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Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is native to North Africa, Europe and Asia. The berries grow on deciduous trees that can reach 30 feet in height and bloom in late summer or early fall. The earliest references to elderberry for medicinal purposes can be traced back to Hippocrates circa 470-410 BCE. It has been used in traditionally for immune health, and recently, promising clinical research has emerged to confirm this usage. In addition to its medicinal purposes, elderberries have been used for flavoring, and to make wines and pies.
In recent years, Elderberry has been the subject of both in-vitro and in-vivo research. In these studies, Elderberry has demonstrated multiple immunomodulatory properties suggesting broad immune support.
In 2016, a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted to assess the effects of elderberry extract on physical health during long-haul airplane flights. Researchers evaluated 312 healthy passengers flying overseas from Australia on a minimum 7-hour flight. The passengers were split into two groups, one receiving placebo, and another receiving 900mg per day of elderberry extract. The participants were surveyed at baseline, just before travel, and again 4 days after travel. Comparing the two groups, there were more symptoms in the placebo group; however, it was not significant (17 in the placebo group, 12 in the elderberry group.) Furthermore, healthy passengers that took elderberry showed fewer common air travel respiratory occurrences during travel on long-haul flights than placebo. (2).
- Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.Nutrients,2016
- Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses.BMC complementary and alternative medicine,2011