Elderberry encompasses a variety of species within the genus Sambucus, family Adoxaceae. Elderberries are generally identifiable by their pinnate or serrated, feather-like leaves, whitish flowers, and clusters of black, blue, or red berries. Elderberries are widespread and commonly cultivated for medicinal use throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Traditionally, elderberry extract was utilized to treat fever and rheumatism throughout Central and Eastern Europe. It is also well-known for its antiviral and antioxidant potency and has been verified to possess anti-influenza effects in placebo-controlled clinical trials. Elderberry and elderflower’s most bioactive components include pectic polysaccharides and phenolic compounds.
In a 2012 study published by Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, researchers evaluated the therapeutic potential of elderberry juice against the human influenza-A virus. Results indicated that elderberry juice suppressed viral proliferation in the bronchial fluid of infected laboratory mice. Further, oral administration of elderberry juice increased influenza-neutralizing antibodies in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids in vivo. Researchers concluded that elderberry juice might be capable of stimulating an immune response and inhibiting viral replication of influenza-A infection in humans.
Studies have also validated elderberry liquid extract’s inhibitory effect against the human influenza-B virus. A 2011 study published by BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that elderberry liquid extract yielded antimicrobial activity against various types of pathogenic bacteria, including Streptococcus Pyogenes, Branhamella catarrhalis, and both human influenza type A and B in vitro.
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