Elderberry Extract Sambucol Fights FluTuesday, April 28, 2009 19:23
If you’re looking for natural flu remedies in the wake of the recent swine flu outbreaks, the black elderberry extract Sambucol is a choice that rises to the top of many lists. A small study published in the ’90s showed that 93% of flu patients given Sambucol were completely symptom-free within two days, while those taking a placebo recovered in about six days. That particular study, published in the winter 1995 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, was performed during an influenza B outbreak though, so the verdict was still out on flu A.
In a second study published in the International Journal of Medical Research, 90% of the study participants had influenza A. In this study, patients who received Sambucol recovered in an average of 3.1 days, versus 7.1 for the placebo group. No significant side effects were reported in this study.
Scientists believe that flavanoids in black elderberry extract are likely to be the component that is active against the influenza virus. Although we don’t know whether elderberry extract is effective against the current strain of swine flu, the fact that black elderberry extract is generally safe for both children and adults, and there are no known negative effects or drug interactions, makes it a pretty good candidate when it comes to natural remedies.
In case you’re wondering, everything I’ve read leaves me a little hazy on exactly which black elderberry extract preparation was used in the studies mentioned above. Both Sambucol by Healthcare Brands International Ltd. and Nature’s Way Sambucol product information make vague statements about scientific testing and virology. One thing I do know, is that the product marketed as Nature’s Way Sambucol changed it’s name to Sambucus Original Black Elderberry Syrup in late 2008. Depending on where you purchase it from, you might find Nature’s Way products labeled as Sambucol or Sambucus. We happen to have a little bit of each brand. If anyone can clarify this issue by providing the full text of either study, I’d really appreciate it!
As with all medications, consult with your physician before making treatment decisions.