Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sambucol Good for Prevention BUT NOT Treatment of H1N1 Flu

Hi everyone:

I just had to send out a warning about Sambucol (black elderberry). This is a very good anti-viral for use with many strains of the flu. It works to prevent infection (including with H1N1) by preventing the virus from attaching to cells. It also works in reducing the duration of illness and severity of symptoms IN SEASONAL FLU because it stimulates the production of inflammatory cytokines.

The increase in inflammatory cytokines is usually a good thing for treating the flu because it "kicks in" your immune system to fight the virus.

Here is a link to a PubMed article about the benefit of Sambucol (black elderberry) for treating the flu:

Here's the gist of the abstract: "Adherent monocytes were separated from PBL and incubated with different Sambucol preparations i.e., Sambucol Elderberry Extract, Sambucol Black Elderberry Syrup, Sambucol Immune System and Sambucol for Kids. Production of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 beta, TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8) was significantly increased, mostly by the Sambucol Black Elderberry Extract (2-45 fold), as compared to LPS, a known monocyte activator (3.6-10.7 fold). The most striking increase was noted in TNF-alpha production (44.9 fold). We conclude from this study that, in addition to its antiviral properties, Sambucol Elderberry Extract and its formulations activate the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production."


This is what is making kids SO sick so fast. With H1N1, the kid generally gets a mild form of flu, with fever, cough, and other "flu-like symptoms." Then, they start to get better and seem like they are getting over it, when suddenly their fever shoots up and they get VERY SICK VERY FAST. This is the cytokine storm happening. The immune system has done it's job by reacting to the virus and sending out the troops! Unfortunately, in some people, with H1N1 the immune system goes into Hyper-Drive and it doesn't know when to stop. This is why so much mucus is produced and pneumonia results. Mucus is the body's shield - it's trying to protect itself from the invasion. In cytokine storm, there is actually too much protection from too many cytokines, including IL-6 and TNF-a.

So, you definitely do not want to use a treatment that INCREASES those cytokines any further. (Remember, the above study found that black elderberry (Sambucol) increased TNF-a by 44.9-fold - THAT's a HUGE increase!) If you (or your child) has H1N1, you want to give things that DECREASE inflammation (fish oil, curcumin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, including aspirin [adults] and motrin/ibuprofen in kids).

Sambucol is still great for PREVENTING H1N1 and for treating seasonal flu, but once someone has symptoms, they should not use Sambucol unless they are sure it's not H1N1.

Finally, I always encourage others to do their own research before simply taking anyone's word (including mine), especially when it comes to the health of your children. Please check out the things you are giving to your kids - and that includes anything you allow others to inject into their bodies or spray up their noses. And when it comes to researching treatments for H1N1, remember that this IS NOT the same as the seasonal flu. You cannot make generalizations about things that we know work for seasonal flu. This is different.

So go to PubMed, and do your research, but be sure to check the date on the publication and remember that nothing in the literature about "influenza" or seasonal flu applies to H1N1 if the study was published before 2009.

Please spread this around to anyone you believe may benefit.
Blessings and stay well!


  1. Via pubmed:

  2. This study found that black elderberry (sambucol) prevented H1N1 virus from attaching to cells in vitro - so it was good for prevention, and may be good in the initial stage of infection. The problem would be if you have H1N1 and continue to use Sambucol as a treatment of flu and encounter a cytokine storm (which has been the problem associated with life-threatening hospitalizations for children).

  3. Thanks for your post, but I have the disagree with you. The current 2009 H1N1 strain (i.e. the "swine flu") does not seem to cause a so-called cytokine storm. This possibility was only assumed when the virus first appeared earlier this year. If cytokine storms were even remotely regular, we would see a lot of otherwise healthy, young adults who contract H1N1 end up in the hospital in very serious condition. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case. So far, the swine flu virus seems to be rather mild. See this link, for example, which reports that H1N1 does NOT cause a cytokine storm:

    So Sambucol may still be good as treatment for the current H1N1 - but of course this has not been tested in a clinical trial.

    In any case, there is no real need to worry about a cytokine storm with swine flu, and I would DEFINITELY not take any anti-inflammatories unless told to do so by a doctor. Most likely this will only prolong the time you suffer from the flu.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. 4 of our daughters have the flu(I have had it but am on the mend) of them tested positive for influenza A and the practitioner said that while they are testing for H1N1 specifically about 85-90% are. I bought some Sambucol yesterday and gave them each a dose with intent to treat for the duration. Decided to google some more info on it and found your blog.I am playing it safe and stopping it's use.

  5. this is total BUNK! Sambucol does not increase the type of cytokines that cause storms.

  6. I think you did not do enough research before you made this post. you might want to read this and reconsider what you are advising people of. Sambucol is a good product that has the potential to help people with H1N1. I would hate for something to happen to someone because you published this post.

    It seems that the cytokine storm is directly linked to the viral load. Sambucol is designed to inhibit viral replication therefore reducing the viral load therefore inhibiting a cytokine storm.

  7. I agree with the comments that there has not been enough research - into any aspect of H1N1 flu.
    I did read the article referenced above from St. Jude, which reports on research done regarding the H5N1 (bird flu) from 2007. That article specifically mentioned the increase in TNF-alpha cytokines as being active in the cytokine storm. As the research I originally posted found that black elderberry (Sambucol) increases TNF-alpha by a factor of 44.9 FOLD, it makes sense to me not to use it, but to employ other agents to fight the flu.
    As one commenter posted, if the incidence of cytokine storm were common, there would be a lot more people with healthy immune systems suffering dire complications of the H1N1 flu - and this is NOT the case.
    However, in the article from St. Jude, the researchers discuss mice who had underlying glitches (SNPs?) that hampered their immune system's ability to respond appropriately to the invading virus, and when the researchers interfered with the cytokine system, the mice still died.
    My blog is generally geared toward families of children with autism and other nuerodevelopmental disorders, who have underlying physical problems, many of them associated with the immune system. These are issues we do not understand fully, just as we do not understand the cytokine storm and it's relation to this particular strain of flu.
    My intent is to present information in a way that makes sense.
    To me, it makes sense not to use Sambucol or other black elderberry extracts with this particular flu.
    As always, I advise you to do your own research before deciding what is best for you or for your family.

  8. Sorry you are wrong on this on Tip-DCs cause the storm. and second the current cytokine storm theory is that the body produces an appropriate response but since the viral load is so high it APPEARS to over respond. I would strongly suggest you take this post down before someone gets hurt or dies because of it. I have known many peopel who have treated H1N1 with sambucol and their sickness is usually gone in 1-2 days. and on a side note tylenol also increase TNF-alpha. so why you are at it maybe you should post a danger notice about tylenol as well.

  9. I have often warned about the use of Tylenol, but not because of TNF-alpha, because it is routinely recommended prior to vaccinations in infants and children, and because it depletes glutathione, which is necessary to detoxify the very things (thimerosal and aluminum) that are so often being injected.
    I don't use Tylenol with my kids and don't have it in my house.

  10. I disagree with Dom about the cytokine storm (but DO thank him for posting the link to the article! see below). The article is from May, so much has happened since. H1N1 is definitely attacking healthy people with strong immune systems. It certainly sounds like the cytokine storm effect. Doctors & hospitals are standing around going 'we have no idea why they died' but those of us like Marcella who did the homework, we aren't surprised.

    But that article (thank you Dom!) also reveals a new treatment that lessens cytokine production in the lungs and could be life-saving. Copy and bring to your doctor!

    More stuff to copy for your doctor: The research with Resveratrol and N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC). Google 'Chemical in grapes inhibits flu virus'. Resveratrol lessens flu virus in the lungs 98% and cut deaths in mice by 40%. Has none of the hazards of Tamiflu (which is toxic to children). Liquid form is preferred, hold in the mouth for 1 minute before swallowing but capsules work too.

    N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) was recommended by an emergency room doctor in Austin back when swine flu first went around in the spring. He said adults should take 1200 mg 2x/day, children over 12, 600 mg 2x/day; children 40 lb. & up 300 mg 2x/day; children under 40 lb. 150-300 mg. 2x/day. I found NAC available as a prescription-only inhaler called MucoMyst which could be life-saving.

  11. very good information that provided in this blog, know the dangers of the disease and what could be its cause is beneficial for everyone. thanks for sharing such valuable information!


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