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When’s the Best Time to Take Elderberry?

Michael Gonzales
December 17, 2023
When's the Best Time to Take Elderberry

whens the best time to take elderberry

Elderberry can be taken either daily, or as needed when their immune system needs an additional boost. Either way, finding an arrangement that suits you best is key.

Studies on flu-like symptoms showed that patients who began taking elderberry extract within 48 hours of experiencing symptoms saw results four days faster than a placebo group.


Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) boast antiviral and antioxidant properties that act as natural immune boosters, making them a longstanding folk remedy for treating various ailments such as arthritis and allergies. More recently, we use elderberry flowers to create syrups, gummies and capsule supplements which fight colds and flu symptoms.

Cold and flu season is when many people begin taking daily immune booster supplements, but many also use them year round to support healthy immunity function. You may even take them before becoming sick in order to protect against illness altogether.

It is essential to choose a high-quality brand and be consistent in your usage of elderberry extracts, starting a regimen tailored specifically to your health needs and starting it daily or when feeling rundown. At Care/of, we use black elderberry extract from Europe that has been harvested using an advanced process that delivers powerful benefits.

While elderberry syrup extract called Sambucol has received considerable press, there have been no long-term studies on its efficacy. One small research study did indicate that it reduced flu symptoms by approximately three days – similar to how prescription antivirals like Tamiflu work.

If you decide to add elderberry into your daily regimen, be sure to speak to a healthcare provider first and read the label of any supplements to make sure it won’t interact with any medication that might already be on your regimen.

Like with any new dietary supplement, ensure you maintain a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly and get enough restful sleep in order to maximize results and minimize side effects.

To better understand elderberry and its many health benefits, we enlisted Maya Feller, R.D.N. of Maya Feller Nutrition, and Starla Garcia M.Ed., R.D.N. of The Healthy Shine as experts to explain everything there is to know about this superfood and provide their top tips on when and how to incorporate elderberries into daily routines.


Elderberries have long been used by humans to bolster immune function and help fight colds. Today, elderberry supplements are one of the most widely sold natural supplements, available as syrups, liquid extracts and gummies for daily consumption. And research substantiates its immune-enhancing* benefits and ability to support healthy inflammation levels.

Elderberry can help shorten and lessen the duration and severity of colds or flus, according to Shuhan He, M.D., founder of Conduct Science and Maze Engineers. Additionally, according to research from University of Maryland Medical Center it can also boost immunity before and during air travel.

When selecting an elderberry supplement, aim for one made from organic or freshly-pressed, raw elderberries with no added sugar. Gummies, capsules and lozenges tend to be less potent; thus they should be taken alongside syrup for maximum effectiveness. As with any new herbal product or vitamin supplement, consult your Autumn View Gardens community health care team in Ellisville before beginning elderberry consumption in order to determine an effective dose.

Elderberry can act as a diuretic, meaning it will make you urinate more frequently. While this won’t pose much of a problem for most individuals, those with certain health conditions or sensitive stomachs could find this to be bothersome. Unripe or raw berries should be avoided to prevent potential cyanide poisoning. When purchasing elderberry supplements, ensure they carry USP, DSVP or CL certification to verify they adhere to stringent quality standards for supplements. Before taking elderberry extract, it’s best to consult your physician if you are immunocompromised due to an autoimmune condition or cancer treatment. Since herbal products don’t undergo FDA review prior to hitting shelves, being an informed consumer and reading labels carefully is key for staying safe.


Although many individuals choose elderberry daily for its immune-enhancing benefits, the choice ultimately rests with each individual. Finding a supplement schedule that works for you and your specific needs is key – always consult your health care provider prior to adding any new supplements into your daily regimen.

Elderberry extract can act as a natural antiviral, which means it could shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms when taken early on in an illness’s course. According to one recent study, 60 patients who took elderberry extract as soon as flu-like symptoms appeared had their symptoms clear up four days faster than those who did not consume elderberry syrup.

Elderberry contains a protein called hemagglutinin that may help stop viruses from invading your body by binding with them and stopping them from attaching to cells, potentially shortening the length of time you feel sick and decreasing symptoms. Studies show this explains why flu vaccines work so effectively.

Elderberry antioxidants may help delay signs of skin aging such as fine lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity and uneven tone. Furthermore, elderberries’ antioxidative power may reduce oxidative damage caused by stress, poor diet, pollution and various health conditions.

Before taking elderberry supplements, it is wise to consult your physician, particularly if you suffer from an autoimmune condition such as multiple sclerosis or lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE) or have recently undergone organ transplant. Elderberry could possibly increase immune activity which could trigger flare-ups for those living with such diseases.

If you take medications regularly for blood pressure or diabetes, such as those used to manage them, elderberry should be discussed with your healthcare provider before being used as it can interact with certain prescription.

Pregnant women and breastfeeding moms should avoid elderberry supplements. Elderberry should also not be given to children, due to its potency causing unpleasant gastrointestinal issues in young ones. If you decide to give elderberry to your children anyway, use organic berry syrup and administer one teaspoon every four times for five days after first signs of cold or flu symptoms arise.


No matter whether you consume elderberry as a supplement or food, for maximum effectiveness it’s best to keep a consistent schedule in taking it. For example, taking it each morning at the same time will strengthen your immune system so it can continue fighting infections throughout the day.

For maximum effectiveness, health food stores typically stock dried elderberries and flowers as a syrup; you can also make your own by simmering berries and flowers in hot water. As an alternative, lozenges or gummies containing elderberry extract may be added as needed to your diet.

Studies suggest that supplementing with elderberry may reduce both the duration and severity of cold, flu, and respiratory infection symptoms, although more testing needs to be conducted on it. Children aged under five should avoid taking this supplement as it could worsen their symptoms; additionally it’s essential that prior to adding any supplements into your routine you consult your healthcare provider first, particularly if any preexisting health conditions exist.

As an example, the berry may contain compounds that could stimulate an autoimmune response in those living with lupus or multiple sclerosis, as well as possibly interfering with some medications such as anticoagulants, diuretics and immunosuppressants. Furthermore, taking it along with vitamin C may compromise both treatments significantly.

Though elderberry can pose some risk, studies indicate it’s generally safe when taken as directed for up to 12 weeks (though more research needs to be conducted). If you decide to incorporate elderberry into your routine, look for supplements with USP, DSVP or CL certification; these certifying bodies provide reliable stamps of quality from companies willing to seek them voluntarily and help ensure you’re receiving an appropriate dosage. In addition, make sure the ingredient list contains no added sugars; many supplements contain them! And finally, always consult a healthcare provider or registered dietitian prior to starting any new supplement regimen!


  • Michael Gonzales

    Michael has a diverse set of skills and passions, with a full-time career as an airline pilot and a dedicated focus on health and fitness consulting. He understands the importance of balancing a busy lifestyle with maintaining a healthy mind and body, and is committed to helping others achieve the same success. Michael's expertise in health and fitness is not just limited to physical training, but also extends to nutrition, stress management, and overall wellbeing. He takes a holistic approach to health and fitness, helping clients to achieve their goals in a sustainable and fulfilling way. With a strong desire to inspire and motivate others, Michael is always ready to share his time and knowledge with those who seek his guidance. Whether in the air or on the ground, Michael is dedicated to helping others live their best lives.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-gonzales-07bb4b31/ [email protected] Gonzales Michael


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