Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials

The elderberry nutritional science summary is written by Dr. Cathy Stein specifically for Trisha’s Elderberries. All rights reserved. Dr. Cathy Stein has a PhD in epidemiology and her research focuses on infectious disease susceptibility.  She currently holds a tenured faculty position. 

Note: all randomized controlled trials were double-blinded with a placebo


Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2019)

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30670267/

  • Meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (RCTs), included 4 studies (which are all summarized in this document)
  • Conclusion of meta-analysis: elderberry supplementation was more effective at reducing duration and severity of symptoms associated with influenza than those associated with common cold.
  • Good discussion of safety, making the point that homemade elderberry recipes might not use enough heat.
  • Some of the studies included in this analysis allowed subjects to take the influenza vaccine, and the analysts of this meta-analysis concluded that the flu shot did not influence the effectiveness of elderberry in reducing symptoms. However, the sample size here was small (only 2 studies) and the confidence intervals quite wide, so there is less confidence in this conclusion.

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