Elderberry extract for colds and flu

Wow — we’re getting dozens of questions about elderberry and elderberry extracts to help treat cold and flu symptoms. It is “the thing” flying around Facebook! Should you try it? Here’s what we know:

  • There are zero studies of any elderberry product to help with cold or flu symptoms in children.
  • There is one small study, from 2004, of elderberry for adults with flu. It showed a very strong positive effect. But the study was funded by a company that makes and sells elderberry syrup, and it was never repeated.
  • Elderberry products seem to be quite safe. I suppose as with anything there’s a risk of allergic reactions, but in ordinary amounts I don’t think these elderberry products are likely to cause any harm.
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