Elderberry reduces upper respiratory symptom duration and severity, says new meta-analysis


A meta-analysis published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine finds that elderberry significantly reduces the duration and severity of upper respiratory symptoms. 


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A recently published meta-analysis1 evaluated the effects of elderberry on upper respiratory symptoms. The researchers utilized four studies, from which they took 180 subjects, 89 who took elderberry, and 91 controls. Results showed that elderberry did substantially reduce the duration of upper respiratory symptoms.

When evaluating for the differences between subjects who had the cold and those who had influenza, researchers determined that elderberry was more effective at reducing duration and severity of symptoms from influenza than it was for the common cold. However, these differences should be interpreted cautiously because only one of the included studies had subjects with the common cold, state the researchers.

“These findings present an alternative to antibiotic misuse for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections, and a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza,” the researchers concluded.


1. Hawkins J et al. “Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, vol. 42 (2019): 361-365

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