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Black elderberry extract proven to help combat swine flu virus
New clinical study confirms efficacy against H1N1 virus

Scientists at the Retroscreen Virology Centre have identified that black elderberry extract is effective in fighting the swine flu H1N1 virus(1).

In a randomised, placebo controlled, double-blind in-vitro study the black elderberry extract was found to be 70 per cent effective in preventing the H1N1 virus from infecting healthy cells and reduced intracellular replication by the same amount. The extract, commercially available in the UK under the name Sambucol, was shown to have a significant effect on cells after just five minutes incubation time. Details of the study are available at

This new research suggests that black elderberry extract could provide a two-fold solution to both the prevention and treatment of the H1N1 swine flu virus. The study also substantiates earlier trial findings which showed that the black elderberry extract was effective in reducing the duration of influenza symptoms by four days(2). In comparison, Tamiflu only reduces the duration of symptoms by one day(3). Previously, an in-vitro study also found black elderberry extract to be 99 per cent effective against the H5N1 strain of Avian Flu(4).

Following these results, scientists are investigating the possibility of applying for permission to engage in in-vivo studies on swine flu sufferers - something which is currently prohibited under European law.

Black elderberries are thought to contain a compound which coats viruses and prevents them from penetrating and infecting healthy cells. As a result viruses are unable to replicate. Any virus infected cells are then killed and ingested by the body’s white blood cells to remove the virus from the body.

Gary Snook from Pharmacare Europe, manufacturers of Sambucol says: “This study is encouraging at a time when we are facing widespread infection of the H1N1 virus. With a pandemic situation the need to prevent opportunities of transmission of the virus is of utmost importance. Antiviral formulations like this are of particular interest to control the spread of the virus.”

He continues: “This study has tested black elderberry extract for its efficacy in inactivating the swine flu virus and the results are significant. Many people will find these results of interest, as black elderberry extract could provide a safe, effective solution to both preventing and treating the spread of swine flu.”

Dr Serene Foster, expert immunologist and registered medical herbalist agrees: “Black elderberries have been traditionally used to help protect against various viral ailments, including flu, because of their immune health properties. It is believed that a compound contained in the black elderberry extract used in this study, prevents viruses from attaching to living cells. This new research shows that these dark purple fruits are effective in helping the immune system to fight back against specific strains of flu such as the H1N1 strain.”

Native to hedgerows throughout November, the black elderberry plant is a tall tree-like shrub, found liberally through the British countryside. Historians trace the tradition of the black elderberry’s healing power back to Hippocrates, who is widely referred to as the ‘father of medicine’. He described the black elderberry as his ‘medicine chest’ for the wide range of ailments it appeared to cure – from cold and flu to burns, cuts and even the plague.

Today the flu-fighting properties of black elderberries can be found on the high street as Sambucol - available in liquid format and suitable for all the family.
Sambucol® Original £8.49 for 120ml
Sambucol® Immuno Forte containing vitamin C and zinc £8.99 for 120ml
Sambucol Sugar Free £8.49 for 120ml
Sambucol for Children £8.49 for 120ml

Sambucol with Vitamin C Lozenges £8.49 for 30 tablets

Available from Boots, Holland and Barrett, selected Tesco and Superdrug as well as independent health stores and pharmacies nationwide. For your nearest stockist or to order please call 0845 612 2077 or buy online at
For more information and research on clinical trials on black elderberry visit the website
For product information go to
* If you experience flu-like symptoms please consult your doctor immediately
- ENDS -

For further information please contact:
Katie Stray / 020 7738 1900 / DL 020 3031 3726 /
Jo Jarvis / 020 7738 1900 / DL 020 3031 3723 /


(1) Independent research by Retroscreen Ltd. Retroscreen Virology Study no. PEC-001. Data on file

(2) Rones Z et al. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40

(3) European Medicines Agency, 2008. European Public Assessment Report (EPAR)
TAMIFLU summary for the public

(4) Balasingam et. al. 2005 Neutralizing activity of Sambucol against Avian Influenza virus. St. Batholomew’s & The Royal London School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of London, Conference. Bird Flu: the first pandemic of the 21st Century. A central role for antivirals.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Tiger White PR in the following categories: Health, Women's Interest & Beauty, Medical & Pharmaceutical, for more information visit