Nobody knows if elderberry will help or hurt if you have COVID-19!

Some folks have worried that taking elderberry supplements or teas, sometimes used for heart health or as a home remedy for flu and cold viruses, might increase their risk of getting a severe case of COVID-19. The theory is that taking elderberry could cause an increase in cytokines, molecules that signal your body to increase inflammation.

Doctors have seen a big increase in cytokines in some people with severe COVID-19, particularly patients with autoimmune conditions, causing some people to say you should stop taking elderberry. Other people think that elderberry might be helpful for fighting off other respiratory viruses and flu, and they say that people should start taking it.

So far, doctors have not conducted a single study looking to see if elderberry prevents, treats, or worsens COVID-19. That means no one knows for sure whether you should start or stop. So if your doctor has recommended elderberry to help with some other health issue, you should probably continue taking it. But if you’re not taking elderberry already, the COVID-19 pandemic is not a good reason to start.

We’ll tell you more the moment doctors know more!


Last updated: April 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm EST 
Science reviewed by: AGB, JAB