Elder

Plant Part Used

Flowers and berries

Active Constituents

Flavonoids, (including rutin), triterpenoids (including lupeol), volatile oils, chlorogenic acid, sterol (beta-sitosterol), lectins. (1) [span class=alert]

Tectin (9), (2S)-2-O-b-d-glucopyranosyl-2-hydroxyphenylacetic acid and benzyl 2-O-b-d-glucopyranosyl-2,6-dihydroxybenzoate (10), flavonoids (including anthocyanins and rutin) (11)

This section is a list of chemical entities identified in this dietary supplement to possess pharmacological activity. This list does not imply that other, yet unidentified, constituents do not influence the pharmacological activity of this dietary supplement nor does it imply that any one constituent possesses greater influence on the overall pharmacological effect of this dietary supplement.[/span]

Introduction

Elder has been used as a food and medicinal agent for thousands of years. Elder is stated to possess antiviral, diaphoretic (increase sweating) and anti-catarrhal (decrease mucous) properties, and has been traditionally used in the prevention and treatment of colds, influenza, chronic nasal catarrh and sinusitis. (2) A patented liquid extract of the berries has been used in Israel as an effective antiviral agent.

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.

     

    Uses

    Frequently Reported Uses

    • Hay Fever
    • Antiviral.
    • Sinusitis
    • Chronic Catarrh
    • Insulin Regulation
    Other Reported Uses
    • Antioxidant
    • Diaphoretic
    • Externally For Bruises, Sprains (Leaf)
    • Mild Anti-Inflammatory
    • Mild Diuretic
    • Mild Laxative
    • Anticancer

     

    Toxicities & Precautions

    General

    No toxicity is reported in recommended dosages. (3)

    The flowers and ripe berries are stated to be edible without harm.

    The roots, stems, leaves and to a lesser extent the unripe fruit contains cyanogenic glycosides which may induce vomiting or severe diarrhea if ingested. (4)

    Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

    If pregnant or nursing, consult a physician before use.

    Age Limitations

    Do not use in children under 2 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

    Pharmacology

    Sambucol, a product containing an extract of the berries of the black elder (Sambucus nigra), has been reported to inhibit the ability of several strains of influenza virus to replicate. In one study using a liquid extract of elderberry, 90 percent of the individuals with symptoms of influenza B were asymptomatic in 2-3 days, while individuals on placebo did not recover for at least six days. (5)

    An infusion of Elder flowers has been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties, mainly on cytokine inhibition. (6) Subjects taking elderberry at low doses experienced a minor decrease in serum cholesterol concentrations and an increase in antioxidant activity. Higher doses of elderberry could be considered to significantly reduce postprandial serum lipids. (7)

    Elder flowers have been reported to have traditional uses in the treatment of diabetes. A recent laboratory animal study of an aqueous extract of elder flowers (Sambucus nigra) reported significant increases in 2-deoxy-glucose transport, glucose oxidation and glycogenesis of mouse abdominal muscle in the absence of added insulin. (8) The plant demonstrated the presence of insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity. It is reported that the production of tectin derived protein combined together with mammalian ribosomes make it effective for cancer therapy. (9)

    References

    1. View Abstract: Johansen OP, et al. Cyanidin 3-[6-(p-coumaroyl)-2-(xylosyl)-glucoside]-5-glucoside and Other Anthocyanins from Fruits of Sambucus canadensis. Phytochemistry. 1991;30(12):4137-41.
    2. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press;1996:104-05.
    3. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press;1996:104-05.
    4. Jensen SR. Cyanogenic Glucosides in Sambucus nigra L.. Acta Chem Scand. 1973;27(7):2661-62.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. M.D.B Fernando, C. Lucía, I. Rosario, F.J. Miguel, C Emilio, M.Enrique, G.Tomás. Isolation and partial characterization of a novel and uncommon two-chain 64-kDa ribosome-inactivating protein from the bark of elder (Sambucus nigra L.) FEBS Letters, Volume 413, Issue 1, 11 August 1997, Pages 85-91.
    10. D.A Brigida, D.G Marina, F. Antonio, M. Pietro, P. Lucio, M.S Ana, Z. Armando. Potential allelochemicals from Sambucus nigra. Phytochemistry, Volume 58, Issue 7, December 2001, Pages 1073-1081
    11. V. Robert, J. Jerneja, S. Franci, S. Valentina. European elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) rich in sugars, organic acids, anthocyanins and selected polyphenols. Food Chemistry, Volume 114, Issue 2, 15 May 2009, Pages 511-515