Home » Natural Remedies » Herbal Treatment

Elderberry Herb: How Does It Fight Against Cold and Flu?

  • Elderberry concentrate is derived from one of the oldest herbs used by man.
  • and elderberry syrup are proven by science and your grandmother to help fight off colds, flu and many of the things that ‘ail you.’


The has been used as far back as the Roman times for making everything from teas to wine. Whether you first heard of this wonderful fruit from a grandmother –or- you remember the line from Monty Python, “Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!” you must have some inkling of this fruit as one of nature’s true wonders.

The elderberry (Sambucus nigra, S. Canadensis) has been proclaimed to reduce viral infections including cold and flu. The two compounds found in the elderberry: alpha- and beta- amyrin make it a ‘liver-friendly’ herb that combats liver damage. Other plant chemicals work as a: cleanser, antioxidant, diaphoretic, diaretic and hepatic. It also has properties of anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrahal and a mild laxative. A popular immune booster, it is available as: Elderberry concentrate (tincture), elderberry elixir and elderberry syrup.

According to Terry Willard, CIH, Ph.D, ‘Alive’ Magazine, “current research shows a stimulation of antibody protection and a reduction of flu symptoms in three days or less. Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu of the Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel found that the elderberry herb disarmed the neuraminidase enzyme, which flu viruses use to penetrate healthy organism cells. Twenty percent of her flu study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70 percent within 48 hours, and 90 percent were completely cured within three days. The subjects consuming Elderberry syrup also had higher levels of antibodies against the virus. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required six days to recover.”

Elderberry herb has been proven to be resistant to over eight strains of influenza, which is a stronger percentage than any antiviral vaccine. The way it works is: flu viruses are covered by tiny protein spikes, which are used to attach to and infect healthy human cells. The key active substances within black elderberry herb disarm these spikes and stop the first step of viral infection.

If you are looking to buy this extremely beneficial herb, you can purchase the dried flowers at a natural health store to brew tea. The liquid is officially called a ‘tincture’ but may also be referred to as an elderberry concentrate and is much more potent and you will have to search out a local practitioner for consultation and purchase. There are many products on the market that contain elderberry. A word of caution: read the labels carefully. Not all products are ‘high quality’ nor made in this country. It is best to consult with your health food store for the best line for you. Elderberry syrup and elderberry elixir may be alternatives for you to pursue.

Do not try to ingest the raw leaves and stems of the elderberry, as they have been known to be lightly toxic. Since there are no other known drug interactions, the elderberry makes a great addition to your daily regiment during cold and flu season.

Today, the elderberry is used in all forms of cooking. You can find many recipes from baked goods to frozen treats online. You can also learn the best methods to grow your own elderberries.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “Elderberry Herb: How Does It Fight Against Cold and Flu?”

  1. 1
    Trisha Says:
    What about elderberries themselves? I've never tried them, so I'm wondering if they are just as healthy as the syrup and what they taste like - if edible at all.