Quality survey Health benefits Safety Reading labels Ask the supplier Standards & regulations


Testing news
Ask the expert
Contact us
Privacy policy

Research news

Black Elderberry Extract Shortens Flu Duration by Half
Springville UT, 10 December 2003

Sambucol®, an all-natural, proprietary black elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) distributed by Nature's Way Products, Inc., reduces symptoms and shortens duration of flu types A & B, finds a clinical study accepted for publication in The Journal of International Medical Research.

On average, flu patients given Sambucol recovered in 3.1 days compared to 7.1 days for those given placebo. Fifty-four patients with verified type A flu and six with type B (29 females/31 males aged 18 to 54 years) were enrolled in the double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted through the University of Oslo School of Medicine, Norway. Study participants were randomly assigned to two groups, with one given Sambucol (1 tbsp) and the other placebo four times a day for five days. No significant side effects were reported.

A previous study published by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that nearly 90 percent of flu patients given Sambucol were completely free of symptoms within two to three days, as compared to at least six days with placebo.

These clinical studies confirm the effectiveness of Sambucol black elderberry extract in shortening the duration and reducing the severity of flu. Black elderberry has not, however, been tested as a flu preventative, nor is it intended as a substitute for flu vaccine.

"Sambucol is one of our best treatments for the flu, especially when taken at first sign of symptoms," says Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, a prominent Israeli virologist and developer of the Sambucol extract. "Flu viruses are covered by tiny protein spikes of hemagglutinin, which they use to attach to, and infect, healthy human cells," she says. "While working on my doctoral thesis we isolated key active substances within black elderberry that disarm hemagglutinin and thus stop the first step of viral invasion."

Dr. Russell Greenfield, a leading American practitioner of integrative medicine and Medical Director of Carolina's Integrative Health, also advocates treating flu with black elderberry. "It can be given to children and adults, and with no known side effects or negative interactions," he says. But don't expect grandma's elderberry jam to ease flu-related body aches, cough and fever warns Dr. Greenfield. "Sambucol is the only black elderberry preparation shown effective in clinical studies."

Available in formulas for children and adults, Sambucol is sold in health and nutrition stores nationwide. Nature's Way Products, Inc., of Springville UT, distributes Sambucol throughout the United States and Canada. Nature's Way is a leading manufacturer and marketer of dietary supplements and homeopathic medicines.

Sambucol is classified as a dietary supplement, rather than a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the prevention, cure or treatment of the flu. It is not intended as a substitute for flu vaccine, which is advisable for children and adults—especially those over age 50 or with compromised immune function.


Zakay-Rones Z, et al. "Inhibition of Several Strains of Influenza Virus in Vitro and Reduction of Symptoms by an Elderberry Extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an Outbreak of Influenza B Panama." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 1995;1:361-369.


Nature's Way Products, Inc.end-of-story


Health benefits Safety Reading labels Ask the supplier Standards & regulations Contact us

(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.