Elderberry – The Most Anti-viral Fruit Known to Man

elderberry anti-viral fruit

Did you know that elderberry extract is the most effective weapon against influenza?  Whether you are dealing with deadly strain of influenza or the seasonal flu, elderberry is the best thing you can add to your herbal arsenal.

Unlike the flu shot, black elderberry extracts have been shown to really work.  It is one of the few herbal remedies that have been written up in various medicinal journals.  Here are some studies based on black elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L) – name brand Sambucol.

According to PubMed:

“Sambucus nigra L. products – Sambucol– are based on a standardized black elderberry extract. They are natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus. Sambucol was shown to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days.”

According to The Journal of International Medical Research elderberry extract is a proven treatment, referencing a different study:

“Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. We investigated the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections. Sixty patients (aged 18 – 54 years) suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 h or less were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the influenza season of 1999 – 2000 in Norway. Patients received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale. Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in  those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.”

How It Works

Antivirin, the active compound in elderberry, has anti-viral properties that help stop the spread of flu virus.  According to one study, the active compounds in elderberry activate the immune system by stimulating inflammatory cytokine production.


Sambucol has been tested on both Influenza A and Influenza B strains and proven to reduce the symptoms and duration of flu sufferers.

“Thom’s findings were presented at the 15th Annual Conference on Antiviral Research in 2002. The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of International Medical Research.

The study involved 60 patients who had been suffering with flu symptoms for 48 hours or less; 90% were infected with the A strain of the virus, 10% were infected with type B. Half the group took 15 milliliters of Sambucol or and the other group took a placebo four times a day for five days.

Patients in the Sambucol group had “pronounced improvements” in flu symptoms after three days: Nearly 90% of patients had complete cure within two to three days. Also, the Sambucol group had no drowsiness, the downside of many flu treatments.

The placebo group didn’t recover until at least day six; they also took more painkillers and nasal sprays. “

How to Take Elderberry Extract

Elderberry extract can be used in a couple of different ways:

  • Right out of the spoon
  • Mixed with hot water and honey for a tea
  • Mixed with sparkling water and served over ice