Elderberry and elder are the common names for Sambucus, a set of flowering plants, including the species Sambucus nigra (black elderberry) and Sambucus ebulus (dwarf elder). Black elderberry has been a part of traditional medicine for hundreds of years and, due to its reported antiviral activity, it has been used in attempts to treat influenza and colds. Dwarf elder has also been used in herbal medicine to treat skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and infected wounds due to its believed antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Today, elderberry is available in capsules, syrups, gummies, standardised extracts (such as Sambucol) and topical solutions.
The effectiveness of elderberry to treat certain conditions has been formally assessed in randomised clinical trials.
For information on the results from randomised controlled trials and a summary of the findings using meta-analysis, select a condition below and download the related fact sheet. As always, consult your physician before adding new treatments to your regimen or changing any current medication.