Elderberry and Echinacea: Double the Healing Power


Take two natural remedies — elderberry and Echinacea — both of which have proven healing abilities, join them together, and the result is a powerful therapeutic combination. That’s the conclusion of a new study conducted in the Czech Republic. It’s positive news for those seeking natural, safe remedies for ailments like colds, influenza, and respiratory infections.

The herb Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) was once a traditional Native American remedy. It became a well-regarded treatment for colds and infections before the advent of antibiotics, and remains a natural health-giving staple.

Elderberry (Sambucis nigra L.) has long been known to have potent antiviral and antibacterial properties: it’s been documented as a healing ingredient since the time of the ancient Greeks, and was the foundation ingredient for countless tinctures and extracts in medieval Europe. A recent study showed that a membrane filtered elderberry formula called Rubini (produced by Italian company Iprona AG) was effective against influenza A and B, as well as various bacteria that caused secondary chest infections.

But now researchers are exploring how these two natural ingredients, with their long history as healing powerhouses, work in combination. The Czech study has found that the combination of elderberry and echinacea may be more effective than Tamiflu, a common and trusted flu treatment. A group of 473 patients were involved — all in early stages of the flu, having experienced symptoms for only up to 48 hours before beginning treatment. One group of subjects received Tamiflu for five days and a placebo for five more days. Another group received a combination of elderberry and Echinacea for all ten days.

What the Czech researchers found was that, after ten days, the elderberry and echinacea-based remedy actually had better results than the Tamiflu / placebo remedy. A bit over 90 percent of the group on the elderberry and echinacea mixture showed full recovery, compared to less than 85 percent of the group who had taken the Tamiflu / placebo combination. Moreover, there were far fewer adverse reactions — such as nausea and vomiting — among those who received the elderberry and echinacea drink.

Other recent trials focusing on the power of an elderberry and echinacea combination have shown it to be effective on a number of other fronts. An echinacea / elderberry extract used on chicken embryos worked against the H9N2 avian influenza virus. And a study involving people with upper respiratory tract infections showed that elderberry and echinacea extracts had remarkable curative properties — and may even prove to be safe for pregnant women.

As we continue to search for alternative treatments, we will no doubt discover even more about the healing powers of natural ingredients. Certainly elderberry is a proven treatment for a number of respiratory illnesses. But its remarkable potency when combined with echinacea gives elderberry even more credibility — as the number one go-to natural remedy against ailments.



Carl Thompson
Carl Thompson has been a freelance health and medical journalist for more than three decades. He specializes in natural alternatives to the synthetic products of the pharmaceutical industry, and is a research writer for BerryPharma ®, an Italian company that produces standardized berry extracts for medicinal uses. His work has appeared widely in both consumer and professional health trade publications internationally. His most recent book is "Inflammation: A Closer Look at What Drug Companies Do Not Want You to Know," about a drug-free approach to managing arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.