“Can you use elderberry syrup if you have an autoimmune condition?” This is always a very debated topic and one worth writing about.

But first, the big disclosures…

It’s always best to check with your rheumatologist, endocrinologist or your other medical team of advisors. They know your medical history best. 

Use this information as educational only. 

Take the study below and present it to your doctors so that can dig and do their research for you, too.

If you hang out in any number of AI-related Facebook groups, you’ll see this question over and over again during cold and flu season.  Elderberries, elderberry elixir and elderberry syrup have created quite the buzz lately and people are misconstruing what the previous science actually said.

The new science looks promising for those with autoimmune issues. 

It’s important to call out a few important factors to consider when we talk about this topic.

1. There are hundreds of autoimmune diseases. To make a sweeping statement of all or nothing isn’t valid here.
2. Within each, autoimmune runs on a spectrum of severity. What’s problematic for one is a non-event for another, both with the same AI condition.
3. Cytokines aren’t all bad. 
There are many cytokine families – some anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory.
4. Cytokines are a broad sweeping category of proteins. They carry messages between cells and regulate the immune response.
5. There is no scientific evidence suggesting that elderberries caused a cytokine storm. With the new research (below), this is even more evident that the potential is little to none.
6. The autoimmune community (myself included – hashi’s girl here) is sensitive to the word cytokine because they associate it to ONLY pro-inflammatory, not realizing that there is another family that works in their favor, too.

In other words, neither autoimmune diseases NOR all cytokines are created equal.

Words are being misconstrued by the mass market
The word “stimulating” in prior studies has created a lot of “excitement” in the AI community. Stimulate was not intended to mean “bad;” rather, simply to “turn on” or “start” the immune system. Like putting a key in your car to start the engine.

Elderberries don’t “increase” (as in, multiply something) or “boost” (make something go up) the immune system.  In fact, the latest research shown in The Journal of Functional Foods published in March of 2019 shows the following:

  • The primary component of elderberry (cyn 3-glu) is immunomodulating.
  • The primary component of elderberry does not affect the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • The primary component in elderberries does not stimulate the immune system.

Read the abstract here and purchase the full article if you’d prefer (I get absolutely no commission for that suggestion). Source: http://bit.ly/2NQy2Xo (March 2019).

It’s important to keep asking good questions. Science is never done. It’s always evolving, just like the way in which we think about autoimmune and it’s root cause effects, too.


Stay health,

A How To Use Elderberry For Optimal Health Guide!

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