Whats the fuss about Elderberry Syrup?

A few weeks ago, a post was circulating on social media literally scaring people out of taking elderberry syrup for the current virus that's circulating based on a 19 year-old study they said showed that elderberry could stimulate a "cytokine storm" leading to worsening of infection or death. A "cytokine storm" (in case you're wondering), is a rare and severe inflammatory immune reaction where an overproduction of immune cells and cytokines are released into the blood stream too quickly. In a flu infection, this is associated with a surge of activated immune cells into the lungs. 

Now admittedly, I own a supplement line and we manufacture elderberry. I heavily researched each and every single product in the line before it launched. I'm also a naturopath with training in herbology who has been using and recommending elderberry as needed for years. I've taught people how to make it and use it and I understand how it works on a physiological level. You should know that I have not been to medical school to gather information on elderberry. You should also know that neither has your medical doctor. With that being said, this is my *personal opinion* on the subject. 

Let's first examine the facts: 
This is how many "cytokine storms" have been caused by elderberry: 
This is how many people have died from taking elderberry syrup: ZERO.
This is how plausible it is that elderberry syrup can cause a phenomenon known as the "cytokine storm:" It isn't.
This is how long people have been using elderberry:Centuries. 
This is how many studies I've found on elderberry syrup: 

Elderberry is an immune system modulator that has been heavily studied for its use with influenza viruses. It is true that you cannot approach COVID-19 the same way as you would a cold or flu virus, but there have been studies done using elderberry on similar coronaviruses. What do they show? That elderberry has the ability to prohibit viruses from entering the ACE2 -- a "back door" into your cells, that it blocks glycoproteins, and that it can destroy the lipid membrane of viruses (including similar viruses to that of COVID-19), thus preventing infection, reducing the severity of it, and/or helping post-infection. 

Enter the post on social media that has you running from elderberry like its the plague: People are talking about cytokines like they're "bad," but cytokines may be ''good'' when stimulating the immune system to fight a foreign pathogen or can be "bad" when their expression causes inflammatory diseases. According to the 
Int. Journal of Toxicology, "Therapeutic modulation of cytokine expression can help the "good" cytokines to generate or quench the immune system and block the "bad" cytokines to prevent damaging inflammatory events." 

Elderberry is an IMMUNE-MODULATOR that activates a healthy immune system to fight an infection. The cytokine storm involves dysregulation between pro-inflammatory cytokines, anti-inflammatory cytokines, and regulatory cytokines. According to Elisa Song MD, elderberry has been shown to increase BOTH pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines, while REDUCING oxidative stress and REGULATING inflammation. The belief that you should avoid elderberry is based off of a misunderstanding of how elderberry modulates the immune system and a very limited understanding of the pathophysiology of a "cytokine storm." 

To date, there have been no elderberry-induced cytokine storms and there is no credible research that would support avoiding elderberry syrup (but quite a bit of research supporting the opposite). That doesn't mean you should just go out and down a bottle. Elderberry is powerful and you should use it wisely. If you have a severe autoimmune disorder affecting your lungs, it's not a bad idea to work with a health practitioner directly if using any natural health supplement, including elderberry. 

For those who don't, Dr. Chris Masterjohn has a COVID-19 protocol and he recommends
700-1,000mg of elderberry syrup per day during this time, and then reducing that to 300mg when the threat has subsided. If you're using Living Whole's brand, 2 teaspoons is approx. 6400mg and that is one serving. So you would take about 1/2 teaspoon 1-2x daily over the course of 12 weeks if you're following his protocol. As with anything, be smart when using any natural supplement and consult with a healthcare practitioner if you need to. 

More about this on the blog soon. Until then, don't believe everything you read on the internet. 


From: Living Whole 

Older Post Newer Post