Get My FREE Copy
The Five Must-Knows for Treating SIBO
that have helped every person I've worked with.

Did You Know?

  • Elderberry provides immune support in the body for approximately 4-5 hours. For continual immune support, elderberry should be taken 3-4 times a day.
  • Elderberry is antiviral, antioxidant and a flavonoid.
  • Elderberry helps strengthen the functions of both prebiotic and probiotic on gut flora.
  • Several online direct to consumer elderberry products have been found to contain heavy metals, other drugs and other contaminants? Choosing your product brand is vitally important to your safety.

Elderberry, scientifically known as Sambucus nigra, has gained substantial attention for its potential immune-boosting properties. This dark purple berry has been cherished for centuries in traditional medicine systems, and modern research is shedding light on the exact mechanisms through which elderberry exerts its immune-enhancing effects. In part four in our series: exploring immune-boosting supplements for fall wellness – let’s delve into the intricate symphony of elderberry’s immune support, its significance becomes ever clearer.

Flavonoid Fortitude: Anthocyanins at the Helm

At the heart of elderberry’s immune-boosting prowess lies a group of plant compounds known as flavonoids, with anthocyanins taking center stage. These vibrant pigments contribute to the deep purple hue of elderberries and play a crucial role in its health benefits. Anthocyanins possess potent antioxidant properties that combat oxidative stress and neutralize harmful free radicals [1]. By reducing oxidative damage to cells and tissues, anthocyanins indirectly support the immune system by preserving cellular integrity and vitality.

Immune Cell Activation: Strengthening Defenses

Elderberry’s impact on immune cells is where its mechanisms truly shine. Research suggests that elderberry extracts can stimulate the production and activity of immune cells, particularly macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells [2]. Macrophages act as the body’s “clean-up crew,” ingesting and neutralizing pathogens, while NK cells are specialized in identifying and eliminating virus-infected cells and tumor cells. Elderberry’s influence on these cells enhances the body’s defense mechanisms, allowing it to detect and counter threats more effectively.

Cytokine Regulation: Balancing Immune Responses

A well-functioning immune system relies on a delicate balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses. Elderberry has demonstrated its ability to modulate cytokine production, the signaling molecules that orchestrate immune reactions [3]. By promoting the secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines and dampening excessive pro-inflammatory responses, elderberry helps maintain immune equilibrium. This balance is crucial for preventing chronic inflammation and minimizing the risk of autoimmune disorders.

Viral Interference: Blocking Pathogen Entry

One of elderberry’s remarkable mechanisms is its interference with viral entry into host cells. Research indicates that elderberry compounds may inhibit the binding of viruses to cellular receptors, thus impeding their entry and replication [4]. This antiviral action makes elderberry a promising natural remedy for viral infections, including the common cold and influenza. By preventing the initial stages of infection, elderberry reduces the viral load and allows the immune system more time to mount a robust defense.

Immune Memory Support: Long-Term Defense Strategies

Elderberry doesn’t just provide immediate immune support—it also contributes to long-term defense strategies. Studies suggest that elderberry extracts can enhance immune memory, a crucial aspect of our immune system’s ability to recognize and respond more rapidly to familiar pathogens [5]. This means that the immune system can mount a stronger and swifter defense upon subsequent encounters with the same threat, offering enhanced protection.


Gut-Immune Axis: Nurturing Intestinal Health

Emerging research has shed light on the connection between gut health and the immune system, often referred to as the gut-immune axis. Elderberry may contribute to this axis by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, known as probiotics [6]. A healthy gut microbiota is essential for optimal immune function, as it influences the development and regulation of immune cells. By fostering a balanced gut environment, elderberry indirectly supports immune resilience.


While considering the benefits of elderberry supplements, it’s highly advisable to opt for standardized products sourced from reputable and reliable providers. It has come to light that several direct-to-consumer elderberry supplements have been discovered to contain heavy metals and even undisclosed pharmaceutical compounds, which raises serious concerns regarding their safety and quality.

At Functional Medicine Shop, the supplements we offer belong to the pharmaceutical-grade category. These products hold various certifications attesting to their rigorous processing and manufacturing standards. In addition to these certifications, our commitment to quality assurance is further demonstrated through our employment of third-party testing. This essential practice involves comprehensive testing of raw ingredients throughout the formulation process, ensuring that the end products are untainted, pure, and accurately matched to label dosages.

In an era where a multitude of supplement companies populate the online market, it’s imperative to acknowledge that a significant portion of these entities do not implement third-party testing. Consequently, the contents of such supplements remain largely undisclosed, even though their marketing strategies might appear convincing. As part of our dedication to your well-being, if you are currently utilizing a supplement brand that lacks third-party testing, we strongly encourage you to initiate a conversation with the company. A straightforward query such as, “Do you employ third-party testing for both manufacturing and final formulations?” can provide invaluable insights into their commitment to transparency and quality.

With two decades of dedicated research and the meticulous curation of trustworthy brands, I have personally scrutinized and endorsed every supplement listed on Functional Medicine Shop. Our insistence on third-party testing reinforces our unwavering commitment to delivering products that you can rely on.


Elderberry Syrup: 1 Tablespoon four times/ day

Elderberry lozenge: 4 times a day


Liposomal Vitamin C with Elderberry, Quicksilver Scientific
During cold or flu like symptoms, dose 1 teaspoon twice a day ages 10 and up.
Black Elderberry, Gaia Herbs
1 dropperful 3-4 times a day
Elderberry and Zinc Lozenge, DaVinci Laboratories
1 lozenge 2-3 times a day
Propolis Soothing Lozenges Elderberry, Beekeeper’s Naturals
My favorite cough drops, 1 lozenge 2-3 times a day
Kids Immune Avenger, Herb Pharm
Dosing is on the label, by weight. This tincture contains a few herbs to help boost the immune system, including elderberry.


  1. Jimenez-Zamora, A., Guzman, E., Ghoneim, O., & Cordero, M. D. (2019). Beneficial Effects of Sambucus nigra L. on Microbiota and Metabolites: A Focus on the Immune System. Molecules, 24(12), 2398. doi:10.3390/molecules24122398
  2. Barak, V., Birkenfeld, S., Halperin, T., & Kalickman, I. (2001). The effect of herbal remedies on the production of human inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Isr Med Assoc J, 3(11), 919-922. PMID: 11768882
  3. Hawkins, J., Baker, C., Cherry, L., & Dunne, E. (2019). Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 42, 361-365. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.004
  4. Kinoshita, E., Hayashi, K., Katayama, H., Hayashi, T., & Obata, A. (2012). Anti-influenza virus effects of elderberry juice and its fractions. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 76(9), 1633-1638. doi:10.1271/bbb.120112
  5. Roschek Jr., B., Fink, R. C., McMichael, M. D., Li, D., & Alberte, R. S. (2009). Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro. Phytochemistry, 70(10), 1255-1261. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2009.06.003
  6. Bharadwaj, S., Lee, K. E., Dwivedi, V. D., Yadav, D., Huggins, T., Chai, H. B., & Sathyamoorthy, N. (2018). Black elderberry extract attenuates inflammation and metabolic dysfunction in diet-induced obese mice.
  7. Tiralongo, E., Wee, S. S., & Lea, R. A. (2016). Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients, 8(4), 182. doi:10.3390/nu8040182

Enjoying this content? Sign up for updates... It's FREE!

Leave A Comment