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Elderberry for Flu? Does It Work?

Does using elderberry for flu helps to reducing the flu symptoms?

During the swine flu outbreak, Tamiflu (a prescription antiviral medication for flu) was promoted to help prevent and reduce flu symptoms.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) admitted that Tamiflu was not as effective as previously thought, as reported by New York Times.

What is a person supposed to do? Go natural...

Traditionally, flowers from the black elder bush have been used to treat flu symptoms, sinus problems and the common cold. But is this benefit based on fact or just wishful thinking?

To verify this claim of benefit for treating flu symptoms, researchers studied elderberry extract. The specific formulation they choose was Sambucol.

Read on to find out more about the health benefits of elderberry for flu symptoms...

Health benefits of elderberry

Active chemicals...

Elderberry contains large amounts of tannins, flavonoids, rutin and anthocyanidins. These substances regulate the immune system to better fight off viruses and bacterial infections.

Anti-inflammatory effects...

The anthocyanidins found in elderberry also possesses anti-inflammatory benefits and this may explain its effectiveness in reducing swelling, aches, pains and sinus congestion.

Potent antioxidant...

Moreover, elderberry is high in antioxidant capacity, a feature that can be very helpful in protecting the body during times of stress. It has a very high oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) and it is twice as potent as blueberry extracts.

Clinical Studies...

Several clinical studies were done to verify the claim that taking elderberry is effective for treating flu symptoms.

In one study involving 60 volunteers suffering from the A strain of the flu virus, the group taking the elderberry extract showed improvements in 3 days and nearly 90% of them were completely cured within two or three days. Also, they reported no side effects such as drowsiness, a commons side effect of many non-prescription flu remedies.

As a comparison, the group that took the placebo (sugar pills) needed about 6 days to completely recover. Moreover, they took more pain killers to get relief from the symptoms.

This result was similar to an study done earlier. This older study showed that 93% of flu patients taking elderberry extract were symptom-free in less than 2 days.

What experts say...

Indeed experts such as Dr. Greenfield MD, a specialist in integrative medicine, recommends using black elderberry extract to treat flu symptoms in adults and children. He said that "it can be given to children and adults, and with no known side effects or negative interactions."

How to use elderberry for flu symptoms

Dose to Use

Liquid Extract: Take 15 mL (1 tablespoon) taken four times daily. Take within 48 hours of the start of symptoms for maximum effect.

Lozenges: Take 2 elderberry lozenges (containing 175 mg of the extract) daily for two days.

Note: Elderberry wine, jelly or jam do not work. Stick with formulations that uses the extract.

What are other herbs for flu prevention and treatment?

In addition to using elderberry for flu treatment, there are quite a few herbs and supplements that can be very helpful for flu prevention and treatment.

Our article Natural Remedies for Flu provides extensive details and recommended doses to use.

This is a must read for anyone looking for a complete guide to natural cures for the flu.

Visit our Cure for Flu Home Page to easily access all the articles on flu cures.

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Natural Remedies for Flu - The Complete Guide

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Return to Flu Home Page

References for Elderberry for Flu
Created: December 30, 2010

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