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Is Elderberry Safe to Use during Pregnancy? Benefits and Precautions

Written by: Holly Cooper


Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also brings new health considerations for expectant parents.

Some of our most commonly asked questions include:

  1. Is the herbal remedy elderberry is safe to take during pregnancy?
  2. What are the benefits of using elderberry while pregnant?
  3. What are the risks of using elderberry while pregnant?
  4. Can I use elderberry while breastfeeding?
  5. How do I take Elderberry Syrup?
  6. Can my child use elderberry syrup?

In this blog post we explore the questions surrounding the safety of elderberry use during pregnancy.We'll also shine light on the benefits of using elderberry while pregnant like immune support & anti-inflammatory effects, but also key precautions for using elderberry while pregnant.

DISCLAIMER: We are not medical professionals. We advise you to speak with your medical professional if you have further questions. Please be sure to tell your medical professional all of the medications/supplements you are taking in the event that you experience an unlikely reaction.

Potential Benefits of Using Elderberry while Pregnant

When consumed in normal amounts, most healthcare providers consider elderberry to be safe for use during pregnancy. The berries themselves contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients beneficial for both pregnant people and baby.

However, there is limited research on the safety of highly concentrated elderberry supplements or extracts. 

Research on Elderberry during Pregnancy

There are no current studies looking specifically at elderberry use during pregnancy. There is one study that suggests the immune system during pregnancy may be EXTRA stimulated in response to certain viruses like influenza (Stanford). Elderberry acts as an immune modulator, so there is a possible question at “how much stimulation is too much”, but there are not any evidence based answers at this point in time. This is one of those grey areas.

If we take a more historic look at elderberry use during pregnancy, there are many herbalist books and records of elderberry being an herb of choice during pregnancy:

Our founder has used elderberry during 2 out of 3 pregnancies. We have MANY expecting customers who also use our elderberry during pregnancy with no issue. Our syrups are made with simple, organic ingredients. If you notice an adverse reaction or side effect (though rare), please contact your health care provider.

If you’re still not sure about using elderberry during pregnancy, here are some other interventions to research:

  • Symptom management (letting the virus run it’s course, but easing symptoms with OTC medications)
  • Prescription antiviral medications (read through this link with a grain of salt- the “trials” that are referenced are not large, long-term trials)
  • Other herbal supplements
benefits of using elderberry during pregnancy

Potential Benefits of Elderberry in Pregnancy

So why might you want to incorporate some elderberry into your diet during pregnancy? Some of the potential benefits include:

  1. Immune Support: Elderberry is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and anthocyanins that may help support the immune system. This can be beneficial during pregnancy when a pregnant person's immune defenses are lowered, making her more susceptible to illnesses like colds and flu.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The flavonoids in elderberry have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which could potentially help relieve pregnancy-related inflammation and swelling.
  3. Easing Cold/Flu Symptoms: If a pregnant woman does contract a respiratory virus, elderberry's antiviral properties may help ease symptoms like coughing, sore throat, fever and nasal congestion.
  4. Antioxidant Protection: Elderberry is packed with antioxidants that help fight free radicals and oxidative stress, which is important for the mother and developing baby.
  5. Nutrient Support: Elderberries contain beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, potassium and fiber that can help support a healthy pregnancy.
  6. Labor Preparation: Some believe the nutrients and antioxidants in elderberry may theoretically help prepare and strengthen the body for the demands of labor and delivery, though this is not proven.
  7. Postpartum Recovery: The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of elderberry may aid in recovery after childbirth by reducing inflammation and boosting healing.

However, it's important to consume elderberry only in normal amounts during pregnancy and avoid high supplement doses unless approved by your doctor due to lack of safety data.

Precautions and Possible Risks

While elderberry is generally regarded as safe in moderate amounts, high doses from  may carry risks during pregnancy that require further study, such as:

  • Potential to Induce Contractions - Some sources theorize very high elderberry intake could potentially stimulate uterine contractions, though evidence is lacking.
  • Allergic Reactions - Pregnant women should avoid elderberry if they have a known allergy or sensitivity to the berries.
  • Drug Interactions - Elderberry may interact with certain medications like chemotherapy drugs, diuretics, or immunosuppressants.

As with any herbal product during pregnancy, it is always best to consult your doctor, midwife, or pharmacist before using elderberry, especially in supplement form. They can evaluate your specific situation and provide personalized guidance.

In normal amounts and with appropriate precautions, the antioxidants and nutrients in elderberry may provide valuable immune and health support for you and your growing baby during pregnancy. Moderation is key to safely obtaining any potential benefits.

Facts and Questions

Check out our Pregnancy and Breastfeeding FAQ's for more information, or continue reading for more resources.

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