Elderberry is a small berry that comes from the elder tree. The berries and flowers have been used to ease cold and flu-like symptoms. Elderberry has also been used to ease digestion. Elderberry can be made into a syrup, tea, or juice. It can also be taken as a pill, powder, or extract.
1 tablespoon of syrup 3 to 4 times daily
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It is likely safe to take elderberry in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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A. Chronic Constipation
A1. Picon PD, Picon RV, et al. Randomized clinical trial of a phytotherapic compound containing Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Sambucus nigra, and Cassia augustifolia for chronic constipation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Apr 30;10:17.
B. Common Cold
B1. Tiralongo E, Wee SS, et al. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travelers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(4):182.
C1. Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, et al. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004;32(3):132-140.
D1. Hasani-Ranjbar S, Nayebi N, et al. A systematic review of the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines used in the treatment of obesity. World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jul 7;15(25):3073-3085.
E. Upper Respiratory Infection
E1. Hawkins J, Baker C, et al. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019;42:361-365.
Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC Last Updated: 5/6/2020