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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 25, 2022.

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. The plant is poisonous if eaten raw or uncooked.

  • Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breastfeeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this natural product.

  • 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 if you are on the medication theophylline.

  • Take extra care if you are on laxatives or drugs that loosen bowel movements. This product may increase the effects of these drugs.

  • If you have blood sugar problems, keep hard candies, glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or juice on hand for low blood sugar.

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

    • Problems with your immune system

    • Eating disorders or you are under weight

    • Blood pressure problems

    • Diabetes

    • Menstrual bleeding

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • 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

  • Dizziness

  • Pain during menstruation

  • 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


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