Can elderberry be harmful for you?

Can elderberry be harmful for you?

Elderberry interaction

Interaction of a substance generally refers to potential risk that could develop inside the body when two or more drugs, products, or medical conditions interact with one another in a negative manner causing certain unwanted health conditions. 

Interactions with Drugs

Elderberry has a property of boosting the immune system. This substance could interact with drugs that are used as immunosuppressants for appropriate medical causes. This could cause interference with ability of such drugs that includes:

  • prednisone
  • Prograf
  • Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
  • Zenapax (daclizumab)
  • Cellcept (mycophenolate)
  • Imuran (Azathioprine)
  • OKT3 (muromonab-CD3)
  • Rapamune (sirolimus)
  • Simulect (Basiliximab)

Due to the potency of elderberry to stimulate the immune system, it is recommended to consult a doctor before consuming elderberry along with any immunosuppressant. 

Interaction with Medical conditions

Similar to interactions with immune related drugs, elderberry is associated with complications when consumed in certain immune related conditions. There are several autoimmune diseases that could interact with elderberry such as:

  • lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Graves’s disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Vasculitis and more.

An individual must discuss with a doctor regarding all immuno-related medical conditions before the onset of elderberry medication.

Precaution of using Elderberry

Although being a natural remedy that is used mostly for a number of medical conditions, There are certain precautions that an individual must consider before medicating with elderberry to avoid any complication henceforth. Such precautionary measures includes:

  • Children- Consumption of elderberry by children below 5 years old may not be safe. Also, it is not proven whether children above 5 years old would find elderberry safe for moderate or long term use.
  • Pregnancy- Due to lack of evidence and information, it is not conclusive whether elderberry is safe for a pregnant woman or not. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor or possibly avoid it during pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding- Due to lack of evidence and information, it is not conclusive whether elderberries are safe during breastfeeding or not. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor or possibly avoid for justified safety of mother and feeding child.
  • Drugs– As discussed earlier, drugs associated with immune system stimulation must be avoided or at least consulted with the doctor before using elderberry.

Dosage of Elderberry

Elderberry is a kind of medical fruit that is available in different forms as per usage that includes capsules, lozenges, teas, gummies, supplements, etc. The dosage of elderberry dep[ends upon its form and medical condition to be treated. Some usual dosage of elderberry are:

  • To treat influenza, a 15ml liquid or syrup form of elderberry is used 4 times a day for 5 days.
  • To treat respiratory tract for air travel conditions, 600 mg of elderberry capsules daily before several days of flight and 900 mg during and several days after flight is used.


  • There are several drugs and medical conditions especially associated with the immune system which could interact with elderberries in an unusual way
  • An individual must make sure to avoid certain conditions before consuming any kind of elderberry dose to avoid complications.
  • The dosage of elderberry is generally based on its form and medical condition to be treated.


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