Elderberry Extract: Nature’s “Tamiflu”

Elderberries are native to Europe, Asia, and North America and only blue and black berries are medicinal, not the red berries. The flowers and berries are both used. Elderberry extract found to be important weapon against influenza virus. Its extract is effective and tasty herbal remedy that you can use to boost your immunity during cold and flu season.


Elderberries work by preventing the influenza virus from being able to attach and replicate within host cells in your body. Its syrup is not just good for when you are sick either. It is a highly effective preventative too as it is loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin C and immune supporting minerals.

According to PubMed:

” Sambucus nigra L. products – Sambucol – are based on a standardized black elderberry extract. They are natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus. Sambucol was shown to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days.”

The Journal of International Medical Research concurs that elderberry extract is a proven treatment, referencing a different study:

” Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. We investigated the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections. Sixty patients (aged 18 – 54 years) suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 h or less were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the influenza season of 1999 – 2000 in Norway. Patients received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale. Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.”

An old Panacea

As mentioned before, humble black elderberries are used in the ancient medicine for centuries. Even in the 400 BC, the famous philosopher, Hippocrates was referring it an elderberry bushes as “medicine chests”, and it is mentioned in the famous writing od Pliny, the Elder, in the ancient Romans period.

Working method

The compound found in the elderberry is knows as, Antivenin especially represented in the black elderberries. It is preventing the flu viruses’ for the healthy cells membrane.

The activity mechanism of elderberries extracts in influenza therapy, is stimulating the immunity system with production of cytokine by monocyte. An anthocyanin found in elderberries is having an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that we are consuming in necessary dose from an elderberry syrup, during a flu of cold.

The effects

During flu suffering, it has been shown that Sambuca is reducing the symptoms and have positive effect on influence treatments. It is helping in the both cases, of influenza A or B strain. Sambuca cannot help in preventing flu, but is helping in shortening the period of flu suffering.

How to Take Elderberry Extract

In the Israeli study, mentioned above, each day children were given 1/2 tablespoon of Sambucol extract four times per day, and adults were given 1 tablespoons four times per day. It’s important to note that the only form of elderberry extract that has been used in studies is Sambucol, which is based on a standardized black elderberry extract.

Here are some ways how to take the elderberry extract:

– Directly from a spoon
– As a mixture in tea / hot water with honey
– As a mixture in sparking water or oven an ice for refreshment like “soda-pop” beverage

Keep the elderberry extract in a dry and cool place, or in a fridge.

Unlike chemical medications, there have actually been no reported adverse effects from Sambucol. Although you must always contact your doctor prior to taking this or other solution. It is safe for children over 2 and the elderly. No research studies have been done regarding the safety of Sambucol throughout pregnancy or breastfeeding. There are no reported contraindications for those taking other medications, or those who experience asthma or hypertension.

Research is ongoing concerning the usage of Sambucol for the treatment of allergies, cancer, inflammatory conditions and HIV.