New study explains how elderberries block the flu virus and stops it dead in its tracks.
Scientists have identified a chemical compound in elderberries that quickly immobilizes the flu virus.
The unique phytochemicals found in elderberries block the virus from entering, or even attaching to, our healthy cells, when taken for prevention during flu season.
Even if the flu has already taken hold, the compound prevents the virus from replicating, eliminating symptoms within 48 hours.
The researchers used commercially farmed elderberries which were turned into a juice serum and were applied to cells before, during and after they had been infected with the influenza virus.
The result was a “potent direct antiviral effect against the flu virus,” said Dr. Golnoosh Torabian.
“It inhibits the early stages of an infection by blocking key viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cells.”
The extract was also effective at fighting the virus at later stages of infection, by stimulating infected cells to release cytokines – chemical messengers the immune system uses for communication between different cell types to aid in coordinating a more efficient response.
- This 2004 study, published in the Journal of International Medical Research, showed that when elderberry extract is used within 48 hours of the onset of the influenza A or B virus, it shortens the duration of flu symptoms by an average of four days. Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections
- While a group of patients receiving a placebo showed no improvement or worsening symptoms, those who received the extract “showed significant improvement within 24 hours.” Fever, headache, muscle ache and nasal congestion were significantly reduced within 24 hours. “Within 48 hours of treatment, nearly 90% of the elderberry extract treated patients were either symptom free or had only mild symptoms,” the researchers wrote.
- A 2016 study, published in Nutrients, showed elderberry can reduce the duration and symptoms of a cold in air travelers. Travelers using this herb from 10 days before travel until four to five days after arriving overseas experienced on average a two-day shorter duration of their colds and also a significant reduction in cold symptoms. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers