Fight the Flu with Elderberry

A bush of immune-boosting elderberries

Try this herbal immunity booster.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has a lot going for it—and for you—during cold and flu season. Its dense antioxidant levels may keep you from getting sick. If you do succumb, it can help relieve symptoms.

Recent research shows that elderberry has great potential in reducing cellular oxidative stress and preventing inflammatory processes.

Elderberry v. Flu

Research shows that elderberry extract shows promise at being able to reduce the concentration of COVID-19 virus in cells. 

One study showed that patients with flu symptoms who took elderberry lozenges for two days showed statistically significant decreases in fever, headache, and nasal congestion than those taking placebo.

Clinical trials of patients with the flu suggest taking the herb at the first sign of illness and to continue doing so for three to five days. People given elderberry syrup in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that their flu symptoms ended an average of four days sooner than those given a placebo syrup.

Click to See Our Sources

The American Botanical Council Clinical Guide to Elder Berry, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, edited by Mark Blumenthal, et al., 2003

“Colds and influenza: A review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations” by M. Roxas and J. Jurenka, Alternative Medicine Review

“Effect of herbal compounds on coronavirus; a systematic review and meta-analysis” by M.M. Kesheh et al., Virology Journal, 5/21/22

“Elderberry extract for treating influenza symptoms” by Marissa Oppel-Sutter; Flavonoids in elderberry bind H1N1 virus and block its host cell entry in vitro” by Marissa Oppel-Sutter, 1/10;

“Review of pharmacology and clinical benefits of European elderberry” by Mariann Garner-Wizard, 1/06, HerbClip

“Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) extracts promote anti-inflammatory and cellular antioxidant activity” by S.S. Ferreira et. al, Food Chemistry X, 8/27/22

“Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses” by C. Krawitz et al., BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2/11