SPECIAL REPORT: Doctors claim elderberry may help cold & flu durations


"I think people found out that it supports their immune system very well," Master Herbalist Jim Miller said.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFTA) — Is it true that a berry that makes wine and jelly can also make your cold and flu symptoms go away?

From research and talking with local doctors and someone who specializes in herb education, the short answer? Yes — but not in the way you probably think.

I think people found out that it supports their immune system very well.

Jim Miller, President Bucklebury / Certified Master Herbalist

Elderberry is an old folk remedy for the common cold… and it’s a hot commodity this season because of its high levels of antioxidants and the way it tastes.

They are so delicious and people tell their friends and then the friends come to me.

Becca Weisenbarger, Elderberry Vendor

Some people, like Becca Weisenbarger, who owns Willow Rose — a small business that sells elderberry syrups and gummies — swear by it.

“I put a little in her sippy cup and not 45 minutes later her drippy nose was all dried up,” she said. “From that moment on, I was 100% a believer.”

The question remains… does it actually cure a cold?

During a sit down with Doctor Randy Conover, he said it’s not a cure for the cold or flu, but it may help shorten their courses.

“I still think we don’t even have the correct dosing on elderberry yet,” he said.

Dr. Conover said more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of elderberry, and for now — he said it’s probably best to just stick with what we know and not depend on it.

Vitamin C has more evidence behind it in shortening the courses of colds or flus.

Dr. Randy Conover, Family Physician

Jim Miller is a certified master herbalist.

He makes premium herbal remedies for his online shop — Buckleberry.

“I believe elderberry works best to provide immune support when you’re already sick,” Miller said.

He said he agrees with Dr. Conover that elderberries help with the duration of colds and flus, but he thinks taking some elderberry is better than none.

“There’s sufficient proof elderberry would provide nice support in conjunction with a flu shot,” he said.

Although there are different opinions on how effective this purple berry is — there’s one thing everyone can agree on.

At the end of the day, in order to get through this cold and flu season unscathed… it’s more important to do your part and take care of yourself year-round.

“Hydration, rest,” Dr. Conover. “You need to make sure when you’re washing your hands you don’t touch your face unless you just washed your hands.”

It’s not just, I can eat anything I want, I don’t have to get sleep, not worry about my gut health, and I’m going to take this herb and it’s all going to be better — it just doesn’t work that way.

Jim Miller, President Bucklebury / Certified Master Herbalist

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