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Why take Elderberry? An expert opinion.

By Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD

You may have heard of elderberry, also known as Sambucus, when cold season comes around. However, there is more to this plant-based supplement than treating cold symptoms. Elderberry comes from the European elder tree, and it’s the juice of the berries that hold health benefits.

In folk medicine, elderberry was used as a diuretic, laxative, and astringent. The natural antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids in elderberries are also believed to be antiviral and may be an effective common cold remedy.

Best Overall Elderberry Supplement

BioSchwartz Sambucus Elderberry Capsules with Zinc & Vitamin C

With just one capsule daily, you can reap the ultimate immune health benefits of elderberry as well as a double dose of the antioxidant vitamin C. This professional-grade formula contains only high-quality ingredients that are third-party tested and GMP-certified, so you can trust its potency and safety.

Summary of BioSchwartz Sambucus Elderberry Capsules:
  • Contains 500 milligrams of elderberry fruit
  • Just one capsule needed daily
  • Includes antioxidants: 200% of the DRV of vitamin C and 47% of the DRV of zinc
  • Free of soy, gluten, egg, milk, wheat, peanuts, sweeteners, shellfish, and sugar
  • GMP-certified
  • Made in U.S.A.
  • Third-party tested and certified
  • Professional grade
  • Non-GMO
  • No artificial ingredients, chemicals, fillers, color additives, preservatives, or binders 

Best Plant-based Elderberry Gummy

Havasu Nutrition Elderberry Gummies

This natural and tasty gummy elderberry supplement is perfect for adults and children alike for fighting cold and flu symptoms. Just two delicious gummies daily can help boost the immune system and provide seasonal immune health support.

Summary of Havasu Nutrition Elderberry Gummies:
  • Tasty and convenient gummy
  • 100 milligrams (mg) elderberry per serving
  • Contains antioxidants: 100% daily recommended value (DRV) of vitamin C and 50% DRV of zinc
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified
  • Third-party tested
  • Plant-based pectin gummy
  • Natural berry flavor
  • 60-day money back guarantee
  • No preservatives, chemicals, sugars, or artificial colorings or flavorings
  • Gelatin-free, plant-based vegetarian formula
  • Non-GMO
  • No high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup

Best Antioxidant-Rich Elderberry Gummy

Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Gummies

This great-tasting elderberry supplement contains a unique extract of BioActives® flavonoids for immune support. Both adults and children can gain an immune system boost with just two tasty gummies daily.

Summary of Nature’s Way Sambucus Elderberry Gummies:
  • Gluten-free and free from other common allergens
  • Gelatin-free, vegetarian formula
  • 50 mg of black elder extract from each two-gummy serving standardized to BioActives® flavonoids for immune support
  • Includes antioxidants: 100% of the DRV of vitamin C and 68% of the DRV of zinc
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Kosher-certified
  • Third-party tested

Best Homeopathic Elderberry Supplement

Sambucol Black Elderberry Cold & Flu Relief Tablets

This unique elderberry supplement contains a blend of homeopathic compounds, including elderberry and zinc designed to help relieve cold and flu symptoms. To make help it go down easier, this quick-dissolve formula can dissolve without water and tastes great.

Summary of Sambucol Black Elderberry Cold & Flu Relief Tablets:
  • Easy to consume quick-dissolve tablet that dissolves without water
  • Contains natural elderberry and zinc
  • Unique homeopathic formula
  • Non-drowsy
  • Non-habit forming
  • Can be taken by those aged 4 years and older
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Free of gluten, soy, dairy, nut, and egg
  • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Low-sugar product at 0.1 grams sugar per tablet
  • Most researched Black Elderberry Product in the world
  • Third-party tested

What You Need to Know

Before choosing which elderberry supplement you should take, it’s important to learn more about the supplement to see if it’s right for you.

Just like with any supplement, it’s important that you only purchase elderberry supplements from a trusted source. You can ensure safety and purity of products that have been third-party tested. Also, when possible choose products that have been GMP-certified.

Types

You can consume elderberry in several different forms, depending on your preference. You can make soup or broth from elderberry by mixing 2 ounces of elderberry syrup into hot water. Also, you can consume elderberry in the form of a tea, extract, juice, wine, or in capsules.

Benefits

Elderberry is most well-known for treating cold and flu symptoms. However, people also use elderberry to boost the immune system. Not to mention that people use elderberry to relieve pain of the sinuses, leg, back, headache, toothache, and nerve pain.

Research shows that elderberry extract can help reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms in air travelers. In this study, travelers were given 2 capsules of 300 mg for days ten to two before traveling. Then, travelers took three capsules equaling 900 mg daily the day before traveling and four days while traveling.

Cons

There are no adverse side effects linked with elderberry, however, due to a lack of knowledge of the safety in pregnant and breastfeeding women, such women are advised not to take the supplement. Experts also suggest that you should not take more than the suggested dosage.

Also, since uncooked leaves, stems, and raw or unripe berries contain a toxic substance, if it’s not prepared properly, it may cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea. Therefore, be sure to stick to elderberry supplements processed from a trusted source to be safe. Also, there are limited studies on the long-term effects of elderberry, so just take short-term as needed.

Anything else a shopper should know

If you have any food allergies or intolerances, be sure to check the label of the product you’re buying as some products may also contain other compounds to add flavor, texture, or structure.

Why Would You Take Elderberry Supplement?

Since the cold and flu symptom relief properties of elderberry are most well-studied, those with such symptoms would most benefit from the supplement. Other people may benefit from the antioxidant properties of elderberry, but should not rely on this supplement alone in treating illness. Therefore, use elderberry as a supplement to primary treatments for colds, flu symptoms, and pain for best results.

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