Elderberry is the dark purple berry from the European elder tree. The berries are used to make medicine. Do not confuse elderberry with American Elder, Elderflower, or Dwarf Elder.
Elderberry is used for the common cold, "the flu" (influenza), and H1N1 "swine" flu. It is also used for HIV/AIDS and boosting the immune system. Elderberry is also used for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Some people use elderberry for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), cancer, as a laxative for constipation, to increase urine flow, and to cause sweating.
It is used for heart disease, high cholesterol, headache, toothache, and weight loss.
Elderberry is applied inside the mouth for gum inflammation.
Elderberry fruit is also used for making wine and as a food flavoring.
How it works
Elderberry might affect the immune system. Elderberry seems to have activity against viruses including the flu. It might also reduce inflammation.
Possibly Effective"The flu," also called influenza
A specific syrup containing elderberry juice (Sambucol by Nature's Way) seems to relieve flu symptoms and reduce the length of time the flu lasts when taken by mouth within 48 hours of the first symptoms. Other research shows that taking elderberry lozenges (ViraBLOC by HerbalScience) within 24 hours of the first symptoms also reduces flu symptoms. Relief seems to occur within 2 to 4 days of treatment for most people.
Elderberry juice extract is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 12 weeks. It's not known if taking elderberry juice extract is safe when used for longer periods of time
Elderberry is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when the leaves, stems, unripened fruit, or uncooked fruit is consumed. The cooked elderberry fruit seems to be safe, but raw and unripe fruit might cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using elderberry duringpregnancyandbreast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.Are there any interactions with medications?
"Autoimmune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Elderberry might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using elderberry.
ModerateMedications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)
Elderberry can increase the immune system. Taking elderberry along with some medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.