Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Traditional Indications

Elderberry is anti-inflammatory, aperient, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, emollient, expectorant, galactogogue, haemostatic, laxative and ophthalmic. Elderberry is widely used in herbal medicine and traditionally indicated for cold, influenza, and catarrhal inflammation. (1)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Jiē Gǔ Mù 接骨木enters the Lung, Kidneys & Bladder meridians to release the exterior, clear Heat, promote sweating, resolve Damp & tonify Lung Qi to expel Phlegm. (2)

Pharmacognosy

Elderberry extract to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza. (3)

Elderberry is a natural neuraminidase (NA) inhibitor. (4) Neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) block the neuraminidase enzyme and are commonly used as antiviral drugs because they block the function of viral neuraminidases of the influenza virus cell. The compound cyanidin-3sambubiocide, an anthocyanin flavonoid displays potent NA inhibition. (5)

Elderberry fruit extract displays inhibitory potential on H5N1-type influenza A virus (avian influenza). (4)

Elderberry fruit extract enhances interferon-β (IFN-β)n response. (6) IFNs are proteins known as cytokines, molecules responsible for triggering Immune defences to help eradicate pathogens. IFN are named for their ability to "interfere" with viral replication by protecting cells from virus infections. IFNs also activate immune cells, such as natural killer cells and macrophages; they increase host defences by up-regulating antigen presentation by virtue of increasing the expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens to help immune cells differentiate self cells from foreign invading cells. Flu like symptoms" including fever and muscle pain are caused by the production of IFNs and other cytokines. (7)

1. PFAF. Sambucus nigra 2019.
2. Healing WRIo. Elderberry (Jie Gu Mu) 2019.
3. Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. Journal of International Medical Research. 2004;32(2):132-40.
4. Krawitz C, Mraheil MA, Stein M, Imirzalioglu C, Domann E, Pleschka S, et al. Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011;11:16.
5. Swaminathan K, Dyason J, Maggioni A, von Itzstein M, M Downard K. Binding of a natural anthocyanin inhibitor to influenza neuraminidase by mass spectrometry2013.
6. Frokiaer H, Henningsen L, Metzdorff SB, Weiss G, Roller M, Flanagan J, et al. Astragalus root and elderberry fruit extracts enhance the IFN-beta stimulatory effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus in murine-derived dendritic cells. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47878.
7. Various. Interferon. Wikipedia2018.