Arbre de Judas, Black-Berried Alder, Black Elder, Boor Tree, Bountry, Common Elder, Ellanwood, Ellhorn, European Alder, European Black Elder, European Black Elderflower, European Elderflower, European Elder Flower, Fleur de Sureau, Fleur de Sureau Noir, Flor de Saúco, Flos Sambuci, Hautbois, Haut Bois, Sambuc, Sambucus, Sambucus Flos, Sambucus Nigra Flos, Sambucus nigra, Seuillon, Sureau Commun, Sureau Noir, Sussier, Sweet Elder.
Elderflower is the flower of a tree. An extract of the flower is used to make medicine.
Elderflower is used for swollen sinuses (sinusitis), colds, influenza (flu), swine flu, bronchitis, diabetes, and constipation. It is also used to increase urine production (as a diuretic), to increase sweating (as a diaphoretic), and to stop bleeding.
Elderflower is also used as a gargle and mouthwash for coughs, colds, hoarseness (laryngitis), flu, and shortness of breath. It is used on the skin for joint pain (rheumatism), and pain and swelling (inflammation).
Some people put elderflower in the eyes for red eyes.
In combination with gentian root, verbena, cowslip flower, and sorrel, elderflower is used for maintaining healthy sinuses and treating sinusitis.
In foods and beverages, elderflower is used as a flavoring component.
In manufacturing, elderflower extracts are used in perfumes. Elderflower water is used in eye and skin lotions.
How does it work?
Possibly Effective for...
- Constipation. Drinking a tea containing elderflower, senna flower, fennel fruit, and green anise fruit seems to improve symptoms and increase the chance of having a bowel movement in people who are constipated.
- Nasal swelling (sinusitis). Taking a specific combination product containing elderflower, gentian root, verbena, cowslip flower, and sorrel (SinuComp, Sinupret) seems to help treat inflamed nasal passages.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Hoarseness (laryngitis).
- Arthritis-like pain.
- Swelling (inflammation).
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Elderflower is LIKELY SAFE when used in amounts found in foods. Elderflower is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when used in small amounts as part of a combination product containing elderflower, sorrel, gentian root, verbena, and cowslip flower (SinuComp, Sinupret). There isn't enough information to know if elderflower is safe when used in medicinal amounts other than as part of the combination product. The combination product can cause digestive system upset and occasionally allergic skin rash.
Elderflower is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in excessive amounts. Some parts of the elderflower plant contain a cyanide-producing chemical which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cooking removes this chemical.
Not enough is known about the safety of applying elderflower directly to the skin.
Diabetes: There is a concern that elderflower might lower blood sugar levels. If taken with diabetes medications, it might make blood sugar levels go too low. If you have diabetes and use elderflower, be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels carefully. Check with your healthcare provider to see if the dose of diabetes medications you are taking needs to be lowered.
Surgery: Elderflower might lower blood sugar levels. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using elderflower at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Elderflower might decrease blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking elderflower along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For new (acute) or ongoing (chronic) sinus swelling (sinusitis): a specific combination product (SinuComp, Sinupret) containing 36 mg of elderflower plus 12 mg of gentian root, and 36 mg each of sorrel, verbena, and cowslip flower three times daily.
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Melzer, J., Saller, R., Schapowal, A., and Brignoli, R. Systematic review of clinical data with BNO-101 (Sinupret) in the treatment of sinusitis. Forsch Komplement.Med (2006.) 2006;13(2):78-87. View abstract.
Picon, P. D., Picon, R. V., Costa, A. F., Sander, G. B., Amaral, K. M., Aboy, A. L., and Henriques, A. T. Randomized clinical trial of a phytotherapic compound containing Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Sambucus nigra, and Cassia augustifolia for chronic constipation. BMC.Complement Altern.Med. 2010;10:17. View abstract.
Richstein, A. and Mann, W. [Treatment of chronic sinusitis with Sinupret]. Ther.Ggw. 1980;119(9):1055-1060. View abstract.
Elderberry (Sambucus species). The Poison Plant Patch, Novia Scotia Museum, 2007. Available at: http://museum.gov.ns.ca/poison/?section=species&id=117 (Accessed 16 October 2009).
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
European elder. Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System. Available at: http://www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/pp/ppack.jump?p_null=all&p_psn=121&p_type=all&p_sci=comm&p_x=px (Accessed 16 October 2009).
Gray AM, Abdel-Wahab YH, Flatt PR. The traditional plant treatment, Sambucus nigra (elder), exhibits insulin-like and insulin-releasing actions in vitro. J Nutr 2000;130:15-20. View abstract.
Marz RW, Ismail C, Popp MA. Action profile and efficacy of a herbal combination preparation for the treatment of sinusitis. Wien Med Wochenschr 1999;149:202-8. View abstract.
Neubauer N, Marz RW. Placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, clincal trial with Sinupret sugar coated tablets on the basis of a therapy with antibiotics and decongestant nasal drops in acute sinusitis. Phytomedicine 1994;1:177-81.