With a long tradition of medicinal use, elderberry has become one of the most popular supplements for enhancing immunity. In recent years, studies have found that it is an effective antiviral treatment for colds and flu, reducing symptoms and shortening the time it takes to recover. Here’s a look at some compelling studies:

Cold Prevention on Long Flights: One study compared the effects of a standardized elderberry extract and a placebo on colds among 312 economy-class passengers on flights from Australia that lasted at least 7 hours. Among those who took elderberry starting 10 days before a flight, 12 people caught colds, compared to 17 who took a placebo. Where colds did occur, symptoms lasted an average of two fewer days in the elderberry group.

Faster recovery: An analysis of other studies, which included a total of 180 people, found that elderberry significantly reduced the duration and intensity of upper respiratory infections. When the research was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, the authors wrote, “These findings present an alternative to antibiotic misuse for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections, and a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza.”