Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

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 placebo


Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.  Nutrients (2016)

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27023596/

  • Randomized clinical study (RCT) using commercially produced elderberry syrup
  • N=312
  • Study evaluated impact of taking elderberry vs. placebo prior to travel including long flight duration (flight lasting at least 7 hours, trip lasting at least 4 days total).
  • Subjects were excluded if they took the flu shot
  • Subjects in the elderberry group had a statistically significant improvement in cold symptom score, shorter duration of symptoms.
  • Subjects in the elderberry group saw no change in quality of life measures, but subjects in the placebo group saw a decrease in quality of life measures.
  • Mental health measures increased in both treatment groups after travel was over, but the improvement in the elderberry group was greater than in the placebo group.
  • Side effects of elderberry were rare (n=4) but causality associated with use of elderberry could not be established.
  • Strengths: Study used validated measures for symptom scoring, quality of life, and mental health. Large sample size and longitudinal follow-up also a strength.

Keywords: RCT, common cold, improved symptoms

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