Sambucus nigra or European Elderberry as its commonly known is a flowering plant in the family Adoxaceae native to most of Europe and North America.

Black Elderberries have been used for centuries as a natural treatment against common cold and flu like symptoms.

Elderberries are a good source of a wide range of nutrients including vitamins(A, B-Complex, C & E), minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and iron.

Elderberry contain high quantities of the flavonoid anthocyanins, which is responsible for its strong antioxidant capacity and also considered to be the active constituents of the fruits.

Other phytochemicals found in Elderberry include carotenoids, phytosterols and polyphenols.

Modern clinical research has found that Elderberry has diverse pharmalogical activities including antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, immune modulating and anti-diabetic effects.

Elderberry Medicinal Herb Encyclopedia

Scientific Name

Sambucus nigra

Common Names

Black Elderberry, European Elderberry



Active Constituents

The main active constituents of Elderberry are flavonoids such as quercetin and rutin, and anthocyanins identified as cyanidin-3-ambubioside and cyanidin-3-glucoside.

Traditional Usages

Common Cold, Influenza

Evidence-Based Health Benefits

Reducing Cold & Influenza Symptoms

Collectively the evidence obtained from across five clinical studies involving 936 adults indicate that mono-herbal preparations of Sambucus nigra L. berry (S.nigra), when taken within 48 hours of onset of acute respiratory viral infection, may reduce the duration and severity of common cold and influenza symptoms in adults. [1]

Interestingly, a non-travel related clinical trial just revealed that a combination of echinacea herb and root extract supplemented with elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) can be as effective as the conventional antiviral medicine oseltamivir for the early treatment of influenza.

Two clinical trials using a liquid elderberry extract (Sambucol®, Israel) showed a reduction in symptoms and duration of influenza infection.

A pilot trial with elderberry extract lozenges (HerbalScience, Singapore) also confirmed a beneficial effect on severity and duration of cold and flu like symptoms. [2]

Effective Treatment For Upper Respiratory Symptoms

A meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials published 2019 quantified the effects of elderberry supplementation on upper respiratory symptoms and evaluated moderators including vaccination status and the underlying pathology.

The meta-analysis concluded:

Supplementation with elderberry was found to substantially reduce upper respiratory symptoms.

The quantitative synthesis of the effects yielded a large mean effect size.

These findings present an alternative to antibiotic misuse for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections, and a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza. [3]

Recommended Products

  1. Sambucol Original Black Elderberry Liquid 120ml


[1] The effects of Sambucus nigra berry on acute respiratory viral infections: A rapid review of clinical studies

[2] Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

[3] Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials

The information in our herbal encyclopedia is intended for eductional purposes only and should not be used to treat or diagnose any disease, implied or otherwise.
Always consult a qualified healthcare professional before many any significant dietary or lifestyle changes.

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