Elderberry has been used for hundreds of years by natural healers for infections. It has been shown through experience to be especially useful for viral infections. One study done by Dr. Zakay-Rones et al randomized 60 patients with influenza like symptoms in Norway to either placebo or 15 ml of elderberry 4 times per day for 5 days. Symptoms resolved 4 days earlier in the elderberry group. That is twice as fast as was found with the much more expensive and commonly used western medical treatment oseltamivir (more commonly known as tamiflu) which only improved symptoms 47 hours sooner than placebo.
And the evidence does not rely on this study alone. In 2001 Dr. Barak et al looked at the effects of elderberry on the body and the most striking was a 45 fold increase in tumor necrosis factor alpha which is a key inflammatory cytokine produced by the body to stimulate the immune system and may at least party explain the antiviral properties of elderberry. In 2009 Dr. Roschek et al found that compounds in elderberry extract bind directly to flu virus inhibiting its ability to infect cells.
Yet with all of this research elderberry is almost completely unknown in the traditional medical field and never used. The obvious research study to do would be to first test the safety of elderberry and then head to head comparison with Tamiflu. Initial studies show elderberry will likely be superior but given its much lower cost and the history of Tamiflu shortages in past flu seasons, even if they are equivalent elderberry should become our first line treatment.
And Elderberry’s potential for treatment in HIV, herpes, mono, viral encephalitis and countless other viral infections that we have ineffective or limited treatment for have yet to even be looked at.