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Medically reviewed by Last updated on April 8, 2021.

What are other common names?

  • Canadensis
  • Sambucus nigra
  • Black Elder
  • Black Elderberry
  • Black-Berried Alder
  • Boor Tree
  • Boortree
  • Bountry
  • Common Elder
  • Elder
  • Elder Berry
  • Elder Flower
  • Elderberries
  • Elderberry Fruit
  • Ellanwood
  • Ellhorn
  • European Alder
  • European Black Elder
  • European Black Elderberry
  • European Elder
  • European Elder Fruit
  • European Elderberry
  • Sambucol
  • Sambucus
  • Sweet Elder

What is this product used for?

Elderberry is used by some people as medicine. Science does not support the use of this product for any health problem.

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.

  • The berries, leaves, and stems of the elderberry should be cooked before eating it.

  • Take extra care if you are at a high risk for infection. This includes people who have had a transplant, are on chemo, or have an autoimmune disease.

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Problems with your immune system

    • Eating disorders

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Loss of appetite

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Very bad throwing up

  • Very bad loose stools

  • Very bad stomach cramps

  • Changes in menstrual periods like lots of bleeding, spotting, or bleeding between cycles.

Where can I learn more?

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Last Reviewed Date


Consumer information use

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. Only your healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you. You should not rely on this information in deciding whether or not to use, or accept your healthcare provider’s advice regarding use of, any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices. This information does not endorse any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about natural products, possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to you. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about your health and treatment options.


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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.