5. Can I take elderberry to prevent stomach bug

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Can I Take Elderberry To Prevent Stomach Bug?

Benefits of Elderberry

Can I take elderberry to prevent stomach bug? The simplest answer is yes! Stomach bug or Stomach flu names used for viral gastroenteritis that is the inflammation of the digestive system. The reason behind this is weaker immunity. Elderberry has antiviral activity and immunity booster effects; therefore, it can be taken for relieving the symptoms of stomach bug.1, 2

But do you know what other benefits you can get by using elderberry supplements? What is the safe dose of the elderberry? Is there any restriction?

1. What is Elderberry? (Sambucus Nigra)

Elderberry, black elder, or European elder are common names for an herb primarily found in a sunny region. The botanical name of this herb is Sambucus nigra. This is a common plant in scrubland in Britain and northern Europe. It is part of traditional cuisine in the area. 3

The plant is a shrub having leaves, flowers, and fruits. The extract of these dark fruits and flowers has medicinal properties.

2. Never Eat a Raw Elderberry

The berries or any part of this plant should never be eaten raw. These all have poisonous properties. The elderberry can only be consumed after it has been cooked, converted to supplements, jam, or jelly.

3. What Are The Uses And Recommended Doses Of Elderberry?

Elderberry has shown its results as an immunity enhancer. The medicinal use of elderberry is common in Austrian traditional medicine. The fruit is used as jelly, syrup, juice, or tea for this purpose.

The following are a few diseases in which elderberry aids in recovery. 4

  • Respiratory Tract Problems 
  • Mouth Disease
  • Gastrointestinal Tract Issues
  • Skin Problems
  • Viral Infections
  • Fever / Colds
  • Influenza

4. How to Take Elderberry? Dose of Elderberry

  • As a general rule, always follow the dosage guidelines of the manufacturer.
  • As an immunity booster: Are you want to increase your immunity, a teaspoon of elderberry syrup, or equivalent other doses. Studies have investigated elderberry’s role in enhancing the immune system and found that an anthocyanin found in elderberry is responsible for the boosted immune system. Another study elaborated that this fruit increases the production of immune cytokines.5 
  • Use as Antiviral: If you’re going to take elderberry for its antiviral benefits e.g. flu, cold, etc, you should have at the onset of the symptoms. 4 teaspoons (or equivalent dose) is the recommendation for this.
  • A Laxative: Many people get relive from constipation by using a tablespoon of this supplement every day. It should always be taken as medicinal syrup, not as a juice in the glass.
  • If you have any underlined medical issues, you must consult with your doctor before the use of the elderberry.

5. Elderberry and Stomach Bug Viral Gastroenteritis

Norovirus is one of the main viruses causing gastroenteritis. 6

Elderberry can help in recovering from the virus when used just after the appearance of symptoms.

Elderberry has a compound namely Antivirin. It stops the infectious virus spread and prevents the infection.

The immunity-boosting effects further reduced the chances of infection as the cause of viral gastroenteritis is weaker immunity.

6. Who Should Be Cautious Before Taking Elderberry?

Many doctors believe that it’s good to have small quantities of elderberry. If you have any of these following conditions, you must consult with your doctor before taking it.

  • In breastfeeding and pregnancy, you shouldn’t have it
  • Other parts of trees e.g. leaf, roots, seeds, and branches. These all are toxic.
  • Allergic to Elderberry ; getting a rash or breathing problem
  • Any underlined Medical issue that can aggravate.

7. Take-Home Message

Elderberry is the extract of the fruit of herb known for its medicinal properties. It is available as a nutritional supplement in the US. 

Elderberry is used for immunity boosters, as a laxative, and an antiviral. Allergic reactions are rarely seen. 

The doses of elderberry may vary according to each condition. Therefore, always follow the manufacturer guideline.

Elderberry should never be consumed in raw form as the raw form is toxic. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding mother or you have hypersensitivity issue with this plant; you must consult your doctor before consuming it.


  1. Porter RS, Bode RF. A Review of the Antiviral Properties of Black Elder (Sambucus nigra L.) Products. Phytother Res. 2017;31(4):533-554. doi:10.1002/ptr.5782
  2. Elderberry. In: Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006.
  3. RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Michael and Vikram: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  4. Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J, Fakhrudin N, Atanasov AG, Heiss EH, Wawrosch C, Reznicek G, Dirsch VM, Saukel J, Kopp B (7 October 2013). "Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine – An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs"J Ethnopharmacol149 (3): 750–771. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007PMC 3791396PMID 23770053.
  5. Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001;12(2):290-296.
  6. Eckardt AJ, Baumgart DC (January 2011). "Viral gastroenteritis in adults". Recent Patents on Anti-Infective Drug Discovery6 (1): 54–63. doi:10.2174/157489111794407877PMID 21210762.

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