Elderberry for colds and flu

Elderberry for colds and flu

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What is elderberry?

Elderberry is a dark purple berry whose extract has been shown to boost the immune system. Like zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea, it's sold as a supplement to prevent or shorten colds and flu. You can find elderberry as a juice or syrup, as well as in teas, lozenges, tablets, and gummies.

Bottom line: There's some evidence that it's effective, but it's generally not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for children. Read on for more details.

Does elderberry work for colds and flu?

Elderberry may be effective for treating colds and flu. In one study, elderberry extract was found to reduce flu symptoms by about three days, which is comparable to the effect of the FDA-approved antiviral medication Tamiflu when taken at the first sign of illness. In other research, elderberry extract did not prevent colds, but it did appear to ease the symptoms and reduce the duration of colds.

Is it safe to take elderberry during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Elderberry has not been proven safe to take when you're pregnant or breastfeeding – there simply hasn't been enough research. Because elderberry hasn't been thoroughly studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women, most healthcare providers are reluctant to recommend it. Check with your provider before taking any supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Is elderberry safe for kids?

Medical experts don't recommend elderberry for children. Although some elderberry syrups and tinctures are marketed for children's use, there's not enough data to confirm whether elderberry supplements are safe for kids. Check with your provider before offering your child supplements.

Are there precautions for elderberry?

For most people, elderberry is considered safe, but uncooked or unripe elderberries can be toxic. Side effects from consuming uncooked or unripe berries include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Elderberry may be unsafe if you're taking certain medications. Elderberry may lower blood pressure, so if you already take medication for high blood pressure, the increased effect could be harmful. Because elderberry may increase immune system activity, people with autoimmune diseases should not take elderberry.

Learn more:

Watch the video: Dr. Joe Schwarcz: Elderberry extract may help with colds or flu (July 2022).


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