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)
- Randomized clinical study (RCT) using commercially produced elderberry syrup
- 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