Native Americans used tea made from elderberry flowers to treat respiratory
infections. They also used the leaves and flowers in poultices applied to
wounds, and the bark, suitably aged, as a laxative. The berries are frequently
made into beverages, pies, and preserves, but they have also been used to treat
Elderberry-flower tea is made by steeping 3 to 5 g of dried flowers in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. A typical dosage is 1 cup 3 times daily. Standardized extracts should be taken according to the directions on the product's label.
Elderberry flowers are generally regarded as safe. Side effects are rare and consist
primarily of occasional mild gastrointestinal distress or allergic reactions.
Nonetheless, safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those
with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
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Morag A, Mumcuoglu M, Baybikov T, et al. Inhibition of sensitive and acyclovir-resistant HSV-1 strains by an elderberry extract in vitro [abstract].
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