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What is Elderberry?

Elderberry extract, long used in folk medicine to treat colds and flu, has been the subject of much scientific interest in recent years. A 2019 meta-analysis by Hawkins et al. evaluated the totality of clinical data on the observed immune benefits of elderberry and concluded that “supplementation with a standardized elderberry extract is significantly effective at reducing the total duration and severity of upper respiratory symptoms, as compared to a placebo group.”1

How to choose the best elderberry supplements

Not all elderberry extracts are created equal. Like wine grapes, elderberries vary chemically depending on where and how they are grown and harvested.2

Color matters: One indication of efficacious varieties and cultivars of elderberries that are useful to human health is the description “Black Elderberries”. Their intense pigment is evidence that they are rich in anthocyanins (like blackberries, dried plums and black raspberries) which act as protective antioxidants.3

Process matters: Even the best berries may be compromised by how they are extracted and processed into a concentrate. "The susceptibility of anthocyanins to oxidation and degradation is one of the concerns of food processors who wish to maximize the shelf life of products enhanced with natural pigment colors. In particular, many of the classic phytochemical methods (including column chromatography), used to extract from plant tissues and fractionate components out of a crude extract, can degrade anthocyanins and/or inactivate them during purification steps."4

Since efficacy is fragile and may be degraded in processing, it’s most important to choose elderberry products that contain concentrated extracts with published studies showing their efficacy. We recommend the two branded ingredients that meet this criteria: Sambucol®, made with a proprietary process and the earliest, if not the original, brand of elderberry extract, and ElderCraft®, a raw material made by Artemis International, a clinically studied elderberry extract that is concentrated 64x for maximum benefit and used by several supplement brands in their elderberry products.

Due to the tremendously high demand for quality elderberry extracts, these products may be “out of stock” at times, but efficacy is well worth the wait for discriminating shoppers.

How We Choose Our Top 5 Supplements (View our Site Disclaimer)

We recommend any of the five products listed below equally and so present our choices in alphabetical order by brand. We do not receive any compensation in exchange for our recommendations. Read more about how we make our selections.

Enzymedica Black Elderberry plus Probiotics and Zinc

Enzymedica® Black Elderberry plus Probiotics and Zinc

Delicious on-the-go immune powder packs to support immune, sinus and respiratory health. This unique formula and delivery system also contains probiotics and zinc to help further fuel your body’s immune system.*

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What makes the Elderberry in this product so special? Sambucus nigra, the European Black Elderberry is the most studied species of Elderberry for immune health. The Styria region of Southeastern Austria, known as the “green heart” of Austria, is renowned as the world’s finest source of elderberries. While Elderberry is a well-known traditional remedy for immune health, the state of the art ElderCraft® process allows for extraction without resorting to the use of solvents. The phytonutrient fruit matrix of the berry is maintained, providing a rich source of anthocyanins, polysaccharides and berry micronutrients which deeply support the immune system.

How does Zinc support the immune system? Zinc is an essential nutrient that is involved in a multitude of aspects of cellular activity. It plays a key role in immune function and is required for stimulating over 100 enzymes which naturally occur in the body.

What kind of probiotic is DE111®? DE111 is a clinically studied strain of Bacillus subtilis that has been researched for its benefits for immune and digestive health. A recent study with 93 participants taking DE111 for 28 days showed immune benefits, including adaptogen activity and a healthy physiological responses.

  • • Great tasting quick melt
  • • Equal to 80 berries per serving!
  • • Clinically studied probiotic
  • • Naturally flavored
  • • Vegetarian
  • • Sugar free
  • • Non GMO

European Black Elderberry Scientific Studies: Immune Support

Elderberry’s historical role in the treatment of colds and flu has stimulated much research interest. In a clinical trial conducted by Israeli scientists (Zakay-Rones et al., 1995), elderberry was administered to influenza-infected patients. Elderberry treatment resulted in reduced severity and longevity of flu symptoms. Also, research out of Germany (Krawitz et al., 2011) reported that Artemis’ elderberry extract inhibits the growth of influenza A and B viruses and bacteria associated with upper respiratory tract infections in humans. Artemis’ standardized elderberry extracts have been shown, in vitro, to possess additional antiviral activity, most notably against replication of HSV-1, HSV-2, and HCMV viruses. De Benito et al. (1998) isolated ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIP) in elderberries as well. RIPs may serve as a potential immunotoxin and can be used both as an antiviral and an antitumor agent. In studies by Blumenthal et al. (pending publication) it was shown that Artemis’ elderberry extracts enhance the immune system through increased levels of T cells, B cells, and IFN and IL-2 cytokines, resulting in an increased resistance to viral infection that was even more pronounced in older animals. This work also suggested that elderberry’s effect on enhancing the immune response may involve activation of genes that produce IL-2 and IFN and can act directly on viruses to inhibit their ability to replicate.

A 2016 study by Tiralongo et al. evaluated ElderCraft® European black elderberry extract on 312 long-haul flight passengers. The elderberry supplementation resulted in reduced symptom severity and duration from cold illnesses. A 2019 meta-analysis by Hawkins et al. evaluated the totality of clinical data on the observed immune benefits of elderberry and concluded that “supplementation with a standardized elderberry extract is significantly effective at reducing the total duration and severity of upper respiratory symptoms, as compared to a placebo group.”

European Black Elderberry Scientific Studies-Immune Support
Natural Factors Black Elderberry

Natural Factors®  Black Elderberry Standardized Extract 100 mg

Immune supporting ElderCraft®  European Black Elderberry 64:1 standardized extract, available in 60 or 120 fast-acting softgels.

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ElderCraft® European Black Elderberry Extract is a proprietary active blend of natural fruit anthocyanins, polysaccharides, and berry micronutrients achieved through a unique solvent-free extraction process. ElderCraft® elderberries are sourced from Austria directly from the farmers who nurture and harvest the crops. Elderberries are very nutrient-dense and have been used for hundreds of years for their many health benefits, including supporting the immune and respiratory systems.*

European Black Elderberry Scientific Studies: Immune Support

Elderberry’s historical role in the treatment of colds and flu has stimulated much research interest. In a clinical trial conducted by Israeli scientists (Zakay-Rones et al., 1995), elderberry was administered to influenza-infected patients. Elderberry treatment resulted in reduced severity and longevity of flu symptoms. Also, research out of Germany (Krawitz et al., 2011) reported that Artemis’ elderberry extract inhibits the growth of influenza A and B viruses and bacteria associated with upper respiratory tract infections in humans. Artemis’ standardized elderberry extracts have been shown, in vitro, to possess additional antiviral activity, most notably against replication of HSV-1, HSV-2, and HCMV viruses. De Benito et al. (1998) isolated ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIP) in elderberries as well. RIPs may serve as a potential immunotoxin and can be used both as an antiviral and an antitumor agent. In studies by Blumenthal et al. (pending publication) it was shown that Artemis’ elderberry extracts enhance the immune system through increased levels of T cells, B cells, and IFN and IL-2 cytokines, resulting in an increased resistance to viral infection that was even more pronounced in older animals. This work also suggested that elderberry’s effect on enhancing the immune response may involve activation of genes that produce IL-2 and IFN and can act directly on viruses to inhibit their ability to replicate.

A 2016 study by Tiralongo et al. evaluated ElderCraft® European black elderberry extract on 312 long-haul flight passengers. The elderberry supplementation resulted in reduced symptom severity and duration from cold illnesses. A 2019 meta-analysis by Hawkins et al. evaluated the totality of clinical data on the observed immune benefits of elderberry and concluded that “supplementation with a standardized elderberry extract is significantly effective at reducing the total duration and severity of upper respiratory symptoms, as compared to a placebo group.”

European Black Elderberry Scientific Studies-Immune Support
New Chapter Elderberry Force

New Chapter® Elderberry Force Capsules

Activate your immune defenses year-round! Elderberry Force delivers potent antioxidant benefits with ElderCraft® 64x concentrated elderberry extract paired with pure black currant in a convenient once-daily elderberry capsule.*

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Supplement Facts Amount per 1 Capsule:

  • ElderCraft® European Elder Berry (Sambucus nigra) (berry) 335 mg
  • Black Currant (Ribes nigrum) (fruit) 50 mg

Consumer Lab's Top Pick for elderberry supplements by concentration of anthocyanosides. Elderberry Force has met ConsumerLab.com standards for ingredient and product quality for dietary supplements containing elderberry in independent testing.

  • • Certified gluten free by NSF
  • • 100% vegan
  • • No artificial flavors or colors

European Black Elderberry Scientific Studies: Immune Support

Elderberry’s historical role in the treatment of colds and flu has stimulated much research interest. In a clinical trial conducted by Israeli scientists (Zakay-Rones et al., 1995), elderberry was administered to influenza-infected patients. Elderberry treatment resulted in reduced severity and longevity of flu symptoms. Also, research out of Germany (Krawitz et al., 2011) reported that Artemis’ elderberry extract inhibits the growth of influenza A and B viruses and bacteria associated with upper respiratory tract infections in humans. Artemis’ standardized elderberry extracts have been shown, in vitro, to possess additional antiviral activity, most notably against replication of HSV-1, HSV-2, and HCMV viruses. De Benito et al. (1998) isolated ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIP) in elderberries as well. RIPs may serve as a potential immunotoxin and can be used both as an antiviral and an antitumor agent. In studies by Blumenthal et al. (pending publication) it was shown that Artemis’ elderberry extracts enhance the immune system through increased levels of T cells, B cells, and IFN and IL-2 cytokines, resulting in an increased resistance to viral infection that was even more pronounced in older animals. This work also suggested that elderberry’s effect on enhancing the immune response may involve activation of genes that produce IL-2 and IFN and can act directly on viruses to inhibit their ability to replicate.

A 2016 study by Tiralongo et al. evaluated ElderCraft® European black elderberry extract on 312 long-haul flight passengers. The elderberry supplementation resulted in reduced symptom severity and duration from cold illnesses. A 2019 meta-analysis by Hawkins et al. evaluated the totality of clinical data on the observed immune benefits of elderberry and concluded that “supplementation with a standardized elderberry extract is significantly effective at reducing the total duration and severity of upper respiratory symptoms, as compared to a placebo group.”

European Black Elderberry Scientific Studies-Immune Support
New Chapter Elderberry Syrup

New Chapter® Elderberry Syrup

Experience advanced immune defense with clinically studied black elderberry in a delicious syrup. Our 64x concentrated elderberry extract is loaded with beneficial antioxidants and sweetened naturally with throat-soothing, bee-friendly honey.*

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Supplement Facts Amount per 1 Teaspoon (5 ml):

  • Honey 4450 mg
  • European Elderberry concentrate (Sambucus nigra) (berry) 1625 mg
  • ElderCraft® European Black Elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) (berry) 50 mg

What makes New Chapter's Elderberry Syrup different? Our syrup is made with pure Elderberry extract that concentrates the whole fruit's active phytonutrients without using solvents. This means you get the rich profile of the Black Elderberry fruit, and it's 64 times stronger.

  • • 64x concentrated for optimal benefit
  • • Sweetened only with pure, throat-soothing, bee-friendly honey
  • • Sustainably sourced with clean ingredients and no harsh chemical solvents
  • • No sugar, corn syrup, agave powder, fructose, artificial flavors or colors

Elderberry’s historical role in the treatment of colds and flu has stimulated much research interest. In a clinical trial conducted by Israeli scientists (Zakay-Rones et al., 1995), elderberry was administered to influenza-infected patients. Elderberry treatment resulted in reduced severity and longevity of flu symptoms. Also, research out of Germany (Krawitz et al., 2011) reported that Artemis’ elderberry extract inhibits the growth of influenza A and B viruses and bacteria associated with upper respiratory tract infections in humans. Artemis’ standardized elderberry extracts have been shown, in vitro, to possess additional antiviral activity, most notably against replication of HSV-1, HSV-2, and HCMV viruses. De Benito et al. (1998) isolated ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIP) in elderberries as well. RIPs may serve as a potential immunotoxin and can be used both as an antiviral and an antitumor agent. In studies by Blumenthal et al. (pending publication) it was shown that Artemis’ elderberry extracts enhance the immune system through increased levels of T cells, B cells, and IFN and IL-2 cytokines, resulting in an increased resistance to viral infection that was even more pronounced in older animals. This work also suggested that elderberry’s effect on enhancing the immune response may involve activation of genes that produce IL-2 and IFN and can act directly on viruses to inhibit their ability to replicate.

A 2016 study by Tiralongo et al. evaluated ElderCraft® European black elderberry extract on 312 long-haul flight passengers. The elderberry supplementation resulted in reduced symptom severity and duration from cold illnesses. A 2019 meta-analysis by Hawkins et al. evaluated the totality of clinical data on the observed immune benefits of elderberry and concluded that “supplementation with a standardized elderberry extract is significantly effective at reducing the total duration and severity of upper respiratory symptoms, as compared to a placebo group.”

Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup

Sambucol® Black Elderberry Syrup

Power through your day with immune support from one of nature's most powerful superberries.* Tastes great on its own, or you can mix it into your favorite bubbly water, smoothies, yogurt, and more! Also available in chewable tablets.

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Serving size: 2 teaspoons (10 ml)

Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup syrup taps into the power of one of nature’s most incredible superberries so you can take on the day.* Our Original Syrup is our flagship product, developed initially by a virologist. The premium elderberries in every purple bottle contain powerful health benefits that may help support a healthy immune system.* You can use our syrup daily so you never miss out on the things you love to do. You take care of your day, we’ll take care of your immune system.*

  • • Dairy free, egg free, gluten free, nut free, soy free and wheat free
  • • Vegan and vegetarian friendly
  • • No artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners
  • • Certified kosher

How We Choose Our Top 5 Supplements

Ingredients with measurable efficacy: Some supplement ingredients have had decades of scientific study and thousands of published studies describing their measurable efficacy and benefits to human nutrition. But some are only recently showing up on the market and have little science to explain their properties. Since you can't buy or try everything, we recommend products with studied ingredients.

Added value/complementary nutrients: Much of the cost of supplements is in their packaging, so if a product contains several complementary ingredients for its intended benefit, then we usually recommend that product over a single ingredient product. The exception is a single ingredient product that has special recognition as superior to similar but less effective products.

Different forms (tablets, powders, etc.): Some people just hate to take pills of any kind. So, when there’s a chewable, liquid, powder or gummy option that’s effective, we may also recommend those products.

Good manufacturing practices and reputation: There has been an explosion of supplement brands in the last 10 years. Many of these brands live only online and have ownership outside of USA regulations or ownership whose identity is sometimes hard to determine. We recommend companies that have made and marketed supplements for many decades in the USA and have earned good reputations for closely following FDA, GMP, and FTC guidelines, submitting to protocols that verify purity and potency and refraining from misleading product claims.

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