Elderberry, or elder, has been used for centuries around the world. It is known to treat wounds when applied to the skin and is taken orally to treat respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu. Elder has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties. Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, including the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion.
In 2009, Retroscreen Virology of London tested the Sambucol brand of Elderberry syrup, which is formulated using black Elderberry. The results of their testing proved the syrup to be 68.3% effective against the H1N1 virus, also known as Swine Flu1. Another study conducted in 2005, found the same brand of syrup to be 99% effective against the H5N1 virus, more commonly referred to as the Avian bird Flu1. Other studies conducted concluded that the syrup was highly effective in the treatment of influenza A and B. Elderberry proved to lessen the amount of discomfort felt by those studied, and symptoms were relieved within 2 to 3 days and at least 3 days earlier than the control group.
The nutritional and medicinal benefits of elderberry are pretty phenomenal. Elderberries contain minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorous, and copper, as well as vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C, 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! Elderberry is a powerful antioxidant. It contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body’s cells. In fact, it outranks blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries in terms of total flavanol content.
There are several species of elder, but Sambucus nigra, or European elder (also called black elder), is most often used for medicinal purposes. Avoid dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus), which can be toxic. Use a trusted preparation of elder because of raw or unripe fruit, as well as the leaves, seeds, and bark, contain a chemical related to cyanide, which is poisonous.
How To Take Elderberry
Elderberry is a supplement you can use every day and should be taken regularly when going back to school. If your child happens to come down with something, I encourage parents to give it 2-3 times a day when an illness is present. The recommended dosages for elderberry syrup (such as Nature’s Way Sambucus) are:
Children ages 1-6 years old:
1 teaspoon (5ml) per day and can be increased to 1.5-2 teaspoons (10ml) per day, for use during winter months.
2 teaspoons (10 ml) per day.
When ill you can increase your dose and use a variety of forms:
- Dried flowers can be used as an infusion for adults, 3 to 5 grams, three times daily.
- Liquid Extract, for adults, use a 1:1 in 25% alcohol, (3 to 5 ml) three times daily.
- Tincture, for adults, use 1:5 in 25% alcohol, (10 to 25 ml) three times daily.
When it comes to elderberry, there are a lot of great products out there. You can also make it yourself! Just make sure to do your research so you make it properly.
About The Author
Jami Oles, HHP, Holistic Nurse and Health Educator
Jami is a mother of three and a Holistic Health Practitioner with a 10-year background in Nursing and Emergency Medicine. She is a Certified Children’s Nutritional Therapist, Holistic Nurse, EMT currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Naturopathic Medicine. Jami is also a member of the American Holistic Nurses Association. She offers both local and long distance services. You can reach Jami via email – [email protected]
Facebook Page: Jami Oles
Fundukian, L., ed. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, third edition, 2009.
Guo, R. American Journal of Medicine, November 2007; vol 120: pp 923-929.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database web site: “Elderberry.”
Natural Standard Patient Monograph: “Elderberry.”
Zakay-Rones, Z. Journal of International Medical Research, 2004; vol 32: pp 132-140.
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24 thoughts on “Elderberry Benefits And Uses”
Great Article! Very Informative And Helpful Thanks.
This is a very timely post! My kids just went back to school, and I’m trying natural methods to keep them in good shape throughout the year (rosemary oil in the shampoo to repel lice for example). I will definitely keep this in mind to keep them from getting sick.
I have never tried Elderberry before but after reading the benefits of it, I would love to try it. I am going to find some recipes too.
I have never even heard of elderberries before! I will definitely have to check them out.
You know, I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried elderberry before. I think I need to!
Elderberry seems to be really helpful in a lot of ways.. Checking if they’re available in my area!
There are usually local herbalists that make them. You can often find them on Etsy or at Farmer’s Markets. If not, Amazon will have options. 🙂
I love elderberries and elderberry syrup, especially this time of year. Thanks for the great information.
Elderberrries some great benefits. This is a timely post with the flu season approaching. I love that you posted your sources.
I do not have the plant near me but a friend I visited this summer told me of some benefits. I was not aware of several varieties. It would be nice to have a natural plant on hand for my kid health.
I haven’t thought of elderberries in a long time. It does bring back a good memory, I was in Europe sitting in a friend’s yard and we were sipping (okay, knocking back) elderberry Daiquiries. Good times!
Haha I have to admit when I first read the headline I thought it said Elderly… Forgive me 🙂 The Elderberries definitely have great benefits and I have used them in the past when dealing with chronic sinus issues. They are loaded with Vit C!
I’ve heard of Elderberry before, but never got around to trying it for my kids. I’ll definitely get it for them now and see how it works out for us. I love natural alternatives focused on prevention. We’re homeschoolers, and I like the idea knowing that I can give their immunity a little boost before hanging with other kids.
Elderberry sounds great. I would definitely want to start taking some. Thanks for sharing.
Ooo yum. Thanks for thorough info, always looking for super foods. Haven’t seen this baby in Australia though!
Never had a elderberries before…. Seems that it has a lot of benefits… I would love to get them if they are available nearby 😀
I am so curious to try elderberry! I’ve heard it’s quite similar to aronia, which I love, especially as jam or tea.
Never heard of Elderberry. Thanks for the info. There are so many natural remedies out there if we take the time to learn about them. I’m fascinated with Holistic health and will definitely be reading your blog for updates.
I love alternative methods. I never realized elderberries were so useful!
I have heard of Elderberry and the benefits of it for quite some time. I should check it out. The only funny thing is that when I think of Elderberry I most think of the movie Arsenic and Old Lace, where they hide poison it to euthanize unsuspecting guests.
I keep hearing more and more good things about Elderberries. Will have to try it!
This is actually the first I heard of Elderberries. Definitely checking out.
Great blog. Especially because it’s approaching cold season!
Wow another must-try berry! Im not sure if we have this here in the Philippines. Hope it is!