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Elderberry May Reduce Severity of Illness in Air Travelers

During air travel, passengers are sitting in a confined space for an extended period of time, which increases the risk of transmission of airborne infections. A recent study suggests that taking elderberry extract may reduce the severity of colds for air travelers.


Participants in the study included 312 air travelers who were traveling between Australia and various destinations. Half of the group was given two to three 300 mg elderberry supplements while the other have received a placebo. All of the participants were flying for a minimum of seven hours in economy and had layovers of no longer than 12 hours. The researchers used the Jackson score in conjunction with surveys to measure cold episodes, duration, and symptoms.


The elderberry group had reduced duration and less severe cold symptoms. However, the elderberry extract had no effect on the rate of cold occurrence. The researchers believe these results are due to the extremely high antioxidant content of elderberries.


Researchers from Griffith University conducted the study. It was presented at the 21st Annual International Integrative Medicine Conference in Melbourne that took place the week of July 17, 2015. The authors will be submitting it to the Integrative Medicine journal.


Elderberry has such a high antioxidant count that it can’t be eaten as a whole fruit and instead needs to be consumed only as an extract. Previous studies suggest that it may help lower cholesterol, improve vision, and improve heart health.

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