By Andrea Jacobs, Certified Naturopath

In our 5-part “Common Colds and Influenza” series (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3), we are discussing how infectious winter diseases develop, how they spread, how you can protect yourself against them and which natural remedies exist. Today, in part four, our topic is:


Elderberry was already mentioned by Hippocrates, researched and described in the Middle Ages and intensely investigated in the nineteenth century. Recently it has been analyzed in health institutes and universities for its anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects, including the University of Giessen, Griffith University in Australia and the Derby University in England.

The first literary documentation of the effects was written by Hildegard von Bingen in her book „Die Heilkraft der Natur“{The healing power of nature} from the 12th century.

Dr. Martin Blochwich dedicated a whole book to this plant in 1655 titled: „The Anatomy of the Elder “. Herein he describes the different effects of the berry, the blossom and the leaves. It also contains recipes for different purposes. The book was, as usual for that period, written in Latin and translated into English and German a short while later. This clearly highlights how relevant the book was, and in many ways, still is.

Our grandmothers made juice as well as jams and jellies from elderberries and syrup from the blossoms. Many of us will remember hot elderberry juice with honey given to us at the start of a common cold. Today good quality elderberry juices and other elderberry products can be purchased in organic shops and health food shops.

For today’s busy people who want to strengthen their immune system with elderberry, practical elderberry capsules are available. You should however take care that it is a good quality product.

The Haschberg variety of the elderberry (also known as Noble Elderberry), which is cultivated in Styria near Graz, Austria has a spectacular fruit profile. This elderberry variety has a high content of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocyanins, which are the immune strengthening substances in the elderberry.

The largest producer of European elderberry extracts, Iprona AG, concentrates the active, healthy compounds in the Haschberg elderberry to create a holistic fruit extract ready to be incorporated into health products. This holistic elderberry extract finds applications in juices, capsules and lozenges for the management of colds, as well as for immune and cardiovascular support.

According to the latest scientific findings, elderberry ingredients are also bactericidal while slowing down the spread of viruses. With this you can achieve an increased resistance against viruses and bacteria and be less susceptible to coughs, common colds and influenza.