Black Elderberry

Daisy Elizabeth Lear Acupuncturist Longmont, CO

I became interested in Chinese medicine in 1990 after volunteering in a clinic for people with AIDS, where I witnessed the relief that this medicine can provide. During this time, I continued to work, volunteer in the health care field, and completed a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis upon Kinesiology at San Francisco... more

While I’m a big fan of Chinese herbs, I learned a few things about European herbs during the Colorado Annual Conference for Naturopathic Doctors. Out of all the herbs highlighted for supporting the immune system, I decided to pluck out Black Elderberry, not only because it is fabulous, but because the speaker shared a fun recipe as well. Elderberry is becoming more well known, and since it is the time of year for cold and flu, it seems appropriate to share a little information.

Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

  • Long-established tonic for immune support for “early stage” intervention  
  • Elder Flowers are used in acute respiratory diseases, serious otitis, acute otitis media, acute influenza, fever, and upper respiratory infection. 
  • Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and immunotonic agents inhibit several strains of influenza  

Black Elderberry contains Flavonoids, such as Quercetin. I am a long-time fan of Quercetin to address seasonal allergies and arthritis as this flavonoid is an effective anti-inflammatory, see article at

Flavonoids have significant protective effects against oxidative stress.

Oxidation explained: We’ve seen it in nature. etals turn into different colors and become weaker; a cut apple turns brown, mushy and less nutritious. Overall, the original nature of things change. For example, over exposure to sun causes oxidative stress to the human system. Oxidation also causes inflammation, which is the primary cause of discomfort and pain. Antioxidants inhibit the oxidation of other molecules.

Black Elderberry’s Mechanism of Action: Deactivates viruses ability to pierce cell walls, enter and replicate. 

Recipe for Black Elderberry Gummies from Dr. Mary Bove

(25 minutes to prepare, plus freezing time)


  • 1 cup acai juice, or another no sugar added juice 1 tablespoon local honey
  • 1 tablespoon agar agar
  • 1 (3-ounce) bottle Black Elderberry Syrup


Place a small pan over low heat, then stir together the juice, agar agar and honey. Heat over low until the agar agar is completely dissolved. 

Remove from heat and add the Black Elderberry Syrup. Pour into silicone molds or an 8×8 glass dish lined with parchment and coated with coconut oil. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until firm. 

Remove from freezer and pop out of molds or slice into squares. Store on parchment inside in airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. 

Each portion contains a teaspoon daily serving of Black Elderberry Syrup. 18 Servings

And of course, Chinese medicine and acupuncture supports the Immune System. There are a few techniques that raise the white blood cell count and do not require the insertion of an acupuncture needle. For more information, please refer to a previously published article at