

What Is Elderberry?

The berries and flowers of the elder plant are used as medicine.

Elderberry fruit contains quercetin, kaempferol, rutin and phenolic acids. It also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties that can help prevent cell damage, and anthocyanidins, which are chemical compounds that are known to have immune-boosting properties.


1. Provides Cold and Flu Relief

One of the most well-studied elderberry supplement benefits is its powerful immune-boosting properties. The berries have been found to possess immunostimulant properties. One of its properties is that it will stop the a virus from replicating itself. A virus has no ability to replicate but must hijack a living cell’s replication system to continue.


Research actually shows that elderberry is a safe, efficient and cost-effective treatment for the common cold and flu. A 2021 systematic review screened 1,187 records and five randomized trials on elderberry for the treatment or prevention of viral respiratory illness. Researchers found that elderberry may reduce the duration and severity of symptoms related to colds and influenza, and there’s no evidence that it overstimulates the immune system.

A 2016 study published in “Nutrients” showed that elderberry supplementation, on average, provided a two-day shorter duration of their colds as well as a noticeable reduction in cold symptoms.

Several studies have found benefits to support the use of elderberry for flu symptoms as well. Specifically, the flavonoids in the berries bind to the H1N1 human influenza virus as well as the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

A 2009 study randomized patients into two groups. One with elderberry and one with a Placebo. Researchers concluded that the extract is effective in controlling influenza symptoms.

Another study published in the “Journal of International Medical Research” referenced above suggests that when elderberry is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of signs of flu, it can shorten the duration of flu symptoms by an average of four days.

2. Reduces Sinus Infection Symptoms

With elderberry’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it makes sense that it can help treat sinus issues and diseases related to respiratory health. A sinus infection is a condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed.

3. Lowers Blood Sugar

Both the elder flower and the berry have traditionally been used to treat diabetes. Research has confirmed that extracts of elderflower stimulate glucose metabolism and the secretion of insulin, which could potentially help lower blood sugar levels.

Research published in the “Journal of Nutrition” evaluated black elderberry’s insulin-like and insulin-releasing actions in vitro. The study found that an aqueous extract of elder significantly increased glucose transport, glucose oxidation and glycogenesis without any added insulin.

Glycogenesis is the process by which excess sugar is cleared out of the bloodstream and into your muscles and liver to help maintain normal blood sugar.

Furthermore, a 2017 animal study published in the “International Journal of Molecular Sciences” noted that elderberries can serve as a potential source of bioactive compounds for formulations used for the management of diabetes.

4. Acts as a Natural Diuretic

A diuretic is a substance that promotes the production of urine. Research indicates that elder leaves, flowers and berries were used for their diuretic properties in rural populations as natural medicine.

Doctors prescribe diuretics when the body retains too much fluid, which is a common problem in older adults. Thanks to its ability to act as a safe diuretic, elderberry has been shown to promote both urination and bowel moments to help protect against fluid retention.

5. Promotes Regularity

In traditional or folk medicine, the elder plant was used as a laxative to relieve constipation. It was added to herbal mixtures to improve regularity.

6. Supports Skin Health

Elderberry has made its way into cosmetic products, and for good reason. Its content of bioflavonoids, antioxidants and vitamin A makes it awesome for skin health.

7. Eases Allergies

In addition to using elderberry syrup for colds, the flowers of the elder plant are also known to be an effective herbal allergy remedy. Since allergies involve an overreaction of the immune system as well as inflammation, research suggests that the herb’s ability to improve immune function and calm inflammation can help provide allergy relief.

8. May Improve Heart Health

Some research suggests that elderberry extract may improve heart health.

One study found that elderberry extract may have beneficial effects on high blood pressure.

Nutrition Facts

A one-cup serving of raw elderberries (about 145 grams) contains approximately:

Calories: 106
Total Carbohydrates: 26.7 g
Fiber: 10.2 g
Total Fat: 0.7 g
Saturated Fat: 0.03 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Protein: 1 g

Sodium: 8.7 mg (0.4% DV)
Vitamin C: 52.5 mg (58% DV)
Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg (18% DV)
Iron: 2.3 mg (13% DV)
Copper: 0.1 mg (11% DV)
Potassium: 406 mg (9% DV)
Thiamine: 0.1 mg (8% DV)
Riboflavin: 0.1 mg (8% DV)
Phosphorus: 56.6 mg (5% DV)
Vitamin A: 43.5 mcg (5% DV)

*Daily Value: Percentages are based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day.

How to Use

Wondering to start adding it to your diet? It is available at many local health stores and online retailers and can be purchased in a variety of different forms.

Elderberry gummies, elderberry wine and elderberry juice are all popular options for getting your fix of this incredible ingredient.

(This is MCVitamins – there is a Organic Farms and Market near me, they make Elderberry syrup and it has worked wonders for my allergies).

Elderberry tea is another great option, especially if you use elderberry for flu and cold symptoms.

Risks, Side Effects and Interactions

Despite the many health benefits associated with this medicinal plant, there are several elderberry side effects to consider as well.

You should not consume raw berries or other parts of the plant since they contain a chemical, which can result in nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Generally, commercial preparations don’t cause adverse reactions when used at recommended dosages.

Occasionally, however, elderflowers and elderberries can cause allergic reactions. Discontinue use if you have a mild allergic reaction, and seek medical attention if you have a serious allergic reaction.

Using elderberry supplements for kids or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t take this herb, as research is lacking on its effects on fetal health and development.

If you have an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ask your doctor before taking elderberry supplements because it may stimulate the immune system. If you have any other ongoing health concerns, talk with your health care provider before taking it as well. People with organ transplants should not take elderberry.

Because of its powerful effects on health, elderberry supplements could potentially interact with several medications. If you currently take any of the following medications, you should talk to your health care provider and pharmacisit (they have a database to check for these interactions. It includes herbs, vitamins, etc. as well as the drugs) before using an elderberry supplement or any other elder plant products:

Diabetes medications
Diuretics (water pills)
Immunosuppressants, including corticosteroids (prednisone), and medications used to treat autoimmune diseases
Theophylline (TheoDur)


Elderberry may provide relief from the common cold and flu, as well as allergies and sinus infections. It may also help lower blood sugar, improve heart health, support healthy skin and act as a natural diuretic.

This herb is available in supplements, syrup, juice and tea form.

What are the side effects of elderberry? Although commercial preparations are generally safe for consumption, eating raw elderberry may cause symptoms like nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Using this antiviral herb is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children, or those with autoimmune disorders.

Does elderberry interact with medications? If you’re on chemotherapy or take diabetes medications, diuretics, immunosuppressants, laxatives or other medications, talk to your doctor before starting supplementation.

For more information about allergies or other condtions 

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