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What Are the Health Benefits of Elderberry?

Thursday February 13, 2020
What Are the Health Benefits of Elderberry?

Elderberry: Small in size, but mighty in fighting flu. Research has shown elderberry to be a potent cold and flu remedy by reducing the severity and shortening the length of symptoms. Viridian Nutrition’s Director of Nutrition Aimee Benbow shares the health benefits of this fascinating dark berry.


Fast facts


Black elderberries:


- Are rich in antioxidative OPCs

- Can help target cold and flu symptoms

- Contain immune-supporting vitamin C and zinc


Supplementing with black elderberry extracts as soon as the first cold signs hit can be a natural method to combat and reduce the severity of symptoms. 


A more in-depth insight:

What are elderberries?

From the organic fields of Austria, elderberries are deep purple berries with an array of researched health benefits. Scientifically known as ‘Sambucus nigra’, black elderberries belong to the honeysuckle plant family. Black elderberries are one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world, where its use as an immune aid dates back to traditional medicine. 
Elderberries are high in compounds known as proanthocyanins (OPCs), which are thought to contribute to their health benefits. The OPCs are also responsible for elderberry’s vibrant purple colour. The super-berry is also rich in immune-boosting Vitamin C and zinc. 


What are the health benefits?

Rich in antioxidants, elderberries can be used for a dizzying variety of applications. However, research on elderberries shines its light on its potential to remedy cold and flu symptoms.  
In a study conducted on air-travellers, participants who took an elderberry supplement standardised to 90mg OPC showed significantly reduced cold symptoms and cold duration compared to placebo [1]. In another study on sufferers of cold symptoms, elderberry lozenges provided relief from coughing, nasal mucus and congestion [2]. It is thought that the OPCs found in elderberries may improve immune function, contributing to cold-relief for sufferers. 


What should I look for in elderberry supplements?

Look for an organic elderberry supplement that is European grown to ensure high quality and potency. Additionally, make sure you choose an elderberry supplement that is rich in OPCs, as research suggests that doses standardised to 90mg are optimal for supporting health goals.
Choose an elderberry supplement that is organically grown, free from preservatives, sugars, and nasties.


For more information on natural remedies to colds and flu, visit your local health food store

Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.



1)      Tiralongo, E., Wee, S. S., & Lea, R. A. (2016). Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients, 8(4), 182. doi:10.3390/nu8040182 7
2)      Kong FK. Pilot clinical study on a proprietary elderberry extract: Efficacy in addressing influenza symptoms. Online J Pharmacol Pharmacokinetics. 2009;5:32–43.


TAGS: NewsElderberry, Immunity


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