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Elderberry Extract May Reduce Severity of Illness Following Air Travel

The close proximity of passengers on airplanes increases the risk of illness transmission. A recent study suggests that taking an elderberry extract supplement before and after air travel may reduce the duration and symptoms of the common cold.


Participants in the study included 312 economy class passengers who were traveling from Australia to a location overseas. They were given either a placebo or 600 mg of elderberry supplement daily for 10 days before the flight until two days before the flight and then 900 mg per day from one day before the flight to four days after the flight.


At the conclusion of the study, the placebo group had more colds than the elderberry group, but the researchers noted that the difference was not statistically significant — there were 17 episodes in the placebo group and 12 in the elderberry group.


However, they did note a statistically significant difference between the two groups for duration and severity of cold symptoms. The placebo group had cold symptoms for a collective 117 days, while the elderberry group had symptoms for 57 days. Additionally, the average symptom score was 583 in the placebo group and 247 in the elderberry group.


Researchers from Griffith University in Australia led the study. It was published on March 24, 2016, in the journal Nutrients.


Elderberry should not be consumed unless cooked, and is best consumed as an extract. Previous studies suggest that it may help lower cholesterol, improve vision, and improve heart health.

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