Spotlight On: The Benefits of Black Elderberry

Do you feel like the pressure to “stay well” during this pandemic is heavier, with the double-whammy of also entering the annual cold and flu season? If you are looking for a new natural, safe, and effective remedy to consider including in your wellness routine, Black Elderberry might be a great place to start.

Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) is a favorite herb of naturopathic doctors for building the immune system “boundary” during cold and flu season. It is a wonderful immune supportive supplement that tastes great and can even be taken year-round because of its nourishing properties.

Why are Black Elderberries such great fuel for your immune 'muscle'?

  • They are rich in bioflavonoids – which are potent antioxidants (think of it like preventing rust on a car!)
  • They have anthocyanins – which boost the immune system signaling
  • They contain potent antiviral compounds that can deactivate viruses -- keeping them from being unable to get inside our cells!

Did you know that studies demonstrate the effectiveness of this awesome berry?

There was a double-blind trial involving elderberry during an outbreak of influenza B, in Panama in 1995. Within two days, there were significant improvements in symptoms, including fever, among 93.3% of those taking elderberry syrup. 90% of the elderberry group were completely well again within 2 – 3 days, compared to 6 days in the placebo group.

In 2016, another study published in “Nutrients” by the School of Pharmacy at Griffith University (Australia) showed that supplementation with elderberry can reduce the symptoms and duration of a cold in air travelers. Travelers who used elderberry for 10 days before travel, and up to 5 days after arriving overseas, experienced shorter durations of their colds – and a noticeable reduction in the severity of their symptoms.

As if this plant wasn't already awesome enough: it is also among a class of herbs that are ”anti-catarrhals: - meaning it prevents excess mucus formation, and assists in removing phlegm and reducing inflammation in the body.

Making your own Elderberry syrup at home is safe and easy. Here is a good recipe to follow:


  1. 3/4 cup dried elderberries
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 1 teaspoon dried cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
  4. 1 teaspoon dried cloves or 4 whole cloves or 1 drop clove essential oil
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon dried ginger, or 1 drop ginger essential oil
  6. 1 cup raw honey



  • In a large pot, bring the elderberries, water, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 40-45 minutes.
  • Allow the liquid to cool, and then drain the liquid using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
  • Press all liquid out of the berries using the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Add the raw honey and mix well.
  • Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to two months.

In health,


*A reminder that our Spotlight On wellness features are provided for informational and education purposes – and are not intended as special medical advice to diagnose or treat. We are not your personal Naturopathic Doctors. If you have urgent healthcare issues or concerns, please contact your primary care provider or another healthcare specialist for consultation.

Want to support our goal of expanding access to safe and holistic naturopathic medical care in Virginia? Donate to our fundraising campaign and help legislative efforts to license Naturopathic Doctors!

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