Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is an herb used in sinusitis, influenza, colds and herpes simplex. This study was to evaluate the benefits of elderberry syrup against influenza A and B. Sixty patients were treated after they had symptoms for 48 hours or less. The diagnosis was confirmed by blood antibody testing.
Influenza is caused by a virus and results in fever, headache, muscle pains, sore throat and cough. The duration of the flu symptoms is 5-7 days. It is easily contagious. The virus easily mutates, which complicates treatment. The illness can become epidemic and can be fatal. The usual treatment is with antiviral drugs. Vaccination is used as prevention.
The dose used in this study was 15 ml. of elderberry syrup, standardized for flavonoids, or placebo, four times a day. Elderberries contain flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, which appear in the blood of patients taking elderberry extract. Anthocyanins are anti-inflammatory, prevent viruses from attaching to cell surfaces and stimulate immunity.
The results of the study showed that the use of the elderberry syrup improved the symptoms of flu 3-4 days earlier than placebo. Only one patient did not like the taste of the elderberry extract. Nearly 90% of the treated patients had a complete cure in 2-3 days.
CONCLUSION: Elderberry was shown, by this study, to be an effective, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza in a somewhat small number of patients. Further testing would seem to be of value in view of the positive, beneficial results.
NOTE: This study was done using “Sambucol,” a specific company’s product of elderberry extract. Elderberry grows in many parts of the world. The liquid can be used to make medicinal syrups and wines. The Palestinians have historically used a traditional medicinal elderberry syrup.
Read more about the use of elderberry extracts for respiratory infections and influenza A and B.
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