The magic of elderberry to fight colds and flu

It can take all hands on deck to stay healthy this time of year (and speaking of hands, wash them frequently!). Be sure to get a flu shot, and remember that sleeping well, managing stress, and exercising can help to keep your immune system in fighting shape. You may also want to consider keeping an elderberry supplement on hand, too, as new research adds to the evidence that the herbal remedy may help to combat colds and the flu.

magic of elderberry to fight colds and flu

Long used as a food to make jams and wine, elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been used to fight upper respiratory infections for hundreds of years. Putting it to the test in small clinical trials, researchers have found that people who take elderberry extract immediately at onset of cold or flu symptoms tend to have less severe symptoms and a shorter illness than people taking a placebo extract. The most recent research looked at how elderberry fights viruses. In a lab setting, elderberry prevented the influenza virus from infecting human cells and, in cells that were already infected, stopped it from multiplying. Elderberry also prompted the cells to release compounds that improve the immune system's response to viruses.

If you're interested in trying elderberry, look for a high-quality supplement such as Sambucol, which has been used extensively in research.

- Cleveland Clinic Wellness


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