Elder

Plant Part Used

Flowers and berries

Introduction

Elder has been used as a food and medicinal agent for thousands of years and has traditionally been used in the treatment and prevention of colds, flu, sinusitis, and more. A standardized extract of elder is derived from its flowers and berries.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

Flowers: 500mg (standardized extract), 2-3 times a day.

Tea: Pour 5 ounces of boiling water over 2 heaping teaspoonfuls of dried elder flowers, steep and drink 1-2 cups, 3 times a day.

Berries: Capsules - 500mg (standardized extract), 2-3 times a day.

Berries: Liquid extract – 1 tablespoonful (15ml), 2-3 times a day for 3-4 days.

Most Common Dosage

Flowers: 500mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day.

Berries: Capsules - 500mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day.

Berries: Liquid extract (Sambucol) – 1 tablespoonful (15ml), 3 times a day for 3 days.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to:

  • Flowers- 5% bioflavonoids per dose.
  • Berries- 30% anthocyanins with 8% total acids and 7% total phenols per dose.
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    Reported Uses

    Recent studies using Sambucol, a product containing an extract of elder berries suggests that elder may be able to prevent several strains of the influenza virus from replicating. (1) This could be good news for anyone who wants to aid the body’s natural defenses and decrease the time necessary for recovery. Elder has also traditionally been used in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of upper respiratory infections. (2) Other studies suggest that elder flowers have anti-inflammatory properties. (3) Results of a study indicated elderberry having an effect on cholesterol and antioxidant activity. (4)

    Traditionally, elder flowers have been used in the treatment of diabetes. A recent animal study has demonstrated activity similar to insulin. (5) More research is needed to determine how effective elder flowers are for humans with diabetes.

    Toxicities & Precautions

    Introduction

    [span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

    General

    This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. (6)

    Consumption of the roots, stems, leaves and unripe fruit of the elder plant is not recommended. These parts of the plant can induce vomiting or severe diarrhea if ingested. (7) Tell your doctor if these effects become severe or do not go away.

    Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

    To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

    Age Limitations

    To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

    Read More

      1)  Western Herbs

    References

    1. View Abstract: Zakay-Rones Z, et al. Inhibition of Several Strains of Influenza Virus In-Vitro and Reduction of Symptoms by an Elderberry Extract (Sambucus nigra L.) During an Outbreak of Influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med. 1995;1(4):361-69.
    2. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press;1996:104-05.
    3. View Abstract: Yesilada E. Inhibitory Effects of Turkish Folk Remedies on Inflammatory Cytokines: Interleukin-1Alpha, Interleukin-1Beta and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha. J Ethnopharmacol. Sept1997;58(1):59-73.
    4. View Abstract: Murkovic M, Abuja PM, Bergmann AR, et al. Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr. Feb2004;58(2):244-9.
    5. View Abstract: Gray AM, Abdel-Wahab YH, Flatt PR. The Traditional Plant Treatment, Sambucus nigra (Elder), Exhibits Insulin-like and Insulin-releasing Actions In Vitro. J Nutr. Jan2000;130(1):15-20.
    6. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press;1996:104-05.
    7. Jensen SR. Cyanogenic Glucosides in Sambucus nigra L.. Acta Chem Scand. 1973;27(7):2661-62.