Elderberry, or Sambucus nigra, is a member of the honeysuckle family.  Extracts of the berries have become more popular in recent years as antiviral supplements for fighting colds and the flu virus.  The berries contains the flavonoid quercetin as well as anthocyanins which are potent antiviral agents. (3)  Elderberry Extract is high in Vitamins A, B, C, iron and potassium.

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Photo credit: Norm’s farms


In studies, elderberry has been shown to be an antimicrobial agent against human pathogenic bacteria including influenza and strep (1).

Elderberry extract has also been shown to reduce cold duration and symptoms in a study based on air travelers. Participants used 600-900mg of elderberry daily (2).

An Israeli virologist, Mumcuoglu, is responsible for studies on elderberry. He found that elderberry is able to stop the  virus from replicating by neutralizing the spikes that are responsible for piercing cell walls in order to enter the cell (3).  Additionally, elderberry enhances cytokine production, which activates phagocytes which engulf and absorb bacteria (3)

Studies indicate that the combination of elderberry extract with Vitamin C and Zinc works to make cold symptoms less severe, and when the elderberry extract Sambucol was given to patients in the first 48 hours of flu symptoms, it inhibits the strength of the virus.  Doses were 30mL/daily for children and 60mL/daily for adults for six days. (3) After three days, symptoms had cleared completely. (3)  A second study cut the duration of flu symptoms in half with a dosage of 15mL 4 times a day. (3)

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While you can make your own elderberry, it is also great to have a tried and true brand. Norm’s Farms in North Carolina specializes in Elderberry products. Growing their own elderberries while also relying on local farms as well, they have great supplements (among other products) to help you to get through the winter.  I love the natural ingredients, great taste and thought put into the products.

Children’s Elderberry

top health blogA specialized children’s formula sweetened with natural blueberry juice! It is not easy to find a naturally sweetened Elderberry for kids – I have not seen another one out there!  My kids loved the taste of this and ask for it in the morning, and I also think the taste is spot on.  Blueberries are another super antioxidant berry, so the combination of the two is potent!

Ingredients: Elderberry Fruit Extract, Blueberry juice from concentrate,* malic acid** (less than .03% by volume).

Elderberry Wellness Syrup

I actually drank this out of the bottle, it was so tasty with the cloves mixed in.  The Wellness Syrup is formulated for seasonal distress. It is a mixture of elderberry extract, honey, cinnamon and cloves.  The recommended serving is one to two teaspoons several times a day.

Ingredients: Elderberry, water, honey, cinnamon, cloves, sugar (less than 1% by volume), xanthan gum, (less than .04% by volume), malic acid* (less than .04% by volume).

Elderberry Extract

Elderberry Extract is made from farm fresh elderberries using a gentle water process to extract the elderberry and remove the seeds.  It has a neutral taste – not too sweet and not bitter – I find it to be spot on and took this at the first sign of the sniffles.

Ingredients: Elderberry, water,* malic acid** (less than .03% by volume)

Definitely check out these products to have on hand for this winter. Spend $49 for free shipping!


(1) Christian KrawitzMobarak Abu MraheilMichael SteinCan ImirzaliogluEugen Domann,Stephan Pleschka, and Torsten Hain Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses.

(2) Tiralongo, E.; Wee, S.S.; Lea, R.A. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients 20168, 182.

(3)Roxas, Mario ND and Jurenka, Julie MT.  Colds and Influenza: A Review of Diagnosis and Conventional, Botanical, and Nutritional Considerations. 2007.


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