Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on July 6, 2022
The internet is raging with elderberry’s expanding popularity. One after another, dietary supplements are experimenting with their medicinal combinations while science works to verify the acclaimed health benefits.
Interestingly, elderberry’s potent pharmaceutical use is not new. It comes from a history of folklore and myths surrounding its mysterious healing properties. From colds and flu to immune system support and now blood pressure, this list only keeps growing.
Let’s dissect this scenario and figure out the validity of using elderberry for blood pressure.
Elderberry and Blood Pressure
As a plant-derived antioxidant, black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is of much interest to the scientific community. The dark-purple berries originate from the European elder tree but also make appearances in other parts of the world.
Their popularity owes much to their influence in folk medicine. The cure-all healing properties give them much room to shine as nymphs in one theory and elixirs in another. These stories were heard by generations and experimented upon by many scientists throughout history.
What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
In the normal course of things, blood vessels constantly support the flow of nutrient-rich blood to be supplied to your organs. With every heartbeat, the blood is pushed further against the artery walls. The measure of this pressure experienced by the blood vessels is called blood pressure.
When this pressure exceeds the optimum range, you experience high blood pressure, referred to as hypertension. This implies that your heart is working harder than normal to maintain the proper blood supply for all parts of the body. Prolonged high blood pressure eventually leads to the hardening of arteries.
High blood pressure is capable of causing damage to the heart and kidneys, so it must be dealt with quickly. This includes exercising regularly, correcting your diet, taking supplements that may help, or if the condition is serious enough, using medication prescribed by a doctor or physician. (1)
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
To understand what may be causing your hypertension, we shall look at its two different types.
Essential Hypertension (Primary)
This is the most common type of hypertension that develops over time. Generally, it is caused by uncontrolled factors and can be prevented only through a long history of a healthy lifestyle.
- Have genetically inherited the disease
- Aged 65+ years
- Having diabetes or being overweight
- Having a high sodium diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Poor sleeping habits or insomnia
Secondary hypertension refers to cases where blood pressure is influenced by another condition or disease. These factors are often reversible and relate to other aspects including:
People have utilized elderberry to ward off illnesses for centuries now. Its nutrient-rich composition has long been of interest to medicine and science.
Thankfully, enough evidence exists to testify to this superfruit’s bioactive properties. Elderberry boasts the highest antioxidant capacity of all of its competitor species. This grants it the following health benefits:
- Reduces cold and flu symptoms
- May help treat COVID-19
- Eases constipation and bowel movements
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Supports skin and hair growth
Now, let’s take a look at the evidence on using elderberry for blood pressure.
Is Elderberry Good for High Blood Pressure?
The relationship between elderberry and hypertension has sparked much interest lately. While proponents continue to regard it as an effective supplement, the science isn’t perfect. Though, there are some promising indications that it may help.
Elderberry’s polyphenol-rich composition may have something to do with this. These phytochemicals have always managed to score well in the framework of bodily functions. Flavonoids, in particular, are infamous for their beneficial chemical properties.
Several studies, such as two recent ones from 2019 and 2016, have analyzed the effect of dietary polyphenol consumption on blood pressure. Both studies presented promising results, whereby polyphenol diets significantly reduced blood pressure. Therefore, they may greatly lower the odds of developing hypertension. (3, 4)
Another 2016 study takes up this discussion, but with particular reference to elderberry. Once again, positive results are concluded, not only for blood pressure but also for reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. This is a similar result to what we’ve seen in the past with other natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric. (5)
This argument is further reinforced by a 2018 piece from the Public Health Emergency Collection.
A collection of in vivo studies evaluates the medicinal use of elderberry. It reported an effective reduction in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure accompanied by a lower BMI index. The trial tested supplements containing elderberry extract. (6)
Does Elderberry Raise Blood Pressure?
A systematic review of elderberry’s antioxidant properties from 2015 reported a reduction in uric acid levels. In the succeeding year, a randomized trial associated low uric acid levels with low blood pressure. (7, 8)
This argument, together with the previous evidence, suggests that elderberry does not raise blood pressure levels. The opposite seems to be true.
Elderberry and High Blood Pressure Meds
If you already have prescribed medication, it is better to be careful while taking elderberry. Since elderberry may have a blood pressure-lowering effect, it may interact with medications and lower your blood pressure to unsafe levels.
It’s important to note, that while elderberry may help regulate blood pressure, it should not be viewed as a replacement for traditionally prescribed medications. This is especially true if you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension.
If you’re unsure, speak with a certified medical professional.
How to Take Elderberry for Blood Pressure
There are a few ways to squeeze more elderberry into your diet that may help improve your blood pressure.
Research has shown that elderberry works at its full potential when combined with other beneficial nutrients. Trials often inculcate vitamin C and zinc into elderberry diets to harness its full immune-boosting potential.
Gummies are also a highly palatable option to start an elderberry diet and they’re safe for kids and adults. It is especially feasible for individuals who are wary of swallowing pills.
Apart from gummies, another readily available form of supplement is elderberry syrup. Indeed, syrups are hassle-free and easy to consume, but this may not be your best choice.
Elderberry syrups are mediocre when compared to the gummy form. They lack the extra punch given by additional nutrients and may not provide the same level of immune support as the elderberry gummies would.
You may use dried elderberries and some natural herbs of your liking to make elderberry tea at home. The tea can serve as a nice, warm beverage for cold evenings but likely won’t provide the same benefits that gummies or syrups would.
How much elderberry should I take for high blood pressure? Normally, 150-300 mg of elderberry extract per day suits most individuals, with minimum side effects. This amount should be safe and effective for daily use in those who are trying to maintain healthier blood pressure.
Potential Side Effects
What are the side effects of elderberry? Elderberry side effects are rare and mild, but you should be mindful of the following items.
Always opt for supplements, such as gummies and syrups. Raw elderberry or parts of the elder tree are toxic and can trigger gastrointestinal diseases. Elderberry may also influence blood sugar levels, so diabetic patients should be extra cautious.
Who should not take elderberry? People with autoimmune disorders should use extra caution. The extract can interfere with immunosuppressants, though the research on this is a bit uncertain.
Final Thoughts on Elderberry and Blood Pressure
Does elderberry lower blood pressure? It seems that it may be able to help with regular use. At the end of the day, the berry is popular for a reason. It has survived the test of time and managed to prove itself beneficial for a wide variety of uses.
People use elderberry to treat all sorts of illnesses, be it flu, diabetes, or constipation. While we certainly would benefit from more research on elderberry and high blood pressure, it appears to be a worthy consideration given the studies we have available at this time.