Can elderberry fight colds and flu?

If you’ve tried a lot of different cold and flu remedies, elderberry is one of the ingredients that you’ve probably come across. This herbal remedy has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes and is very anti-inflammatory. Elderberries contain more flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries and goji berries and this has a lot to do with their immune boosting powers.


According to research, it may be a good choice for treating colds and flu. So much so that it can potentially help symptoms on their way in just a couple of days.


Elderberry has been commonly studied as a cold and flu remedy and the results have been super promising. It seems that elderberry has powerful effects for immunity, which is great news if you’re suffering from flu. Two studies confirmed that it can halve the average length of a flu bout and start to tackle symptoms in 48 hours. This is more likely if elderberry extract is taken within 48 hours of flu symptoms coming on.


A 2016 study looking at colds picked up during air travel found that elderberry extract can cut the length of a cold and make symptoms less severe. There was one catch though … elderberry was taken for up to 10 days before getting on a plane and for up to 5 days after arriving at the destination. Elderberry didn’t stop a cold from occurring but it did reduce the length of time that it lasted for. For most people, their cold was 2 days shorter and symptoms were milder.


If you’re eating elderberries, don’t eat the raw seeds. These can potentially make you sick. Fresh or dried elderberries are great choices.


Pre made elderberry syrups are readily available but you could try making your own version. Dried elderberries are perfect for this as they have a pretty good shelf life. You can just grab a handful when cold or flu strikes. Team dried elderberries with ginger, cinnamon and cloves for a super effective immunity boosting syrup. Simmer the ingredients in water for around 30 minutes, mash up the elderberries, strain out the liquid and leave to cool. Once it’s at room temperature, put it in the refrigerator, it’ll last for a couple of months.

Elderberry is great for kids as its nice and sweet and can be added to other herbs in a herbal tincture to make the taste more palatable for kids. I recommend taking elderberry with echinacea on a daily basis over winter, when kids are more susceptible to illness (like when they are around sick kids at daycare) and before going on planes and travelling. Contact me if you would like to book in a one on one consult or would like to order an elderberry tincture for your child (postage can be arranged Australia wide).