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Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza) and Sambucol

Read more about Sambucol.


Sambucol is a standardized product containing elderberry combined with small amounts of echinacea and bee propolis. It has been widely marketed as a cold and flu remedy and has shown some promise for being effective.

Effect of Sambucol on Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza)

Weak evidence suggests that this mixture may stimulate the immune system and also inhibit viral growth.75

Research Evidence on Sambucol

In a preliminary double-blind study, Sambucol significantly reduced the recovery time from epidemic influenza B, a relatively mild form of influenza.76 Another small double-blind study found similar benefits in both influenza A and B.130

How to Use Sambucol

Sambucol is available in some drug stores and large department stores, as well as online. See package for directions.


  1. Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001;12:290-296.
  2. Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract ( Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med. 1995;1:361-369.
  3. Zakay-Rones Z., Thom E., Wollan T., et al. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Intern Med Res. 2004;32:132-134.