Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on February 24, 2023
In terms of health benefits, elderberries stand alone when compared to other kinds of berries. They contain an astounding amount of antioxidants in the forms of anthocyanins and flavonoids, as well as the presence of vitamins A, B, C, and fiber. Collectively, its unique composition crowns it the honorable title of being a “superfruit.”
This fruit from the elder tree has its origin in Europe, primarily as the variant black elderberry (Sambucus nigra). However, these round, dark purple berries are also found in Asia, Northern Africa, and North America as subspecies of the elderberry.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about elderberry capsules, including side effects and dosage recommendations. But first, some benefits of elderberry pills include:
1. Boosts Immune System
Anthocyanins, flavonoids, and vitamins in elderberry support the immune system by reacting to infections and foreign invaders. Intake of elderberry creates a more efficient immune response as it increases inflammatory cytokine production, temporarily fighting off infections while returning to an anti-inflammatory state once the threat has been eliminated.
- Read the studies on elderberry immune support.
Cold and Flu
For centuries, elderberries have been seen as a preventive measure against cold and flu. Elderberries are proven to obstruct the reproduction of the flu virus and lower the duration of cold and flu symptoms.
- Read the studies on elderberry cold and flu.
Research suggests that its immune support capacity can help reduce the severity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus which causes COVID). It is also an effective agent to control the body’s inflammatory response during the period of exposure to the virus.
- Read the studies on elderberry and COVID.
2. Reduces Bodily Inflammation
The high antioxidant capacity of elderberries helps reduce oxidative stress in the body and get rid of inflammation. In other words, it fights the overproduced free radicals in the body. Elderberry extract can help you combat many different types of pain and inflammation, including back pain, knee pain, and certain forms of arthritis.
- Read the studies on elderberry and inflammation.
Allergies & Asthma
Elderberry is widely used for treating allergic reactions and infections. It has a unique immunomodulatory effect on the symptomatology of allergies. Elderberry can improve lung health and reduce the risk of declining lung function.
Given its deep association with respiratory problems, it is also an effective agent against asthma, similar to other natural anti-inflammatories, like turmeric.
- Read the studies on elderberry for allergies.
3. Supports Digestion
Elderberry extract can improve the growth rate of good bacteria and improve overall gut health. Studies have also shown that it may inhibit the working of harmful digestive enzymes and promote digestion.
- Read the studies on elderberry for digestion.
Constipation & IBS
Elderberries are a good source of dietary fiber which keeps the intestines healthy, aiding in bowel movements. Supplements made with this herb aim at relieving chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Read the studies on elderberry for constipation.
4. Improves Heart Health
Elderberry is quite effective at minimizing the common trigger factors for cardiovascular problems. It can effectively eliminate the risk factors associated with blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes and reduce the chances of cardiovascular complications as we age.
Studies conducted in 2016 and 2019 concluded that polyphenol-rich diets may reduce blood pressure. This makes elderberry eligible for this purpose as it is high in polyphenolic content. Moreover, decreased uric acid levels also lower blood pressure, which elderberry has been shown to assist.
- Read the studies on elderberry and blood pressure.
Cholesterol & Triglycerides
Elderberries consist of sterols; compounds produced by plants that hamper the absorption of cholesterol by the body. Sterol addition to diet can decrease LDL cholesterol by a significant percentage. Thus, it achieves an optimal HDL to LDL (good cholesterol to bad cholesterol) ratio.
- Read the studies on elderberry for cholesterol.
Diabetes & Blood Sugar
A balance of glucose levels is maintained by polyphenols present in elderberries. These antioxidants are also capable of reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Excessive oxidative stress, which elderberries can prevent, often cultivates bodily insulin resistance. Therefore, regular elderberry supplementation may prevent the development and progression of diabetes.
- Read the studies on elderberry and diabetes.
5. Fights Chronic Diseases
Earlier we discussed that free radicals can cause cellular damage which can, in turn, result in cancer if left unchecked. Consuming elderberries is likely to diminish the risk of cancer over time. The chemopreventive influence of elderberries is represented by their triterpenoid acid content, which increases the death rate of cancer cells in breast and colon cancer.
- Read the studies on elderberry for cancer.
6. Enhances Skin Health
This superfruit contains anti-aging, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties that clear dark spots, resist acne and prevent wrinkle formation. They keep the skin tissue healthy and produce a variety of benefits for inflammatory skin conditions.
- Read the studies on elderberry benefits for skin.
Other Ways to Take Elderberry
Besides elderberry pills, you can consume elderberry in the following ways:
Elderberry gummies are one of the most popular forms of elderberry consumption among consumers of all ages. These chewable supplements are the best way to integrate elderberry into your diet. They are safe for kids and adults alike, allowing intake without swallowing pills or capsules.
Gummies also present the most effective way of consuming elderberries, since they often contain additional vitamin C and zinc for maximum immune support.
Elderberry syrup is a solid alternative to gummies, with a couple of minor differences. The syrups are usually a bit more expensive than the gummies, and they’re also slightly less effective since they typically lack the added vitamin C and zinc. But if you’re in a pinch, having elderberry syrup is certainly better than not having elderberry at all.
Elderberry tea is another great way of consuming elderberries. 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 Monday blues. But, like syrup, tea provides slightly less immunity than gummies with added vitamin C and zinc.
Side Effects and Dosage
What are the side effects of elderberry? While elderberries are known as “nature’s medicine chest” for all the right reasons, they have side effects as well. The side effects of elderberry are:
- Consuming raw elderberries (or various parts of the elder tree) can be toxic and leads to gastrointestinal problems.
- Diabetic patients should be cautious that elderberry does not interfere with blood sugar levels.
How much elderberry should you take per day? Knowing how much elderberry per day to take is important for safety reasons, but also efficacy. Normally, 150-300 mg of elderberry extract per day suits most individuals, with little to no adverse reactions.
The benefits of elderberry pills are extensive and it’s also a very well-tolerated supplement. Slightly higher dosages can be effective for short-term use. If you have a bad cold or flu, you can consume up to 1,200 mg of elderberry extract per day for two weeks or less. After that, you’ll need to scale back to a normal dosing range.
Who should not take elderberry pills? People with autoimmune disorders, like thyroid disease, should avoid using elderberries. The extract can interfere with immunosuppressants and exacerbate the damage. Due to limited research on the matter, taking elderberry while pregnant should be avoided.
Final Thoughts on Health Benefits of Elderberry Pills
Elderberry fruit itself is capable of dispensing remarkable health benefits. But, capsules manufactured using elderberry extract with other crucial nutrients such as zinc and vitamin C often surpass the advantages of fruit alone.
A high antioxidant score is a well-wisher for heart health, chronic ailments, respiratory problems, digestive state, and more. Hence, elderberry capsules are a great option as their intake is easy, and they’re in abundant supply in the marketplace of dietary supplements.
- Our Picks: Best Elderberry Gummies