Using Elderberry to Avoid the Flu & Boast Immune System


Elderberry: the magic berry that has been used since prehistoric times to help boast the immune systems of humans. We are hearing lots of banter on social media that you should be taking elderberry now to avoid the flu. We love natural remedies – however always do your research because in some rare cases, it can do harm.

Elderberry is believed to improve your overall immune system, which pretty much means it help you heal any illness. When looking for articles to help support claims of using elderberry to avoid the flu — we learned that this elderberry is given credit for all sorts of health benefits.  

Elderberry may reduce flu symptoms, but sufficient evidence is lacking to support its use to treat any condition. That said, it can be included as part of a healthy diet and may contribute to other health benefits.

A few studies suggest elderberry is found in remedies to reduce cold and flu symptoms. Several components in elderberry may also block infection, but more studies are needed. Laboratory studies indicate that the chemopreventive properties of elderberry are weak, and elderberry has not been found effective for cardiovascular disease or to improve cholesterol levels. Unsubstantiated claims that elderberry prevents or treats AIDS, diabetes or other diseases have recently been halted by the FDA. Patients should not forego or avoid legitimate treatments, and consult their physicians about the use of elderberry when being treated for various conditions. Source:

There are potential side effects, allergic reaction and some bad things that happen to some who eat elderberry. To our friends who have chronic illness or take prescription medication, please talk to your physician before trying natural remedies. Read more about precautions & possible interactions.

Nutritional Value Of Elderberries
Elderberries are packed with nutrients including minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorus, and copper, as well as vitamins, such as vitamin A, B, and C, as well as proteins and dietary fiber. Add some of the beneficial organic compounds that function as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents in the body, and you have one powerful berry! Source:

Health Benefits of Elderberry

Cold and Flu Relief
Elderberries are an excellent general immune system booster. The berries contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins, which are are known to have immunostimulant effects. When used within the first 48 hours of onset of flu symptoms, the extract reduces the duration of the flu by approximately four days. Source: Dr. Axe website

Sinus Infection Aid
With elderberry?s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it makes sense that it can help sinus issues. Source: Dr. Axe website

Lower Blood Sugar
Both the 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, lowering blood sugar levels. Source: Dr. Axe website

Skin Care
Elderberry can be found in some cosmetic applications, primarily because the bioflavonoids in elderberries can boost your skin health. The antioxidant activity, combined with its significant levels of vitamin A, make elderberries perfect for preventing or lessening wrinkles, helping age spots to fade, and generally improving the glow and tone of your body?s largest and most visible organ. Source:

Ease Allergies
Allergies involve an overreaction of the immune system as well as inflammation, elderberry?s ability to improve the immune system and calm inflammation can help provide allergy relief. Source: Dr. Axe website

May Help Prevent Cancer
Edible berry extracts like elderberry extract are rich in anthocyanins and have been shown to have a broad spectrum of therapeutic, pharmacologic and anti-carcinogenic properties. Laboratory studies specifically indicate that the elderberry has some chemopreventive properties. A chemopreventive inhibits, delays or reverses cancer formation. We’ve also seen similar research supporting eating lemons for the same reason. Source: Dr. Axe website

Aid in Digestion & Improve Heart Health
Elderberry provides more than 40% of your daily requirements for fiber in a single serving. Dietary fiber can helps eliminate constipation, reduce excess gas, and generally increase the health of your gastrointestinal system. Fiber can also help increase the nutrient uptake efficiency in your gut so you get more out of your food. High fiber levels help eliminate excess cholesterol from the system and make room for HDL cholesterol that the body needs. This can help eliminate the chances of developing atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular issues. The high level of potassium in elderberries also protects the heart by relaxing the tension of blood vessels and arteries. As a vasodilator, potassium can significantly reduce blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Source:

Improve Respiratory Health
When it comes to clearing up a sore throat, a cough, cold, bronchitis, or any other issue that affects your respiratory system, elderberry juice might be your best choice. Like many cough syrups, they contain active ingredients (bioflavonoids like anthocyanins, to be exact) that can soothe inflammation and irritation and also act as an expectorant and clear out phlegm that can trap foreign agents in your glands. Elderberry juice is even recommended for people with asthma. Source:

Boost Immunity
It seems like people love to discuss elderberries in relation to their effects on the immune system. They have certain antibacterial and anti-infectious qualities and are very commonly used to ward off influenza during bad seasons where it seems like everyone is catching it. Furthermore, elderberries can protect against the effects of autoimmune disorders, even alleviating certain symptoms and the associated pain of AIDS. Source:

Control Diabetes
Some of the active antioxidant ingredients in elderberries work directly on the pancreas to regulate insulin and glucose levels, either providing stability for people who suffer from diabetes or helping non-diabetics to avoid developing this terrible condition. Source:

Improve Bone Health
While the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in elderberries can help alleviate joint pain and soreness from inflammation, the high levels of essential minerals help promote bone strength and the development of new bone tissue. Osteoporosis is a condition that millions of people face in the later years of their life, but increasing bone density during your younger decades can delay the onset considerably. Source:

Weight Loss
With the high level of dietary fiber, combined with the metabolism-speeding effects of a solid vitamin and mineral injection, elderberries aid in weight loss. The fiber keeps you feeling full, the low-calorie count doesn?t affect your intake too much, and you also get dozens of other health benefits as well! Source:

Ways to Consume Elderberry:
? Tea, wine, juice
? Syrup, jams & jelly
? Ointments & astringents
? Sprays
? Lozenges & pills
? Liquid, powder, capsules

When it comes to colds, flu and upper respiratory issues, elderberry syrup is very popular. There are high-quality brands readily available for purchase, like Sambucol products from You can try making your own using the following recipe:

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

3.5 cups cold water
2 cups organic dried elderberries
1 tablespoon fresh or dried organic ginger root
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon powder or 1 cinnamon stick
1 cup raw honey

1) Pour water into saucepan and add elderberries, ginger and cinnamon.
2) Bring mixture to a boil.
3) Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 40?45 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about half.
4) Remove from heat and mash the berries.
5) Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth into a glass bowl. If you use a cheesecloth, make sure to squeeze out the juice.
6) Add honey and stir until well-combined.
7) Bottle final product in a sterilized glass container.

Risks & Possible Interactions related Elderberry

Herbs can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs only under the supervision of a health care provider.

? DO NOT use unripe or uncooked elderberries. They may be poisonous.
? Elderberry appears to have few side effects when used properly for short periods of time (up to 5 days).
? Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take elderberry.
? If you have an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, ask your doctor before taking elderberry, as it may stimulate the immune system

If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should talk to your health care provider before taking elderberry:

Diuretics (water pills). Diuretics help the body get rid of excess fluid and increase the amount of urine your body makes. Elderberry may also act as a diuretic, so taking it along with a diuretic could make that drug stronger and raise your risk of dehydration.

Diabetes medications. Elderberry may lower blood sugar levels. If you are also taking drugs for diabetes, taking elderberry may increase your risk of developing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Chemotherapy. Elderberry may interact with some chemotherapy drugs. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, ask your oncologist before taking any herb or supplement.

Laxatives. Elderberry may act like a laxative and should not be taken at the same time as other laxatives.

Theophylline (TheoDur). Elderberry may reduce levels of theophylline, a drug taken for asthma and other respiratory conditions. That could make the drug not work as well.

Drugs that suppress the immune system. Because elderberry may stimulate the immune system, it could interfere with medications taken to suppress the immune system. These medications include corticosteroids (prednisone) and medications used to treat autoimmune diseases. People with organ transplants should also avoid elderberry.
Allergic reactions to plants in the honeysuckle family is not uncommon, please be careful about being up-to-date on your food allergies before adding elderberries to your diet. Finally, they are known to act as diuretics for some people, so if you are already struggling with kidney problems, then elderberries may exacerbate them. Source:

Sources for this post include the following:

Prevent the Flu – Common Sense Practices and Ideas