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Elderberry
Overview
Elderberry, or elder, has been used for centuries to treat wounds, when applied to the skin. It is also taken by mouth to treat respiratory illnesses such as cold and flu. In many countries, including Germany, elder flower is used to treat colds and flu. Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion. Elder may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties.

Elderberry also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body' s cells. However, very few studies have been done in humans, so researchers don't know how effective elder may be.


What is Elderberry ?
Elderberry is a plant. The berries are used to make medicine. Do not confuse elderberry with American Elder, Elderflower, or Dwarf Elder.

Elderberry is used for "the flu" (influenza), H1N1 "swine" flu, HIV/AIDS, and boosting the immune system. It is also used for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Some people use elderberry for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), cancer, as a laxative for constipation, to increase urine flow, and to cause sweating.

Elderberry fruit is also used for making wine and as a food flavoring.


Where it is found?
The genus is native in temperate-to-subtropical regions of both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. It is more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere; its Southern Hemisphere occurrence is restricted to parts of Australasia and South America.Benefits / uses

Colds and Flu
Elderberry may help treat cold and flu symptoms by reducing congestion and possibly making you sweat more. One study suggested that using a standardized elderberry extract, Sambucol, could shorten the duration of flu by about 3 days. Sambucol also contains other herbs plus vitamin C, so no one knows whether elderberry by itself would have the same effect.

Another preliminary study found that a lozenge with elderberry extract (ViraBLOC) helped reduce flu symptoms when taken within 24 hours of symptoms starting. In the lab, one study suggested that elderberry could kill the H1N1 virus in test tubes, but researchers don't know whether it would be effective against H1N1 in people.


Bacterial Sinusitis (Sinus Infection)
One study examined the use of a proprietary product, Sinupret, to treat bacterial sinusitis along with an antibiotic (doxycycline or Vibramycin) and a decongestant. People who took the combination did better compared to those who did not take Sinupret. However, Sinupret contains other herbs along with elderberry, so no one knows whether taking elderberry alone would work as well.

Best Form For Human Consumption
Elderberry is available as a liquid, syrup, and tincture, as well as in capsule and lozenge forms.

Doses:
The flu: one tablespoon (15 mL) 4 times daily of a specific elderberry juice-containing syrup (Sambucol, Nature’s Way) daily for 3-5 days. A dose of 15 mL (1 tablespoon) twice daily for 3 days has been used in children. A specific elderberry lozenge (ViraBLOC, HerbalScience) 175 mg 4 times daily for 2 days.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
Do not use unripe or uncooked elderberries. They may be poisonous. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take elderberry. If you have an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you should ask your doctor before taking elderberry, as it may stimulate the immune system.
 
Interactions:
Diuretics (water pills) -- Diuretics help the body get rid of excess fluid and increase the amount of urine your body makes. Elderberry may also act as a iuretic, so taking it along with a diuretic could make that drug stronger and raise your risk of dehydration. Diuretics include:
Hydrochlorothiazide
Bumetanide (Burinex)
Furosemide (Lasix)
Amiloride (Midamor)
Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)


Diabetes medications -- Elderberry may lower blood sugar levels. If you are also taking drugs for diabetes, taking elderberry may increase your risk of developing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Chemotherapy -- Elderberry may interact with some chemotherapy drugs. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, ask your oncologist before taking any herb or supplement.

Laxatives -- Elderberry may act like a laxative and should not be taken at the same time as other laxatives.

Theophylline (TheoDur) -- Elderberry may reduce levels of theophylline, a drug taken for asthma and other respiratory conditions. That could make the drug not work as well.

Drugs that suppress the immune system -- Because elderberry may stimulate the immune system, it could interfere with medications taken to suppress the immune system. These medications include corticosteroids (prednisone) and medications used to treat autoimmune diseases. People with organ transplants should also avoid elderberry.


Research studies / References

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J Alt Compl Mod 1995: 1:361-69 2. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Incorporation of the elderberry anthocyanins by endothelial cells increases protection against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biol Med 2000: 29:51 60
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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. 2000;130(1):15-20.
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Kong F. Pilot clinical study on a proprietary elderberry extract: efficacy in addressing influenza symptoms. Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics. 2009;5:32-43.
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Roschek B, Fink RC, McMichael MD, et al. Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry. 2009;70:1255-61.
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Roxas M, Jurenka J. Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations. Altern Med Rev. 2007 Mar;12(1):25-48. Review.
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Uncini Manganelli RE, Zaccaro L, Tomei PE. Antiviral activity in vitro of Urtica dioica L., Parietaria diffusa M. et K. and Sambucus nigra L. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Apr 26;98(3):323-7.
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Vlachojannis JE, Cameron M, Chrubasik S. A systematic review on the sambuci fructus effect and efficacy profiles. Phytother Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):1-8. Review.
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Wright CI, Van-Buren L, Kroner CI, Koning MM. Herbal medicines as diuretics: A review of the scientific evidence. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Oct 8;114(1):1-31.