Elderberry for Kids: Unveiling the Potentials and Precautions of a Natural Remedy.

Elderberry, scientifically known as Sambucus nigra, has been widely recognized for its medicinal properties, particularly in treating cold and flu symptoms.

This dark purple berry is rich in vitamin C and contains high levels of flavonoids, potent antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system.

Elderberry can be a beneficial supplement for children, especially offering a natural method to enhance bodily defences during cold and flu season. Research indicates that elderberry extract has antiviral properties capable of inhibiting the replication of viruses.

A study by Hawkins et al. (2019) demonstrated that elderberry syrup reduced the duration and symptoms of influenza. Moreover, the bioflavonoids present in elderberry, along with other active ingredients, have been shown to have immunopotentiation abilities, which means they can help boost the immune system (Hawkins, Baker, Cherry, & Dunne, 2019).

However, while elderberry presents numerous benefits, it is crucial to approach its use in children with caution. The raw berries, bark, and leaves of the plant contain substances that can be toxic if ingested, potentially causing nausea, vomiting, and severe diarrhoea.

Therefore, it is essential to use commercial preparations of elderberry, such as syrups or lozenges, that have been processed to remove these harmful substances.

Parents should also consult a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment to ensure it is safe and appropriate for their child.

Furthermore, dosage is another important consideration. While elderberry is generally safe for children when used in proper amounts, excessive consumption can lead to adverse effects. The appropriate dosage varies depending on the child’s age and the product’s concentration, so following the recommended guidelines on the product label or a physician’s advice is paramount. In addition to its antiviral effects, elderberry has anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections, such as sinus pressure and chronic cough. These properties make elderberry a comprehensive treatment option, addressing both the causes and symptoms of viral infections.

Despite its benefits, further research is needed to fully understand the extent of elderberry’s effectiveness and safety for children. Current studies, like the one conducted by Hawkins et al. (2019), provide valuable insights and highlight the need for more extensive clinical trials. In conclusion, while elderberry can be a beneficial natural remedy for boosting immune function in children, it must be used judiciously and under medical supervision to avoid potential risks and ensure the health and safety of young users (Hawkins, Baker, Cherry, & Dunne, 2019).


Hawkins, J., Baker, C., Cherry, L., & Dunne, E. (2019). Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 42, 361-365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.004

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