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What is Elderberry Good For?

elderberries

Elderberry is an herbal supplement that has been used medicinally for centuries. Its popularity continues today. If you’ve ever browsed the drugstore aisles for vitamins or natural remedies during cold and flu season, you’ve likely noticed how frequently elderberry shows up as a key ingredient.

Elderberry can be found in everything from throat lozenges and cough syrup to teas and juice shots to gummies, capsules, and more. 

But what is elderberry good for? Here’s what you should know about elderberry benefits and uses. 

What is Elderberry Good For?

Elderberries, the dark purple or black fruits of the black elder tree (from the Sambucus tree family), have a long history of use in folk and natural medicine. Elderberry contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C, has been touted as a natural way to support immune health, fight infections, and alleviate cold and flu symptoms. 

What Symptoms Does Elderberry Treat?

Fighting infections, boosting immune health, and easing cold or flu symptoms has long been the primary focus of elderberry supplementation. However, people have turned to elderberry supplements as a natural way to treat a range of other symptoms or conditions, including: 

  • Sinus infections
  • Headaches and toothaches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Hay fever
  • Constipation
  • High cholesterol

While to date there is not scientific evidence that supports all of these uses, there is research supporting some of elderberry’s potential benefits. 

One 2004 study found that elderberry syrup helped reduce flu symptoms in patients with influenza A and B by approximately four days. A 2016 study found that elderberry supplementation reduced the duration and severity of cold and upper respiratory symptoms in international air travelers. And a 2018 meta-analysis found that research appears to support elderberry as an effective method of helping to treat symptoms of upper respiratory infections

What Are the Benefits of Taking Elderberry?

Research does seem to offer support for elderberry supplementation as a way to help reduce symptoms of colds, flus, and upper respiratory infections. However, doctors caution that this should not be a replacement to preventative measures like flu vaccines.

But as part of a holistic approach to immune health, elderberry has a number of health benefits. Studies have suggested that this may be because of elderberry’s distinct immunity-supporting properties and compounds. 

The flavonoids in elderberries may support improved immune system function and help ward off infections. These include anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that has powerful antioxidant properties. Anthocyanins have several health benefits, including helping to regulate the body’s immune response system, lowering blood pressure, reducing heart disease risk, preventing neurological disease, and slowing cancer growth.

Elderberries have anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation associated with various diseases and infections and support overall immune function. Elderberry supplementation might help to reduce inflammation symptoms associated with different autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Their anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract, helping clear congestion and mucus buildup. 

Generally, elderberry supplements are considered to be safe, and side effects are relatively rare, but it is always best to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen. But for many, elderberry supplementation can be a natural way to support immune health during cold and flu season, and throughout the year. 

Learn more about the best elderberry supplement, and see if it’s right for you!