A Review of the Antiviral Properties of Black Elder (Sambucus nigra L.) Products.

Phytotherapy Research, 2017


  •   This review paper starts with the constituents and chemical compounds of S. nigra and breaks down antiviral properties based on these components.  This an excellent and well-cited article, and synthesizes the literature well.
  •   Properties of the compounds in S. nigra: protection against oxidative stress in vitro but not in vivo, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, cardiovascular health promoting, antioxidant, immune stimulatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, pathogen inhibitory and diuretic.
  •   Based on its chemical composition, S. nigra is better as a therapeutic and dietary agent compared to other Sambucus species.
  •   This article also goes into a lot of detail about safety in usage of S. nigra.  Unripe fruit may have slight toxicity, and adverse effects have been reported from uncooked fruit.  Long term use of the flower could lead to excessive diuresis.  Flowers and fruit, when cooked, are safe.  If a person has allergies to adxaceae or caprifidaceae, elderberry use is not advised.  It is also not advised in chemotherapy patients, and should be monitored in diabetic and hypertensive patients. 

·   The literature comparing antiviral medicines to elderberry is summarized, but the results are highly inconsistent, so no firm conclusions can be drawn.  However, the point is made that herbal remedies tend to be better tolerated and do not induce drug resistance.

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