The pros and cons of using elderberry (Sambucus nigra) for prevention and treatment of COVID-19


1 Isfahan Cardiovascular Center, WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Training in Cardiovascular Disease Control, Prevention and Rehabilitation for Cardiac Patients, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Urology Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 emerged in 2019. Health-care systems around the world are looking for alternative prevention and treatment remedies. Herbal supplements are popular among consumers as a complementary method to prevent and treat illnesses. One of them is Sambucus nigra.
Methods: We searched for related articles in Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, Google Scholar, and the Directory of Open Access Journals using the following keywords: elderberry, S. nigra, and COVID-19.
Results: Elderberry has antiviral properties due to its ability to modulate inflammatory cytokines. The current evidence suggests elderberry is appropriate for the prevention and initial treatment of viral disease. Concerns have been raised that elderberry may overstimulate the immune system, increasing the risk of a cytokine storm. There is not yet enough evidence to support this claim.
Conclusions: For COVID-19 patients, further research is required since elderberry may provoke a cytokine storm if administered therapeutically.


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