The short answer is “no,” there are no substitutes for getting your annual flu shot. The long answer is “BUT, there is evidence that elderberry products do indeed ease flu symptoms if you end up on deaths door feeling like you were run over by a truck.” HOORAY, for much needed relief when you are in the thick of it.
Elderberry extract has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, giving it the potential to shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms up to 4 days.
Facts, some studies compare a quality elderberry extract product, if taken within the first 24 hours of symptom onset, to Tamiflu. Well that’s a pretty bold statement, I know, but most cold and flu symptoms are not due to the virus itself but rather to the body’s inflammatory response to the virus. Addressing the inflammation might indeed help people with cold and flu symptoms feel better faster…..maybe even 4 days faster.
Elderberry has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries (nothing new here), but lately it has gone viral. A couple of good practice reminders for those in desperate need of a shorter recovery time:
- Always, always, ALWAYS get your flu shot at the beginning of flu season. This is your best opportunity for prevention. (We are all about proactive vs reactive!) Either way you can come see us….. we are here for you!
- Consult with your physician before consuming any Elderberry products. There could be contraindications if you are taking other prescription medications. While adverse side effects are very uncommon with elderberry products, there are rare cases of overconsumption causing stomach aches, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping.
- Always do your research when buying products online or in health food stores. Make sure you are buying from sources where there has been adherence to good manufacturing practices and the products have been tested.