Black elderberry health benefits research over the past several decades appears to show potent immunoprotective properties against cold and flu symptoms
With health scares of late it should come as no surprise that there is an increased interest in natural remedies to help boost the immune system, with many patients seeking out Black elderberry health benefits to ward off flus and viruses.
Black elderberry health benefits (Sambucus nigra) have been part of tradition healing practices for centuries to treat a wide variety of injuries and ailments, including infections, burns, and inflammation.1 However, research on elderberry over the past several decades also appears to show its potent immunoprotective properties, particularly against cold and flu symptoms.
Black elderberry health benefits
Part of the reason why elderberries are thought to be so good at boosting the immune system may be due to the fact that they are high in antioxidants.2
A 2015 article in the Journal of Functional Foods reported that elderberries are rich in several antioxidant compounds, including phenolic acids, flavonols (quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin), and anthocyanins. These antioxidants help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which may help lower susceptibility to colds and the flu.2
Reducing cold and flu symptoms
A 2019 study, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, grouped together a series of studies on the effects of an elderberry extract in treating the duration and severity of upper respiratory cold and flu symptoms.3
In analyzing the outcome of 180 cases for vaccine status and cause for symptoms, the researchers found that treatment with an elderberry extract helped reduce upper respiratory symptoms, regardless of their underlying cause.3
This would appear to show that elderberry can improve symptoms for a wide variety of upper respiratory symptoms, potentially including COVID viruses.
An earlier study from 2016, in the journal Nutrients, compared the duration and severity of cold symptoms on 312 airline passengers who took elderberry supplements, as compared to a placebo group.4
All passengers in the study recorded the number of cold episodes they experienced, how long each cold lasted, and symptoms. They also completed surveys about upper respiratory symptoms and quality of life at baseline, just before traveling, and four days after traveling. Subjects in the placebo group had more cold episodes than did those taking the elderberry extract (17 episodes versus 12), with each episode lasting for a longer duration (117 days versus 57).
Furthermore, those in the placebo group had a higher average symptom score than those taking the elderberry extract.4
Patients are looking toward alternative medicine to provide a way to help boost the immune system to reduce the severity and duration of flu and virus symptoms. Recent research appears to show that black elderberry health benefits may play a role in doing just that.
- Ulbricht C, Basch E, Cheung L, et al. An evidence-based systematic review of elderberry and elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 2014 Mar;11(1):80-120.
- Sidor A, Gramza-Michałowska, A. Advanced research on the antioxidant and health benefit of elderberry (Sambucus nigra) in food – a review. Journal of Functional Foods. 2015 Oct;18(B):941-958.
- Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2019 Feb;42:361-365.
- Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travellers: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 24;8(4):182.