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Nutrient - Elderberry shows anti-infection activity

By Holly Taylor BSc (Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

Black elderberries are well known for their beneficial properties, especially as immune support in the winter months. The common cold and influenza are often complicated by secondary bacterial infections. The good news is that new data from a study carried out in Germany suggests that elderberry extract may have antibacterial properties, too. 

During the study, the scientists measured the antimicrobial and antiviral activity of black elderberry extract at concentrations of 5, 10, 15 and 20%. The extract was tested against two different strains of influenza virus, and four different bacteria commonly associated with upper respiratory tract infections, including Branhamella catarrhalis and Streptococcus pyogenes

At 10% concentration, the results showed that the extract was able to reduce bacterial growth by 70%. When used at 20%, this inhibiting effect increased to 99%! For the two influenza viruses, inhibition of influenza A was about 30%, while influenza B was inhibited by 25%. 

In their conclusions, the researchers wrote: “Elderberry liquid extract is active against human pathogenic bacteria as well as influenza viruses. The activities shown suggest that additional and alternative approaches to combat infections might be provided by this natural product.”

Article References

Krawitz C et al. Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011 Feb 25;11:16.

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