The Benefits of Elderberry Extract

I was put on a very strict nutritional protocol in the initial stages of my recovery. Sugar and all sweeteners were completely out of my diet (I was a major sugar addict back then, so this really helped to detox the sugar from my body). When late fall came around, my nutritional practitioner introduced me a big healing treat: black elderberry extract and a naturally sweet immunity “shot,” which to this day is the only flu shot I take!

For daily prevention of colds and flu, she suggested I take 35 drops in water for a few months from November through January. Then she said that I could mix some of the elderberry tincture with food grade glycerine (already naturally sweet) if I wanted to satisfy a sweet craving. I was thrilled to have a little treat that was so good for me! It tasted delicious too.

When I went home to research elderberry, I learned that it was a superstar for boosting immunity to help prevent colds and flu. A study done in Panama found that the elderberry extract (Sambucol) was effective for influenza A and B, with cure rates within 2 days and no side effects (results were reported in the Winter 1995 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine).

Elderberry Extract Also Has the Following Benefits

  • Antioxidant – helps remove free radicals that cause aging and dis-ease
  • Helps to protect brain health
  • Helps boost immunity
  • Has been found to protect the body from 10 strains of the flu (flu shot only protects the body from one strain of the flu and it may not be the one going around)
  • Aids the body in preventing sinusitis and colds
  • May act as a laxative for constipation
  • Can prevent hay fever
  • Cancer preventative

Here’s How to Use It If You Have a Cold or the Flu

  • 4 Tablespoons Sambucol for 2 – 3 days if you have a cold or flu

For Prevention

  • 35 drops to 1 tablespoon in water or a smoothie each day.
  • I often like to add it to sparkling mineral water with a twist of lemon or to hot water for elderberry tea.
  • I’ve even made an elderberry cocktail for a Saturday night celebration with 4 oz. sparkling mineral water, 10 drops citrus bitters, 2 tablespoons elderberry extract and 2 oz. organic gin. Gin was originally created as a cold medicine back in the day because it’s full of juniper, which has medicinal immune-boosting properties and the alcohol was meant to drive the medicinal juniper into the bloodstream!
  • Sweet treat: 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerine (food grade) and 1 tablespoon elderberry extract, mix well and enjoy!

You can make your own elderberry extract or tincture or purchase an organic black elderberry glycerite (alcohol free) at your health food store or online ( and Amazon carry it). I like Herb Pharm because it’s organic.

Do you use elderberry extract? Does it sound like something you’d like to use? What other natural remedies do you use to prevent or treat colds and flu?

I’m also curious if any of you would consider using elderberry instead of getting a flu shot?

Here’s to your health!

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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!