Elderberry

Updated | 2017-12-01


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Elderberry


Overview

Botanical Name: Sambucus nigra


Order: Dipsacales


Family: Adoxaceae


The flowers of elderberry are commonly used in herbal medicine. The berries are also used and commonly marketed for their anti-oxidant properties. Elderberry is sometimes called black elder.



Evidence

Strong:

-

Good:

-

Promising:

  • Gingivitis, a mouthwash or patch with elderberry / Centella asiatica / Echinacea pupurea may also be effective [1-4]
  • Immune Stimulant and Flu [5-7]

Conflicting (Unclear):

-

Limited Evidence:

  • Acute Viral Sinusitis, elderberry flower with gentian root / primula flower / sorrel herb / verbena herb [8]
  • Constipation, elderberry with Pimpinella anisum / Foeniculum vulgare / Cassia augustifolia [9]

No Evidence:

  • Cardiovascular Disease in Post-Menopausal Women, no increase in anthocyanin compounds [10]
  • Cholesterol and Triglycerides (affects), a higher concentration of elderberry may work [11]
  • Stones in Urinary Tract [12]

No Clinical Research:

All other conditions.


Side Effects
Side effects may include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
Precautions and Adverse Events:
  • Avoid or contact a licensed healthcare practitioner, if you are a diabetic as elderberry may be harmful.
  • There is a risk of cyanide poisoning if the leaves, shoots, bark, roots, and young berries are ingested; symptoms may include dizziness, headache, convulsions, gastrointestinal distress, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and tachycardia.
  • Only harvest fully ripe purple berries because younger berries are slightly toxic.
  • Taking elderberry bark may stimulate hyperplasia of the small intestines.
  • A protein from elderberry may be an allergen.
[13-16]


Pregnant or Nursing

There is not enough research on the use of supplements containing elderberry during pregnancy and breast-feeding, so consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before use or avoid use. Elderberry may cause gastrointestinal upset in pregnant woman. [13-16]



Interactions

Major

-

Moderate

-

Potential

  • Iron
[17]


Dosage

Elderberry is not a "drug", the best doses have not been thoroughly established. Make sure to follow the specific product instructions and take as directed on the label, or consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before use. However, it was reported that 500mg/day of elderberry did not alter liver and kidney functions. [18]



Compounds
Elderberry compounds


References

1. Grbic J, Wexler I, Celenti R, Altman J, Saffer A. A phase II trial of a transmucosal herbal patch for the treatment of gingivitis. J Am Dent Assoc. 2011 Oct;142(10):1168-75. 2. Levine WZ, Samuels N, Bar Sheshet ME, Grbic JT. A novel treatment of gingival recession using a botanical topical gingival patch and mouthrinse. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2013 Sep 1;14(5):948-53. 3. Samuels N, Grbic JT, Saffer AJ, Wexler ID, Williams RC. Effect of an herbal mouth rinse in preventing periodontal inflammation in an experimental gingivitis model: a pilot study. Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2012 Mar;33(3):204-6, 208-11. 4. Samuels N, Saffer A, Wexler ID, Oberbaum M. Localized reduction of gingival inflammation using site-specific therapy with a topical gingival patch. J Clin Dent. 2012;23(2):64-7. 5. Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6. 6. Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40. 7. Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, Manor O, Regev L, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9. 8. Jund R, Mondigler M, Steindl H, Stammer H, Stierna P, et al. Clinical efficacy of a dry extract of five herbal drugs in acute viral rhinosinusitis. Rhinology. 2012 Dec;50(4):417-26. 9. Picon PD, Picon RV, Costa AF, Sander GB, Amaral KM, et al. Randomized clinical trial of a phytotherapic compound containing Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Sambucus nigra, and Cassia augustifolia for chronic constipation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Apr 30;10:17. 10. Curtis PJ, Kroon PA, Hollands WJ, Walls R, Jenkins G, et al. Cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers and liver and kidney function are not altered in postmenopausal women after ingesting an elderberry extract rich in anthocyanins for 12 weeks. J Nutr. 2009 Dec;139(12):2266-71. 11. Murkovic M, Abuja PM, Bergmann AR, Zirngast A, Adam U, et al. Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Feb;58(2):244-9. 12. Walz B, Chrubasik S. Impact of a proprietary concentrate of Sambucus nigra L. on urinary pH. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):977-8. 13. Fetrow CW, Avila JR. The complete guide to herbal medicines. Spring House, PA, USA: Springhouse Corporation; 2000. 14. Förster-Waldl E, Marchetti M, Schöll I, Focke M, Radauer C, et al. Type I allergy to elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is elicited by a 33.2 kDa allergen with significant homology to ribosomal inactivating proteins. Clin Exp Allergy. 2003 Dec;33(12):1703-10. 15. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, editors. PDR for herbal medicines. 4th ed. Montvale, NJ, USA: Thomson Healthcare; 2007. 16. Tsui B, Dennehy CE, Tsourounis C. A survey of dietary supplement use during pregnancy at an academic medical center. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Aug;185(2):433-7. 17. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, editors. PDR for herbal medicines. 4th ed. Montvale, NJ, USA: Thomson Healthcare; 2007. 18. Curtis PJ, Kroon PA, Hollands WJ, Walls R, Jenkins G, et al. Cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers and liver and kidney function are not altered in postmenopausal women after ingesting an elderberry extract rich in anthocyanins for 12 weeks. J Nutr. 2009 Dec;139(12):2266-71.

The "-" means that there is no information.