Elderberry syrup is an all-natural remedy for colds, flus, and other illnesses. It’s been used for centuries, and leverages the powerful antioxidant content in elderberries to boost the function of the immune system and lessen the severity and the duration of sickness.
There are a lot of different brands of elderberry syrup out there, and they vary in their potency, purity, and likelihood of being an effective way to help with illnesses.
We’ve ranked and reviewed the ten best elderberry syrups according to quality, plus taken a close look at the science behind using elderberry syrup to treat colds, flus, and other illnesses.
Double Wood Supplements Elderberry Syrup
- COMPLETE IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT – Elderberry is a popular and effective supplement for supporting immune system health.
- CONTAINS VITAMIN C AND ZINC – Our Elderberry Syrup contains Vitamin C and Zinc to improve its ability to support immune system health.
- MADE IN THE USA – Our Elderberry Syrup supplement is manufactured right here in the USA at an FDA certified cGMP certified facility.
Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world, and has historically been used by many cultures ranging from Native Americans to Ancient Egyptians. Elderberry is packed with vitamins and antioxidants which are beneficial to immune system health, and numerous studies have supported its ability to support the immune system.
Elderberry Syrup is a liquid form of the popular immune boosting supplement for those who prefer not to take it in capsules. Each two-teaspoon serving contains 100 mg of Elderberry, 100 mg of Vitamin C, and 10 mg of Zinc.
Our recommended dosage is two teaspoons per day, which will provide 100 mg of Elderberry, 100 mg of Vitamin C, and 10 mg of Zinc. Higher doses can be taken safely, but we don’t recommend exceeding 5 teaspoons per day as side effects are more likely at higher doses.
Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup
Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup – Daily Immune Support with Antioxidants, Organic Sambucus Elderberry Supplement, 5.4 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
- PLANT BASED SUPPLEMENT: A great-tasting black elderberry syrup for daily immune support throughout the year, safe and effective for everyday use by your entire family. The product is free of peanuts,shellfish,treenuts,yeast
- HIGH QUALITY ELDERBERRY: We super-concentrate the juice from 14.5 grams of berries into a single teaspoon, delivering the most concetrated elderberry syrup on the market
- DAILY IMMUNE SUPPORT WITH ANTIOXIDANTS: Our certified organic elderberries (Sambucus nigra) are fresh-pressed shortly after harvest to deliver delicious and potent support for your immune system
- HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS: Our products are gluten free, soy free, dairy free, vegan, and purity-tested
- 4 WEEK SUPPLY: Includes 1 (5.4 Ounce) Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup. We suggest taking 1 teaspoon daily. Children: Ages 4 and up: 1 teaspoon daily Ages 1-3: ¼ teaspoon daily
Our Trusted Original Formula
- Everyday immune & antioxidant support for the whole family
- Made with Organic Elderberries, fresh-pressed shortly after harvest
- Concentrated to deliver 14.5 grams of Elderberries per serving
- Made with four clean whole-food ingredients & nothing artificial
- A kitchen pantry staple that’s also great for travel or the office
- *Certified USDA Organic — by Oregon Tilth (OTCO) / NOP ID#: 8150000156 / Effective: 04/29/2002
With Herbs To Promote Restful Sleep
- We added calming herbs to our trusted Elderberry Syrup
- With Lemon Balm & California Poppy to support a good night’s rest
- Super-concentrates the juice from 14.5 grams of Elderberries
- Certified USDA Organic* with no corn syrup & nothing artificial
- Non-habit-forming, alcohol-free formula for adults & kids Ages 6+
- Great for home & for travel!
Just for Kids!
- Supports a child’s healthy immune system all year long
- A delicious, kid-friendly immune syrup for children Ages 1+
- Certified USDA Organic* — just five clean whole-food ingredients
- Alcohol-free formula with no corn syrup & nothing artificial
- Lightly sweetened with honey & organic cane sugar
- Add to water or juice for a yummy immune-supporting beverage
Elderberry Support In a Convenient Capsule
- All the benefits of Black Elderberry in a convenient powder capsule
- Concentrated to 10,112mg — just as potent as our trusted Syrup!
- Made with Organic Black Elderberry extract
- We add Acerola fruit extract for additional antioxidant support
- Year-round immune support — for home, office or college dorm
- Convenient daily support for the frequent traveler or busy athlete
Product Packaging:Standard Packaging
For centuries Black elderberries have been recognized for supporting the immune system. Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry syrup super-concentrates the juice from 14.5 grams of organic elderberries into a single teaspoon, making it the strongest concentrated syrup on the market! Made with Organic whole food ingredients, Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry syrup is safe and effective for daily use. The concentrated flavor of elderberries will make it your everyday supplement for supporting immune health. It’s great for travel or the office, and a staple in the pantry of many kitchens, for everyday immune support and for recipes.
Nature’s Way Original Sambucus Elderberry Syrup
Nature’s Way Original Sambucus Elderberry Syrup, Herbal Supplements, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, 8 Ounce (Packaging May Vary)
- TRIPLE ACTION IMMUNE BLEND*: Sambucus elderberry syrup is made from European black elder (Sambucus nigra L.) has been traditionally used as a winter remedy for immune support.* Made with our unique, full spectrum black elderberry extract, ensuring Flavonoid BioActives content, which has been tested and shown to be active within the body.
- PREMIUM ELDERBERRIES: Elderberry syrup is made from a unique cultivar of black elderberries with a higher level of naturally-occurring flavonoids; each serving delivers 100 mg of black elderberry extract.
- STANDARDIZED BIOACTIVES: Full-spectrum black elderberry extract standardized to anthocyanins, which are potent flavonoid BioActives. Contains fructose, purified water, glycerin, malic acid, natural flavor
- TESTED FOR BIOAVAILIBITY: Our elderberry extract has been tested for bioavailability and activity within the body.
- NATURAL FORMULA: This immune system booster has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and is gluten free and kosher certified. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Original Sambucus Standardized Elderberry Syrup, 8 oz
About Black Elderberry
For centuries the dark berries of European black elder (Sambucus nigra L.) have been traditionally used as a winter remedy for immune support*
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
- Made with our unique, full-spectrum black elderberry extract that is from a unique blend of black elderberries that are naturally richer in Flavonoid BioActives
- Our elderberries are standardized to anthocyanins, which deliver a potent Flavonoid BioActives levels
- Product is made with a gentle, solvent-free extraction method that ensures maximum flavonoid potency
Grown With Care
We’re dedicated to providing you with the best the earth has to give. It’s why we seek out the purest herbs from the land they grow best. For our elderberries, we go straight to the hills of Austria and work with farmers who have tended their land for generations — tapping into their expertise and passion to help cultivate better products you can trust.
The Perfect Soil
A member of the Adoxaceae family, Sambucus (or elderberry) is harvested in the Graz and Viennese regions of Austria. Famous for their grape growing, this land is mineral and nutrient-rich, leading to higher levels of flavonoids in every elderberry.
Our farmer-partners take their crops seriously, taking extra steps to grow some of the best Elderberries in the world.
To preserve quality and freshness, keep tightly sealed and store in a cool, dry place. Keep out of reach of children. Safety sealed with printed outer shrinkband and inner seal. Do not use if either seal is broken or missing.This product is labelled to United States standards and may differ from similar products sold elsewhere in its ingredients, labeling and allergen warnings
Usage Instructions For Daily Maintenance: Adults: Take 2 teaspoons (10 ml) daily Children: Take 1 teaspoon (5 ml) daily For Intensive Use: Adults: Take 2 teaspoons (10 ml) four times daily. Children: Take 1 teaspoon (5 ml) four times daily
Fructose, purified water, vegetable-source glycerin, natural raspberry flavor, citric acid.
For Daily Maintenance: Adults: Take 2 teaspoons (tsp) (10 mL) daily. Children Ages 7 and older: Take 1 teaspoon (5 mL) daily. For Intensive Use: Adults: Take 2 teaspoons (10 mL) four times daily. Children Ages 7 and older: Take 1 teaspoon (5 mL) three times daily.
Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and different information than what is shown on our website. We recommend that you do not rely solely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. Please see our full disclaimer below.
Who should buy elderberry syrup?
Elderberry syrup is a popular remedy for treating or preventing illnesses like the common cold or the flu. Elderberry is a fruit that contains powerful antioxidants which are thought to help your body fight off or recover from viral illnesses.
Elderberry syrup is a sweet and tasty way to recover faster from illnesses, and at least preliminary evidence exists supporting its use against both the common cold and the flu. More promising evidence supports elderberry syrup for reducing the duration of illness following air travel, too.
When you travel on a plane, you spend long periods in close proximity to a lot of other people, so your exposure level to germs is a lot higher than it usually is. Further, when you change time zones, your body’s ability to fight off infection is diminished.
Taking elderberry syrup before or after travelling could be a good way to boost your chances of staying healthy during your trip, or recovering from illness if you come down with one.
Just based on exposure, elderberry syrup is a better idea in the wintertime, since colds and the flu become much more common (likely the result of people spending a lot more time indoors in close proximity, and not necessarily a result of colder temperatures directly).
How we ranked
Two factors dominated when we were formulating our rankings of the best elderberry syrup on the market: elderberry content and the quality of the source of elderberries used in the formulation.
For the content, we were looking for dosages that lined up with what’s been studied experimentally. Studies have looked at anywhere from under one gram to 12 grams of raw elderberry material per day, but we strove for doses in the upper half of this range: six grams of raw elderberry equivalent per serving or more, if possible.
While not all elderberry syrup products are clear about the concentration of elderberry material in the liquid, those that were (and that had high concentrations) scored highly.
We were also concerned with the quality of the elderberries: indicators like an organic certification, which we found in some of the top brands, were a great sign that a company was committed to ensuring that their elderberries were from a high quality source.
On the topic of quality and purity, our research team also examined the other ingredients in each product. Elderberry syrup, as the name suggests, is sweetened, but we wanted to exclude products that were too sugary. We rewarded products with attractively low sugar content, or that used other natural but non-caloric sweeteners like stevia.
We also excluded products with artificial flavors and colors that detract from the usefulness of the product: since elderberry syrup is a natural remedy, any extraneous ingredients detract from the formulation.
Lastly, we considered a few peripheral concerns, like the quality of the bottle itself. While this plays only a minor role in the effectiveness of elderberry syrup, like other antioxidants, elderberry syrup is vulnerable to light and oxygen.
So, the ideal container is one that is opaque and has a solid airtight seal, while still being easy to pour and easy to use. While this only had minor effects on the overall score, it did lead to a few changes in our final rankings.
The remaining products, sorted according to overall quality, represent the best selection of elderberry syrups available now.
Elderberry syrup is a dark purple liquid that’s long been used as an herbal remedy for illnesses like the cold or the flu.
Elderberry syrup contains powerful antioxidants, which are thought to be responsible for the blunting effect that elderberry syrup has on sicknesses.
By enhancing the body’s immune system response, the duration and severity of colds and flus could be reduced. We’ll take a look at the science behind elderberry syrup as well as its potential for side effects.
Elderberry syrup can fight both bacterial and viral infections. The strong antioxidant powers of elderberry appear to have both antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it well-suited for fighting off infections.
A scientific study published in 2011 in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine used biologically active cultures of influenza viruses and bacterial agents responsible for upper respiratory tract infections .
By testing the responses of the viruses and bacteria to various concentrations of elderberry juice extract, the researchers were able to demonstrate that the elderberry juice extracts exhibited strong antimicrobial activity, providing good scientific support for its capabilities as an anti-illness remedy.
The next step was to test the activity of elderberry inside actual living cells.
Elderberry contains compounds that fight the flu in living cells. Other research suggests that these antimicrobial properties do indeed carry over to living cells.
A paper published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine tested how well a standardized extract of elderberry juice inhibited the growth of several different strains of influenza virus .
The study used cells from pigs and turkeys in one experiment, and were able to show that exposure to elderberry inhibited several different strains of the influenza virus.
Moreover, in a secondary experiment, the researchers documented how elderberry syrup was used to treat an outbreak of a serious form of influenza in an agricultural community in Israel, and noted that fever and feelings of illness decreased rapidly after administering elderberry syrup.
This secondary study used both a placebo group and an experimental group that took real elderberry syrup; the placebo group recovered from the flu in approximately six days, while the elderberry group recovered in only two to three days.
Elderberry syrup can also help you recover from the cold. While one group of viruses causes the flu, a completely different type of virus causes the common cold.
Fortunately, research suggests that these “rhinoviruses” which cause upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold, are also amenable to being treated with elderberry syrup.
A paper published in 2016 in the journal Nutrients by a team of researchers in Australia studied over 300 airline passengers . The passengers were randomly assigned either a placebo supplement or an elderberry supplement, and the researchers tracked who became ill and how long their illness lasted.
The results showed that, of those participants who got a cold, those who were taking the elderberry supplement had significantly fewer days lost to illness compared to the placebo group.
This agrees with the research we reviewed earlier, which found that elderberry was effective at inhibiting the growth of a wide variety of viruses and bacteria.
This is why you’ll find elderberry extract included in multi-ingredient remedies for illness that take advantage of its broad spectrum antimicrobial activity alongside other herbal remedies for sickness like echinacea.
The antioxidant powers of elderberry syrup can help improve long-term health too. With many of the antimicrobial properties of elderberry syrup being attributed to its strong antioxidant abilities, it’s natural to wonder if it shares the same health benefits of other potent antioxidants like resveratrol and astaxanthin.
A review article published in the Journal of Functional Foods in 2015 by researchers in Poland suggests that many of the same benefits do apply .
For example, the researchers cite scientific papers demonstrating that elderberry can reduce oxidative stress and reduce a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
These benefits likely have to do with the ability of any antioxidant to reduce oxidative stress, which causes measurable damage to arteries (among other bodily structures).
Elderberries are an excellent and highly bioavailable source of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidant agents found in a wide variety of plants, ranging from everything from blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
They’re thought to contribute strongly to the antioxidant powers of many fruits, and they’re found in high concentrations in elderberry syrup.
A study published in 2004 in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics examined the bioavailability of anthocyanins in elderberry extract and compared it to the bioavailability of anthocyanins in blackcurrants, another rich source of anthocyanins .
The researchers studied how blood levels of anthocyanins changed during the hours following consumption of a standardized amount of the extract from each kind of berry. They found that only 0.37% of the administered dose of anthocyanins was excreted in urine within seven hours following consumption of the extract, meaning that most of the bioactive compounds were still circulating or being processed by the body.
Moreover, the researchers found that anthocyanin absorption was five to six times greater following consumption of elderberry extract compared to blackcurrant extract. The results did show that the body breaks down the anthocyanins in elderberry juice fairly quickly, though: half the administered dose is processed out of the blood after 1.74 hours.
Sometimes results like these are interpreted to mean that a supplement should be split up into multiple daily doses, though going this far with results so preliminary is probably not wise. It’s not clear if all of the benefit of elderberry syrup is attributable to anthocyanins; since research in humans so far has used only one dose per day, it’s probably wiser to stick to this dosage level.
Nevertheless, this pharmacological study does provide some support for future research into the potential benefits of multiple smaller doses of elderberry syrup throughout the day, as opposed to one larger dose once per day.
While the elderberry is safe to eat, unripe elderberry fruit and the other parts of the plant contain toxins. Elderberry syrup poses a risk of nausea and vomiting, but only if you are using a homemade version that inadvertently included some unripe elderberries.
Processed versions use only ripe and nontoxic elderberry fruit. Animal studies have found that elderberry syrup is quite safe, though because its biological mechanism of action is not well-characterized, it is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women .
Moreover, as with any supplement, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you take prescription medications that might interact with supplements that you are taking.
Establishing precise dosing guidelines for elderberry syrup is a challenge, because many different studies have used many different doses.
Still, one review study cites doses ranging from an equivalent of 0.2 to 12 grams of actual elderberry fruit used as a dose, with the most common doses in the vicinity of three grams .
In most elderberry syrup formulations, this works out to 5-15 mL of liquid taken once or twice per day. As with other treatments for infections, like cough drops and zinc supplements, it’s best to take elderberry syrup at the first sign of any symptoms of illness, versus waiting until your symptoms get worse.
That way, you have the best chance of alleviating your symptoms and reducing the duration of illness as much as possible.