Elderberry concentrate (from Sambucus nigra) has been used by folk medicine doctors for centuries from China to America to treat colds and flu. In slavic countries as well. But is there any science behind it?
It turns out there is. Lots of science. Elderberries contain compounds that are antiviral.
“The clinical study presented by Kong showed that administration of the elderberry extract to patients presenting flu symptoms significantly relieve influenza-like symptoms within 24 hours from the administration of the first dose. According to recent studies, it can be assumed that flavonoids in elderberry can inhibit the H1N1 influenza virus infection in vitro by binding to the surface of the virus. S. nigra constituents cause the deactivation of hemagglutinin and thus prevent the virus from entering and replicating in the host cell.”
Elderberries contain quercetin, which has been shown to carry zinc into cells, which will inhibit replication of RNA viruses, such as SARS-COV-2. And elderberry concentrate is very rich in quercetin.
Elderberry concentrate may stimulate immunity.
“I can get quercetin tablets. Why do I need the concentrate?” It’s partly because of the agglutinins, or S. nigra lectins. They help keep viruses out of your cells. They make it more difficult for viruses to latch on to your cells by binding to viruses.
Some of the S. nigra lectins turn off ribosomes that synthesize viral proteins.
Peptic polysaccharides from S. nigra appear to stimulate your immune system’s macrophages.
“But what about cytokine storm? Does elderberry concentrate make cytokine storm worse or more likely?” The origin of this question is from research that shows that elderberry concentrate has some impact on immunomodulatory effects. So what does that mean? The article is behind a paywall. So I can’t look at the data. So I don’t know. Will update when I do.
“I have elderberry extract. Will that work?” Maybe. Being an extract as opposed to a concentrate, some of the elderberry components will have been removed. So you might get partial benefit from using an extract as compared with the concentrated juice.
Can elderberry concentrate be toxic? Yes, if the berries have not been cooked. There are cyanins in raw berries, so raw berries should not be eaten. Cooking the berries destroys the cyanins.