Elderberry is an herbal supplement that has become very popular recently. Among other herbal supplements, elderberry has a long history of traditional use that dates back to ancient times. Elderberry belongs to the variety of closely related plant species of Sambucus nigra, commonly referred to as the black elderberry. This type of plant is native to certain parts of North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia.
How has elderberry maintained its consistent use throughout the ages? The elderberry flowers, trees, and berries all contain active compounds that support your health. Elderberries can be used to make syrups, preserves, wines, and other foods.
Why Take Elderberry?
If you’re curious about why elderberry is so popular as an herbal supplement, you’ve come to the right place to find out. The flowers, fruit and berries of the elder tree contain bioactive compounds including anthocyanins.†
Let’s take a closer look at the active compounds in elderberries, including anthocyanins.
Learn More: How Much Elderberry Should I Take?
One of the biggest benefits of elderberry is its high antioxidant potential.1 Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that naturally occur in certain fruits and vegetables. The dark purple or blue shade of the berries indicates that elderberry is full of anthocyanins, natural compounds that have a strong antioxidant capacity. The anthocyanins belong to a larger group of natural compounds that we get from food, called flavonoids. Anthocyanins are produced in plants and vegetables as protectors against environmental and oxidative stress. You can get anthocyanins from berries and other dark-colored vegetables, such as eggplant. Among the berries, elderberry ranks high in anthocyanin content by containing almost three times as much anthocyanin as raspberries and six times more anthocyanin as strawberries. These compounds have been linked to potent antioxidant effects and protection against damaging free radicals in your cells in the body.1
Antioxidants and Other Bioactive Compounds
In addition to anthocyanins, elderberry contains several compounds that have beneficial bioactivity within the body. Additional antioxidant benefits of elderberry are provided through polyphenols, phenolic acids and flavanols.1 The major flavanols present in elderberry are quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin.
Vitamin C is involved in a variety of important biological processes, such as, protection of cells from oxidative stress, absorption of iron from food, and supporting a healthy immune system.†
Recent reports by the The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) estimate that less than 30 million Americans actually have optimal Vitamin C levels.2 Elderberry supplements with Vitamin C are an easy way to incorporate more Vitamin C into your diet.
Learn More: Can Pregnant Women Take Vitamin C?
The Bottom Line
Elderberries have a long history of traditional use among European herbalists dating all the way back to ancient times. The flowers, leaves and berries all contain beneficial active compounds including flavonoids, lectins, and anthocyanins. These active compounds, especially anthocyanins, have potent antioxidant activity that help neutralize damaging free radicals in your body.
Taking a daily Elderberry supplement, especially one formulated with Vitamin C and zinc, like our Nature Made Elderberry Gummies with Vitamin C & Zinc, is a great way to provide your body with daily immune system support.†
Learn More About Vitamins & Supplements:
- Commonly Asked Questions About Vitamins and Supplements
- The Best Vitamins for Immune System Support
- Vitamin D Immune System Benefits
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Sidor, A & Gramza-Michalowska A. Advanced research on the antioxidant and health benefit of elderberry (Sambucus nigra) in food – a review. Journal of Functional Foods. 2015;18:941-958. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464614002400
- NUTRI-FACTS. “National Nutrition Survey – U.S.: NHANES.” 2016. Accessed on March 26, 2021. https://www.nutri-facts.org/en_US/news/u-s---nhanes.html
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.