There are a lot of natural remedies out there that people swear by, and elderberry is one of them. People have been using elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) for centuries to treat a variety of illnesses, including the flu and other viruses. But does it actually work? In this article, we’ll take a look at the evidence to see if elderberry really does have antiviral properties.
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Is Elderberry Good For Virus Infections?
Yes, a study from 2013 found that the anthocyanins in elderberry extract could inhibit the growth of both HRSV and Influenza A virus in vitro. This is because the elderberry flavonoids bind to the so-called “430-cavity” of the virus which prevents its replication.
Another randomized study published in 2010 found that Sambucol, a proprietary formulation of black elderberry extract, effectively blocked the replication of Swine Flu in vitro.
However, these studies only looked at a few specific viruses. So what about more general antiviral and immune-boosting effects? Well, there are some indications that elderberry has broad antiviral activity. One controlled clinical trial from 1995 found that elderberry extract could inhibit several different viruses and multiple strains of the Flu from infecting cells in vitro.
But what about real-life humans with viral respiratory illness? Well, there’s at least one study that looked at elderberry’s effects on the flu. In this double-blind trial from 2004, 60 patients were given either elderberry extract or a placebo. The researchers found that the group who received elderberry extract had significantly reduced cold symptoms and got better much faster than the control group.
Is Elderberry A Good Cold and Flu Treatment?
Yes, elderberry appears to be a good cold and flu treatment. One study from 2010 looked at the antiviral effects of Sambucol (an elderberry supplement) on children with the common cold. The researchers found that elderberry extract reduced virus replication in vitro and inhibited type I interferon production — which is important because these molecules play an essential role in the immune response to viral infections.
The study also looked at the effects of Sambucol on symptoms. The children who received elderberry extract had significantly improved fever, nasal drainage, and cough severity scores than the control group. In fact, their symptom scores were so much better that the researchers actually stopped the study early because it was clear that the elderberry extract was working better than the placebo.
So, overall, there is evidence to suggest that elderberry does have antiviral properties and can be effective against a variety of viruses, including the flu. If you’re feeling sick this winter, it might be worth trying elderberry extract as a natural way to help speed up your recovery time!
Yes, there is some evidence to suggest that elderberry might have broad anti-viral activity. One study from 2009 found that oral elderberry extract could inhibit the replication of a number of different viruses in vitro. However, more research is needed to confirm if elderberry for virus is the ideal treatment.
Does Elderberry Zicam Work?
Zicam with Elderberry helps to reduce the duration of a cold. This is different than most other medications that simply cover up the upper respiratory symptoms. The key ingredient in this formulation that makes it so effective is elderberry.
How Does Elderberry Stop Viruses
We already know that elderberry is effective against HRSV, so let’s look at how it works in this context. HRSV is a virus that infects the respiratory tract, and it’s one of the most common causes of bronchiolitis (a condition that can cause wheezing and difficulty breathing in infants and young children).
Elderberry likely inhibits HRSV by blocking its ability to enter cells. The anthocyanins in elderberry seem to do this by blocking the virus’ hemagglutination (HA) activity. HA is a molecule that helps the virus attach to cells, and without it, the virus can’t enter the cell and replicate. This is why many people with cold and flu symptoms start to feel better so quickly.
Does Elderberry Increase Cytokine Production?
There is some evidence to suggest that elderberry might increase cytokine production. Cytokines are proteins that play an essential role in the immune response, and they can help to fight off viruses and other pathogens.
The problem is when cytokines rise to such a large level that they create a cytokine storm that is harmful to the body.
Are There Any Controlled Clinical Trials For Elderberry?
Yes, there are quite a few clinical trials that have been conducted on elderberry, but most of them are small and don’t have a lot of participants. Since the initial results of most of these studies were promising we hope that there will be larger studies conducted in the future.
Does Elderberry Extract Help with Upper Respiratory Symptoms?
Yes, there is some evidence to suggest that elderberry extract can help reduce the severity of upper respiratory symptoms, such as fever, nasal drainage, and cough. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
What is Cytokine Storm?
A cytokine storm is when the immune system overreacts to an infection and produces a large number of inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines can be harmful because they damage healthy tissue, which could lead to organ failure or death.
Taking elderberry by itself is not enough to cause a cytokine storm, but in the presence of an already extremely stimulated immune system, it could contribute slightly.
Who Should Not Consume Elderberry?
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not consume elderberry because there is some evidence to suggest that it could cause uterine contractions. Additionally, people with a history of diabetes or auto-immune disease should avoid elderberry as well.
Is Elderberry Supplementation Safe?
Yes, elderberry supplementation is generally safe. People have used elderberry for centuries to help with cold and flu symptoms. That being said, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting any new supplements, just to be sure.
Overall, there is evidence to suggest that elderberry does have antiviral properties and can be effective against a variety of viruses, including the flu. If you’re feeling sick this winter, it might be worth trying elderberry extract as a natural way to help speed up your recovery time and boost your immune system!
Adam Shimit is the main author of Chromatin Health Network. Adam is a medical research professional who has published case studies and reviews across many professional journals and websites. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, nature, and anything fitness related. Read more about him here.