• The Vital Plant

Elderberry Supplementation and COVID-19

It’s no secret that the only thing being spoken about these days is the COVID-19 virus. All of the hype has increased the amount of false information in the media. Recently a number of articles have been written on the link between this new virus and elderberries. We’ll get to that.


In times of trial, everyone is looking for information, and it can be hard to determine what is legitimate versus what is not.  We have noticed that there has been some inaccurate information reported regarding Elderberry and the potential effects of use with COVID-19.  Simply put, there is no valid correlation between Elderberry and a “cytokine storm” (correctly known as Cytokine Release Syndrome, or CRS).

Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world. It has been used by Native Americans to treat infections, and ancient Egyptians used it to heal burns and brighten their complexions. The most common use of this berry now is to treat or prevent cold and flu symptoms. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/elderberry.


Elderberries are a plant containing organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamins A, B, and C. They contain flavonoids that are toted to account for the therapeutic factor in the elderberry. In this case the flavonoid in question is quercetin. We’ve written an entire blog on Elderberry, and another on it’s use for fighting the common cold by boosting our immune systems. You can find both blogs here! https://www.thevitalplant.com/post/manage-your-blog-from-your-live-site and https://www.thevitalplant.com/post/elderberry-a-natural-way-to-boost-immunity-during-cold-and-flu-season.


Not one single supplement can prevent or cure a flu or virus. Articles going around saying that taking elderberry syrup as a dietary supplement or taking a capsule will cure COVID-19 are false. Little to no studies have been done on this virus and elderberry combined. What’s worrying some people is that since there are similarities between the SARS epidemic and the current COVID-19 epidemic, and they worry that the outcomes of taking elderberry will be the same. What happened during the SARS epidemic was that elderberry stimulated a cytosine storm (cytokine release syndrome CRS) which was considered a major cause of death during the epidemic. https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/seeds-of-knowledge/the-facts-on-black-elderberry-and-covid-19. How does this happen?


Cytokines are cellular communication molecules used for communication between immune cells and local tissues. A cytokine storm happens when, in the advanced stages of an infection, the body sends an overwhelming number of messages to try to activate the immune cells. This, instead of helping, actually jams the system in a sense, causing additional damage to the tissues. This is likely to happen in the very late stages of respiratory distress in terms of COVID-19. They are very rare are there have been no causal links made between elderberry and CRS.


Summary recap of the FACTS:

  • There are no reported cases or associations of elderberry and cytokine storm.

  • The only data on elderberry and elevated cytokines is from a study using only healthy volunteers1, meaning all we know is that as a preventive measure, it may work partly in this manner.

  • The association with elderberry and cytokine storm is implausible;  elderberry is not likely to be able to cause cytokine storm whether used for prevention or infection, or during infection.


Elderberries can contribute to healthy living by incorporating them into your diet via means of supplementation. The vitality of these berries have been shown to help fight flu symptoms. So, should you be taking elderberry right now amidst the COVID-19 scare? We think so! Taking preventative measures to boost your immune system will only help you fight this nasty virus.

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