Elderberry Health Benefits and Side Effects

Elderberry, also called elder flower, is a tree that bears cream-colored flowers followed by dark purple berries in autumn. Elderberry trees are native to Europe, but have been naturalized to the Americas, and have a long history of medicinal use

Varieties: American elder (Sambucus canadensis) and the European Elder (Sambucus nigra)

Common Name: Sweet elder, common elder, elderberry, sambucus

Nutrient Content of Elderberry: Tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, rutin, vitamins A, B and C.

Part Used Medicinally: Leaves, Flowers and Berries

elderberry benefits

elderberry benefits

Elderberry Health Benefits:

  • Elderberry tea may inhibit influenza replication and boost immune system activity. People that take elderberry during cold and flu season report less symptoms than people who don’t take it.
  • The elder flower can help strengthen the upper respiratory tract. The flowers are effective at reducing phlegm and encouraging sweating.
  • Elderberry flower when use as poultice can help reduce inflammation.
  • The berries have high levels of tannins which work as a natural diuretic. The elderberries have twice the antioxidant properties of that of blueberries and cranberries.
  • The elderberry juice helps improve vision, especially night vision.
  • The juice of the berries can help improve digestion and elimination and are used to relieve arthritis.
  • Elderberry tea reduces and deactivates the oxidation of the cardiovascular system.
  • Elderberries are effective against both bacteria and viruses, and act to prevent viruses from entering cells.
  • Elderberry tea can help purify the blood.


  • The berries should never be consumed raw. It contains hydrocyanic acid and alkaloids that can cause severe stomach upset.
  • Drinking a tea instead of taking a capsule is sometimes said to expedite the healing process, since the body can begin to absorb the nutrients immediately, without waiting for the capsule to dissolve and the contents to be broken down by the stomach.

Elderberry Side Effects: Drinking more than 20 ounces of elderberry juice can result to diarrhea. Additionally, when eating elderberries in raw form it can result in vomiting and dizziness.

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