Elderberry has been studied for its potential benefits in treating flu and other upper respiratory infections. A small number of studies in people have evaluated elderberry for flu and other upper respiratory infections.
Some preliminary research suggests that elderberry may relieve symptoms of flu or other upper respiratory infections.^ A 2018 research review reported that elderberry supplements helped relieve upper respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, and cough.^
Additionally, according to a recent study, elderberry may be a safe option for treating viral respiratory illness, and there is no evidence that it overstimulates the immune system.
However, the evidence on both benefits and harms is uncertain, and more information from recent and ongoing studies is necessary to make firm conclusions.^ Therefore, more research is needed to understand the full effects of elderberry on respiratory health.
It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before using elderberry as it may exacerbate symptoms of an autoimmune disease by stimulating more activity in the immune system.^
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Elderberry. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/elderberry. Published February 2021. Accessed March 29, 2021.
Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. 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. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.004
Verywell Health. Elderberry for Colds and Flu: Can It Help? https://www.verywellhealth.com/elderberry-for-colds-and-flu-can-it-help-89559. Published February 3, 2021. Accessed March 29, 2021.
Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travellers: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(4):182. doi:10.3390/nu8040182