Updated on 27. Dec. 2018

Small and bluish-black or purple, Elderberries are a super food in a tiny round package. They are rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, protein, fiber and minerals such as iron and potassium as well as vitamins A, B, and C.

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Elderberries are native to both the United States and Europe and have been used for a number of reasons over the centuries.2 In the modern health industry, elderberry is available as an extract, capsules, and lozenges, and the flower can be made into tea.3 Elderberry-flower tea is reported to aid with headaches, indigestion, colds, flu, and act as an anti-inflammatory. However, elderberry is also used in winemaking and can be made into delicious jellies, jams, syrups, and pies—the perfect tart berry to cook with.4 But before you head off into the woods and start looking for elderberries to make delicious baked goods, a word of caution: only the blue and purple berries are edible, red berries are a no go.5

The antioxidants in elderberries have a host of positive health benefits including lower cholesterol, improved heart health, and a boosted immune system. The flavonoids and proteins contained in the berry also inhibit the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Because flavonoids protect against cell damage, elderberries have been used in the treatment of AIDS and cancer patients to boost their immune systems and prevent further cell damage.6

A study conducted recently in Australia highlighted elderberry’s cold and flu fighting abilities in airline travel. The study included 312 economy class passengers, flying from Australia to overseas locations. The travelers took a 900 mg elderberry supplement, starting this regimen 10 days before their flight. The results of the study showed that the occurrence of a cold after taking a long flight was the same between groups who took the supplement and those who did not, however, the supplement group’s symptoms were not as severe and their recovery was reported to be quicker than those who did not take the supplement.7

Additional health benefits of elderberries include improved digestive, skin, and bone health. A single serving of elderberry contains around 40% of your daily fiber requirement, assisting greatly in the health of your digestive system, while also promoting weight loss. The minerals found in elderberries help promote bone strength, a factor to take into consideration for those with osteoporosis. The Vitamin A and antioxidants found in elderberry help to prevent and lessen wrinkles as well as improve overall skin tone.8

For topical use, steep elderberry flowers in oil to make a lotion and apply to areas of muscle soreness or to sooth burns, sunburns, and rashes.9

  1.  “Health Benefits of Elderberries.” Organic Facts. Organic Facts, 06 Aug. 2014. Web.
  2.  Mierzejewski, Kathee. “Growing Elderberries: How To Grow Elderberry Plants.” Gardening Know How. Gardening Know How, 04 Apr. 2009. Web.
  3.  Ehrlich, Steven. “Elderberry.” University of Maryland Medical Center. University of Maryland Medical Center, 11 Jan. 2012. Web; “Elderberries.” Cornell Fruit Resources. Cornell University, n.d. Web.
  4.  Strang, John. “Elderberry.” University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service (n.d.): n. pag. University of Kentucky – College of Agriculture, Feb 2012. Web.
  5.  “Common Elderberry.” Plant Guide (n.d.): n. pag. United States Department of Agriculture. Web.
  6.  “Elderberry Benefits & Information (Sambucus Nigra).” Herbwisdom., n.d. Web.
  7.  House, Laura. “Eating Elderberries Can Help You Avoid Catching a Cold on Long Flights, New Trial Reveals.” Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers, 22 July 2015. Web.
  8.  “Health Benefits of Elderberries.” Organic Facts. Organic Facts, 06 Aug. 2014. Web.
  9.  What Are Elderberries Good For?” Food Facts., n.d. Web.
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