An early report of the potential of elderberry’s potential to influence immune health was cited in a book by Dr Martin Blochwich in 1644 (original Latin text). The text was subsequently translated into English and German in 1655 and reprinted in 1677.
Fast-forward to 2011 and researchers from Justus-Liebig University in Germany reported that a liquid extract from black elderberry may inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria by upwards of 70%.
Addition of a standardized extract of black elderberry inhibited the growth of the bacteria, Branhamella catarrhalis and Streptococcus pyogenes, two strains often found in association with upper respiratory tract infections, by 70%, when used at a concentration of 10%, according to findings published in the open-access BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Again, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is not yet convinced. “Although some small studies show that elderberry may relieve flu symptoms, the evidence is not strong enough to support this use of the berry,” says NCCAM.