Elderberry Tea: Benefits, Side Effects, and Homemade Recipe

elderberry tea

Benefits of drinking elderberry tea

The best way to use elderberries is to make syrup or tea. You will not make a mistake if you choose to use both.

But here we will see what are elderberry tea benefits, potential side effects, and how to make this healthy tea, delicious and healthy tea at home.

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What is elderberry?

Elderberry (Sambucus) is the edible fruit of the Elderberry shrub. The fresh fruit is used to make jam, wine, syrup, sauces, and pies. The flowers are used for teas and sometimes they are used for cooking in some dishes.

The European elder (Sambucus nigra) is the species most often used in supplements and there are many different elderberry supplement options and preparations such as syrups, teas, gummies, lozenges.

Elderberries have an impressive nutritional value. One cup of fresh elderberries has only 105 calories, 10 grams of fiber, and 58% of the daily recommended dosage of vitamin C.

They are also rich in flavonoids and anthocyanins.

Flavonoids – naturally occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables that may provide some anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

Anthocyanins – purple color pigments that give blackberries and blueberries their rich color. Scientists believe these components may be responsible for elderberry’s immune-boosting effects.

Elderberry Tea Benefits

Many of the elderberry benefits that we will mention here can be attributed to anthocyanin.

Anthocyanin is an antioxidant that helps to clear the body from free radicals that damage cells at the DNA levels. It also has antiviral properties that prevent or reduce some infections.

Elderberry also exerts anti-inflammatory effects, reducing swelling and pain by tempering the body’s immune response.

Elderberry tea is:

  • aperient (helps relieve constipation)
  • relaxing (relieves anxiety and depression)
  • skin soothing (relieves sunburn when used as cold tea on the skin)
  • diaphoretic (makes you sweat)
  • diuretic (helps your body get rid of excess water)

Helps For Sinus Infections

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), elderberry can help to treat bacterial sinusitis also known as a sinus infection.

Studies have used elderberry in a combination with other herbs, so the results show that the benefits can’t be traced directly to the elderberry alone.

But it is proved that a combination of elderberry and other herbs combined with a decongestant and antibiotic, helps to clear up sinus infections more effectively and faster than just a combination of antibiotics and decongestants.

Relief for Flu and Colds

Drinking elderberry tea can help soothe cold and flu symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue, sore throat, and coughing.

Make tea with four tablespoons of elderberry extract, and drink it every day for three days for maximum benefits.

A 2019 study on elderberry for both cold and flu suggested that the fruit substantially reduced upper-airway symptoms.

2012 study suggested that elderberry could help prevent influenza infection by stimulating an immune response.


Tea prepared from dried elderberry may help in the treatment of constipation. Anthraquinone is a laxative compound found in elderberries.

Anthraquinone inhibits the absorption of water in the intestines. This increases intestinal pressure, stimulating muscle contractions (peristalsis) to promote clearance of the bowel.

Pain Relief

Anthocyanins present in elderberries help to reduce inflammation. Those in the elderberry do so by inhibiting the production of nitric oxide by the body’s immune cells.

Nitric oxide serves as a signaling molecule that triggers inflammation in response to injury or disease. By tempering this response, pain and swelling may be relieved.

Topical elderberry tinctures and salves have long been used in folk medicine to treat dental pain, cuts, bruises, and burns.

There are even some who claim that elderberry syrup can treat sciatica and other forms of neuropathic pain.

Digestive Health

The high fiber content of elderberries can help to eliminate constipation, reduce excess gas, and generally increase the health of the gastrointestinal system.

The dietary fiber contained in these berries can also increase nutrient uptake efficiency, especially in the gut, helping you to get more out of the food that you eat.

Elderberry Tea Recipe


  • 1¼ cups water
  • 2-3 tsp dried elderberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or a few slices of fresh ginger)
  • 1 tsp dried echinacea (optional)


  • Place elderberries, water, and cinnamon/ginger (if using) in a pot.
  • Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and cover the pot.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain out the berries.
  • If you’re incorporating echinacea, add it to the tea, cover, and allow to steep for 5 minutes, then strain.
  • Sweeten with raw honey or your preferred sweetener if desired before serving.

You can also try this organic elderberry herbal tea packed in bags and easy to make. It has great flavor and you will love it.

How much elderberry tea should I drink?

There are no universal recommendations as to the dosage to treat specific medical conditions.

When it comes to elderberry tea it is recommended to drink it hot no more than three times a day due to its laxative components.

Possible Side Effects

Cooked elderberry fruit is considered safe if consumed in moderation. Overconsumption may cause stomach aches, diarrhea, due to the laxative effects.

If it is used for medical issues only ripped and dried elderberries should be used.

Certain parts of the elderberry plant (including the leaves, root, bark, and stems) contain a type of poison known as a cyanogenic glycoside.

Even unripe berries contain trace amounts of this, which, if chewed, can release cyanide into the body.

Elderberries must be cooked before consuming, as the raw berries can also make you ill.

Elderberry Tea Side Effects

  • Do not eat the leaves, stems, or unripe elderberries. They contain chemicals similar to cyanide. Fresh ripe elderberries may be used, but they must be cooked (heated) before consuming.
  • Elderberries may lower blood sugar levels and may increase the development of hypoglycemia.
  • Elderberries may have a laxative effect and may increase the effect of other laxatives.
  • Elderberries may stimulate the immune system and may decrease the effectiveness of immune-suppression medications.

Replace your coffee in the morning with an elderberry tea and you will notice fast changes in your mood and energy.

Elderberry tea

Final thoughts on benefits and side effects of drinking elderberry tea:

Elderberry tea benefits are numerous from flu and colds to a sinus infection and so much more. If you don’t like teas start using elderberries as syrup or other forms of supplementation.

Be careful to not eat raw elderberries it is better to eat them ripped and dried.

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