Elderberry for Sore Throat & The Studies Behind It

Having a sore throat can be quiet annoying since the irritation makes it hard to swallow, and you feel both scratchiness and pain. The most common reason for developing a sore throat is the flu or cold. These infections can be caused by viruses, but also by bacteria.

Whatever the cause, resorting to herbal remedies might be helpful to make your condition better. In this article, we are focusing on the potential benefits of elderberry in treating sore throat. We will go through everything that you should know about this herb, as well as how effective it can be in dealing with the cold and other symptoms.

What You Should Know About Elderberry

Elderberry is a fruit that comes from a tree called Sambucus. You will find that this tree has numerous species, but the most familiar one is Sambucus nigra, or black elderberry. [1]

You will recognize these fruits since they feature deep purple color, and they are also tart and glossy. Elderberry originated from Europe, but you will find it on other continents these days. The remarkable thing about this tree is that it can grow up to 30 feet, but its fruits remain small.

It is interesting to note that the folk medicine uses almost every part of this plant. You will find that bark can be helpful in promoting bowel movement. People also eat dried and fresh berries for both respiratory infections and headaches.

As for the leaves and flowers, they are a popular remedy for inflammation, swelling, and pain. That all suggests that elderberry can be helpful in treating sore throat and other cold-related symptoms. The working process of these berries is based on antioxidants. These specific antioxidants are called anthocyanins, and they can assist in preventing inflammation and fighting its symptoms.

When it comes to the nutritional profile of elderberries, you will find a variation of vitamins and minerals in this compound. Here is an overview of the crucial ingredients:

  • Vitamin C – you will find up to 58% of the recommended daily intake of this vitamin is in only 100 grams of these berries.
  • Potassium – up to 10% of the daily intake, which is around 300 milligrams, is found in 100 grams of this fruit.
  • Folate – this is one of the vitamins from the vitamin B complex, and you will also find B5, B6, but also vitamin A in elderberry.

What Causes Sore Throat?

Sore throat is a common expression that describes multiple different conditions. [2] For example, your tonsils might be red and swollen, or you might have difficulty talking or swallowing. Some people might have a muffled or hoarse voice while dealing with a sore throat, and a scratchy sensation is quite common. It might become dangerous if you are unable to swallow, or it's difficult to breathe.

Viral and bacterial infections are among the common causes of sore throat. It might also occur due to allergies, irritants, or a muscle strain.

Can Elderberry Be Efficient for Sore Throat?

Elderberry originated as a folk medicine, but its popularity made scientists look deeper into the properties of this plant. Multiple studies conducted over the last couple of decades focus on treating influenza with elderberry extract. We know that sore throat is one of the symptoms of influenza, which is why we made an overview of these studies.

A study published in 2004 included a total of 60 patients that weren’t older than 54, and they all reported influenza symptoms before entering the trial. [3] The patients were all for Norway, where there was an influenza season in 2000. The authors asked the participants to describe their condition. According to the results, using an elderberry extract shortened the recovery process. The researchers suggest that it took four days less to relieve the symptoms of the infection when using this herbal mixture.

Another research was conducted in 2007 during the outbreak of influenza in Panama. [4] The authors focused on using a standardized elderberry extract as they asked individuals from a kibbutz (agricultural community) to take this compound. According to the results, most users were completely cured in six days or less. That led the authors to conclude that using elderberry is an affordable and safe solution in treating influenza. Additionally, they mentioned that this herb didn’t cause any adverse side effects, which is why it should be considered as an addition to any treatment for this condition.

A study published in the Nutrients magazine in 2016 focused on cold symptoms in air travelers. [5] The Australian researchers asked more than 300 economy class travelers that traveled abroad and exhibited symptoms of a cold. The so-called Jackson scale was used to assess symptom severity and duration.

As usual, a portion of the participants received elderberry extract, and the other group a placebo. The results clearly indicated the travelers that received the herbal mixture had fewer cold days and a lower average symptom score. If you are a frequent air traveler, you should consider elderberry as an option when dealing with a sore throat and other cold-related issues.

Can You Boost the Effectiveness of Elderberry with Other Ingredients?

The studies indicate that elderberry extract can be efficient on its own. However, you can also combine it with other natural and herbal ingredients to boost its potency. The idea is to go with a formula that focuses on strengthening your immunity. Those products have the capability of helping you to manage the symptoms of a cold, but also prevent it from appearing in the first place.

It is why EssntlWellness designed Elderberry Gummies. This product contains elderberry extract as the primary ingredient, but also includes propolis, vitamin C, and echinacea. The combination of these compounds comes with strong antioxidant properties. Thanks to that, it can help in preventing and dealing with inflammation, as well as improve the overall immunity.

Whether you are dealing with a sore throat or trying to make your immune system stronger, these gummies can be the right choice. They are non-GMO and packed with great flavor, which makes them perfect to use on the go.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19548290
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/symptoms-causes/syc-20351635
  3. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/147323000403200205
  4. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.1995.1.361
  5. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/4/182

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