Anti-Viral Effects of Elderberry Extract
I recently woke in the middle of the night, coughing and generally feeling cold symptoms come on. At work that next morning, a well-respected colleague told me about Elderberry extract that she has used for years in the treatment of viral, upper respiratory infections.
A google search turned up over 300,000 articles on the benefits of elderberry but many were from one-off web sites promoting specific products. There are several studies however that examined the anti-viral properties of black elderberry.
Sambucol, an extract from the black elderberry plant (Sambucus nigra) was given to a group of adults and children who had developed the flu while living on a kibbutz in Israel in the mid ’90s. Of 27 patients in the double-blind study, some received Sambucol, others a placebo. Almost all those receiving Sambucol recovered completely within 2 to 3 days compared with the placebo group who recovered in 6 days. The results of this study were first publishsed in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Another study looked at the anti-inflammatory properties of Sambucol and found that it activates the immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production. The study authors speculated that it could also have an immunoprotective or immunostimulatory effect when administered to cancer or AIDS patients in conjunction with other standard chemotherapeutic medications.
So I’m willing to give it a try despite the fact that these studies are old and are very limited. For more info about the above studies, you can read what Dr. Andrew Weil has written about it and you can read the study extract about Sambucol’s immunoprotective benefits at this link.