Research suggests that black elderberries could offer significant benefits as a natural immune tonic and cold and flu remedy (1). Black elderberries have antiviral properties and may specifically help shorten influenza. In one study, those who took a black elderberry supplement showed improvement in flu symptoms after 2-4 days, where the control group improved after 8 days (1).
Other studies report that black elderberry extract inhibited the replication and reduced the viral load in several viral diseases such as influenza A, influenza B, HIV, herpes simplex-1 viruses, and others (2).
Black elderberry is high in powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely phenols, anthocyanins, and flavonols), and one of the strongest antioxidant berries (3). Studies show the antioxidant content of black elderberry may benefit the immune system by reducing systemic inflammation (4). In one study, antioxidant levels improved after just one hour of ingesting black elderberry juice (5).
No evidence found.
Studies suggest that black elderberry could be a potential alternative treatment to antibiotics for managing upper respiratory infections, specifically viral infections (6).
Diets high in flavonoids and anthocyanins (both found in high concentration in black elderberry) have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood lipids, and reduce cholesterol (7).
Studies show polyphenols extracted from elderberries could reduce blood pressure (8).
Black elderberry may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and manage blood sugar levels by increasing insulin secretion (4).
Gut Health Support
Black elderberry is rich in anthocyanins, which studies show can significantly and positively alter the gut bacteria (10).
Antioxidants in black elderberry help to fight oxidative stress to the body’s cells and tissues by neutralizing free radicals that cause damage, inflammation, and fatigue. Reducing oxidative stress may help to boost immunity and improve energy levels (11). Other studies suggest that elderberry is effective in reducing the fatigue that comes with the common cold (12).
One study suggests a potential mood-enhancing and antidepressant effect of black elderberry extract (13).
No evidence found.
- Zakay-Rones Z, et al. Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. Journal of International Medical Research. April 2004:132-140. doi:10.1177/147323000403200205
- Mahboubi, M. Sambucus nigra (black elder) as alternative treatment for cold and flu. ADV TRADIT MED (ADTM) (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13596-020-00469-z
- Wu X, et al. Characterization of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins in some cultivars of Ribes, Aronia, and Sambucus and their antioxidant capacity. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Dec 29;52(26):7846-56. doi: 10.1021/jf0486850. PMID: 15612766.
- Andrzej Sidor, et al. Advanced research on the antioxidant and health benefit of elderberry (Sambucus nigra) in food – a review. Journal of Functional Foods, Volume 18, Part B, 2015, Pages 941-958, ISSN 1756-4646, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2014.07.012.
- M. Netzel, et al. The excretion and biological antioxidant activity of elderberry antioxidants in healthy humans, Food Research International, Volume 38, Issues 8–9, 2005, Pages 905-910, ISSN 0963-9969, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2005.03.010.
- Hawkins J, et al. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:361-365. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.004. Epub 2018 Dec 18. PMID: 30670267.
- Wang X, Ouyang YY, Liu J, Zhao G. Flavonoid intake and risk of CVD: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jan 14;111(1):1-11. doi: 10.1017/S000711451300278X. Epub 2013 Aug 16. PMID: 23953879.
- Moroşanu, Anca & Ciocoiu, Manuela & Bǎdescu, L. & Bǎdescu, M.. (2011). Antioxidant effect of aronia versus sambucus on murine model with or without arterial hypertension. Annals of the Romanian Society for Cell Biology. 16. 222-227.
- Hwu CM, Lin KH. Uric acid and the development of hypertension. Med Sci Monit. 2010 Oct;16(10):RA224-30. PMID: 20885365.
- E. O. Igwe, et al. A systematic literature review of the effect of anthocyanins on gut microbiota populations. First published: 08 July 2018 https://doi.org/10.1111/jhn.12582
- Segerstrom, Suzanne C. “Stress, Energy, and Immunity: An Ecological View.” Current directions in psychological science vol. 16,6 (2007): 326-330. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00522.x
- Tiralongo, Evelin et al. “Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Nutrients vol. 8,4 182. 24 Mar. 2016, doi:10.3390/nu8040182
- Mahmoudi M, Ebrahimzadeh MA, Dooshan A, Arimi A, Ghasemi N, Fathiazad F. Antidepressant activities of Sambucus ebulus and Sambucus nigra. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2014 Nov;18(22):3350-3. PMID: 25491608.