Some preliminary research suggests that elderberry may relieve symptoms of flu or other upper respiratory infections.

No published research studies have evaluated the use for COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have taken action against companies that marketed products with unsubstantiated claims of effectiveness for COVID-19.

There’s not enough information to show whether elderberry is helpful for any other health purposes.

Side Effects Of Elderberry

Raw unripe elderberries and other parts of the elder tree, such as the leaves and stem, contain toxic substances (e.g., sambunigrin) that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; cooking eliminates this toxin. Large quantities of the toxin may cause serious illness.

Little is known about whether it’s safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.


Don’t rely on elderberry or other dietary supplements for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They have not been shown to be effective.

Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.