The Benefits Of Elderberry For Weight Loss

What are elderberries?

Elderberries are small, dark purple fruits which have been used for medicinal properties.1 The fruit is extracted from the elderberry plant (Sambucus spp.), a shrub native to Europe (except for certain parts of Scandinavia and Russia) and in the Atlas Mountains of North Africa (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia). It has been introduced to many other parts of the world, in Northern Europe, New Zealand, North America and the southern part of Australia, for example. The genus Sambucus consists of 5-30 species, with Sambucus nigra L. being the most common species. The fruits of this plant are commonly referred to as elderberries, European elderberries, black elder, etc., while the flower is commonly called elderflower. The black fruit is edible and is used in a variety of food products, including elderberry tea, elderberry gummies, and wines. Elderberry extracts are commonly consumed as a supplement in the form of syrups, capsules, or teas. They can also be used as an ingredient in various culinary dishes and drinks.

The benefits of elderberries for weight loss

There is limited research on the use of elderberries for weight loss. Some preliminary studies suggest that black elderberry extracts have properties that can help with weight management.2

Anthocyanin, one of the key ingredients found in elderberries, is documented in the improvement of glucose metabolism.1

  • It is also effective in the reduction of advanced glycation end products that are associated with dysfunctional metabolism in obesity2,3
  • Elderberry works effectively to reduce blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.4
  • One study published in Phytotherapy Research showed that the average weight, blood pressure, physical and emotional health, and quality of life all got much better after a daily diet containing elderberry juice7
  • It is beneficial in cases of hypertension and helps to reduce both systolic and diastolic hypertension4

Other health benefits of elderberry

Elderberry extracts have also been documented for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. One study identified that cells pre-treated with elderberry extract were resilient to oxidative stress and had better cell viability. Some other anti-ageing effects included preservation of cell shape, prevention against DNA damage and mitochondrial dysregulation.8 Another notable experiment showed the anti-cancer effects of elderberries with protective effects on healthy cells and inducing cell death in cancer cells.9

Elderberry is also found to be protective against bone loss in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.10

Additionally, one of the quantitative data corroborations in 2019 showed a significant mean effect size for the therapeutic effects of elderberry supplementation in improving upper respiratory symptoms. These findings may provide an alternative to the inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat upper respiratory symptoms caused by viral infections.11 Apart from documented antiviral effects in respiratory infections and the use of elderberry as an antiviral treatment in many traditional medicine systems12, elderberry extracts also contain compounds known for high antibacterial activity.13

Evidence also suggests that elderberry extracts may have a significant role in reducing gum infections as a result of bacterial overgrowth.14

Another health benefit of Elderberry extracts is that they can also produce laxative effects, which may be beneficial for people suffering from constipation.15

Nutritional facts

  • Elderberries of the Sambucus canadensis L. and S. nigra l. varieties are recognised as safe for human consumption by the FDA
  • Elderberries are nutrient-rich and contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins17
  • They are a good source of fibre, with 100 grams providing about 7 grams18
  • They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, with 100 grams providing about 36 milligrams
  • Important minerals, including iron, potassium, and magnesium, are also found in elderberries.

Nutritional profile of raw elderberries 

Nutrition Factsper 100 grams
Total lipid (fat)0.5g
Total dietary fibre7g
Potassium, K280mg
Phosphorus, P39mg
Calcium, Ca38mg
Sodium, Na6mg
Magnesium, Mg5mg
Iron, Fe1.6mg
Zinc, Zn0.11mg
Copper, Cu0.061mg
Selenium, Se0.6µg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid36mg
Pantothenic acid0.14mg
Vitamin B-60.23mg
Folate, total6µg
Folic acid0µg
Folate, food6µg
Folate, DFE6µg
Vitamin B-120µg
Vitamin A, RAE30µg
Vitamin A, IU600IU

Elderberries have an excellent fatty acid profile, including essential fatty acids.

Fatty Acidsper 100 grams
Fatty acids, total trans0g
Fatty acids, total saturated0.023g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0.08g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0.247g
Omega-3 fatty acids
Stearidonic acid (PUFA 18:4)0g
EPA (PUFA 20:5)0g
DPA (PUFA 22:5)0g
DHA (PUFA 22:6)0g
Omega-6 fatty acids
Linoleic acid (PUFA 18:2)0.162g
Linolenic acid (PUFA 18:3)0.085g
Arachidonic acid (PUFA 20:4)0g
Omega-7 fatty acids
Palmitoleic acid (MUFA 16:1)0g
Vaccenic acid (MUFA 18:1)0.08g
Omega-9 fatty acids
Gondoic acid (MUFA 20:1)0g
Erucic acid (MUFA 22:1)0g

Elderberries are low in proteins, but the amino acid profile is impressive and includes all the essential amino acids.

Amino Acidsper 100 grams
Aspartic acid0.058g
Glutamic acid0.096g
Alcohol, ethyl0g

Elderberries contain other bioactive compounds, including anthocyanins, flavonoids and polyphenols, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting effects. Namely, phenolic acids (gallic acid, gentisic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, caffeic acid, vanillic acid, coumaric acid and ferulic acid), flavonols (quercetin-3-rutinoside (rutin), quercetin, kaempferol, syringe and isorhamnetin) and anthocyanin (malvidin). These compounds confer the above-noted antidiabetic, antiviral, antidepressant, antitumor, and antioxidant potential.17

Side effects and other concerns

  • Red varieties of elderberry, fresh leaves, young buds and roots are poisonous
  • Consuming large amounts of elderberries or other berries can lead to upset stomach, diarrhoea, and other digestive issues due to laxative properties
  • Allergic reactions to elderberries have been documented in some people, and symptoms include itching, hives, and difficulty breathing 19
  • Elderberries contain compounds that can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and immunosuppressants
  • There is also limited research on the safety of consuming elderberries during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so it is best to avoid them altogether or consume them in moderation

If you are at all unsure as to whether you should consume elderberry products, seek the advice of a healthcare professional such as a doctor or nutritionist.


The elderberry is an excellent medicinal herb. It is a nutrient-rich berry which contains many vitamins and minerals. Elderberries can be beneficial for weight loss due to their effects on metabolic regulation. Significant levels of bioactive compounds found in elderberries contribute to their therapeutic properties, which have been documented over many years. 

Despite these extraordinary benefits, caution should be exercised before consuming large quantities of elderberries. Especially if someone is being treated with prescribed medication, has a high tendency for allergic reactions, or in cases of breastfeeding and pregnancy.


  1. Esposito D, Damsud T, Wilson M, Grace MH, Strauch R, Li X, et al. Black Currant Anthocyanins Attenuate Weight Gain and Improve Glucose Metabolism in Diet-Induced Obese Mice with Intact, but Not Disrupted, Gut Microbiome. J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Jul 15;63(27):6172–80. Available from:
  2. Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Piperi C, Kalofoutis A, Creatsas G. Increased levels of serum advanced glycation end-products in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2005 Jan;62(1):37–43. Available from:
  3. Topka P, Poliński S, Sawicki T, Szydłowska-Czerniak A, Tańska M. Effect of Enriching Gingerbread Cookies with Elder (Sambucus nigra L.) Products on Their Phenolic Composition, Antioxidant and Anti-Glycation Properties, and Sensory Acceptance. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jan 12;24(2). Available from:
  4. Ciocoiu M, Badescu M, Badulescu O, Badescu L. The beneficial effects on blood pressure, dyslipidemia and oxidative stress of Sambucus nigra extract associated with renin inhibitors. Pharm Biol. 2016 Dec;54(12):3063–7. Available from:
  5. Murkovic M, Abuja PM, Bergmann AR, Zirngast A, Adam U, Winklhofer-Roob BM, et al. Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Feb;58(2):244–9. Available from:
  6. Borén J, Chapman MJ, Krauss RM, Packard CJ, Bentzon JF, Binder CJ, et al. Low-density lipoproteins cause atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease: pathophysiological, genetic, and therapeutic insights: a consensus statement from the European Atherosclerosis Society Consensus Panel. Eur Heart J. 2020 Jun 21;41(24):2313–30. Available from:
  7. Chrubasik C, Maier T, Dawid C, Torda T, Schieber A, Hofmann T, et al. An observational study and quantification of the actives in a supplement with Sambucus nigra and Asparagus officinalis used for weight reduction. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):913–8. Available from:
  8. Ferreira SS, Martins-Gomes C, Nunes FM, Silva AM. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) extracts promote anti-inflammatory and cellular antioxidant activity. Food Chem X. 2022 Oct 30;15:100437. Available from:
  9. Filip GA, Florea A, Olteanu D, Clichici S, David L, Moldovan B, et al. Biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using Sambucus nigra L. fruit extract for targeting cell death in oral dysplastic cells. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2021 Apr;123:111974. Available from:
  10. Shen YW, Cheng YA, Li Y, Li Z, Yang BY, Li X. Sambucus williamsii Hance maintains bone homeostasis in hyperglycemia-induced osteopenia by reversing oxidative stress via cGMP/PKG signal transduction. Phytomedicine. 2023 Feb;110:154607. Available from:
  11. Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb 1;42:361–5. Available from:
  12. Wieland LS, Piechotta V, Feinberg T, Ludeman E, Hutton B, Kanji S, et al. Elderberry for prevention and treatment of viral respiratory illnesses: a systematic review. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021 Apr 7;21(1):112. Available from:
  13. Przybylska-Balcerek A, Szablewski T, Szwajkowska-Michałek L, Świerk D, Cegielska-Radziejewska R, Krejpcio Z, et al. Sambucus Nigra Extracts-Natural Antioxidants and Antimicrobial Compounds. Molecules. 2021 May 14;26(10). Available from:
  14. Samuels N, Saffer A, Wexler ID, Oberbaum M. Localized reduction of gingival inflammation using site-specific therapy with a topical gingival patch. J Clin Dent. 2012;23(2):64–7. Available from:
  15. Picon PD, Picon R V, Costa AF, Sander GB, Amaral KM, Aboy AL, et al. A randomized clinical trial of a phytotherapic compound containing Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Sambucus nigra, and Cassia augustifolia for chronic constipation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Apr 30;10:17. Available from:
  16. eCFR :: 21 CFR Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized as Safe [Internet]. [cited 2023 Feb 9]. Available from:
  17. Młynarczyk K, Walkowiak-Tomczak D, Łysiak GP. Bioactive properties of Sambucus nigra L. as a functional ingredient for food and pharmaceutical industry. J Funct Foods. 2018 Jan;40:377–90. Available from:
  18. Hu Y, Ni M, Wen Q, Cai J, Zhang B, Zhao S, et al. Increased meat consumption is associated with reduced tuberculosis treatment failure rate: A cohort study. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2021;30(1):122–9. Available from:
  19. Förster-Waldl E, Marchetti M, Schöll I, Focke M, Radauer C, Kinaciyan T, et al. Type I allergy to elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is elicited by a 33.2 kDa allergen with significant homology to ribosomal inactivating proteins. Clin Exp Allergy. 2003 Dec;33(12):1703–10. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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