SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Fall weather is creeping in and that means flu season is right around the corner.
To fight off the cold and flu, local health experts say one product may be able to help.
Kerie Jones says her cupboards are always stocked with elderberry syrup ahead of the winter months.
In the 3 years she’s been using it, she says it has helped her family’s immune system stay strong.
“Every year we stock up on elderberry so that it keeps the kids immune system up. I think they have a better chance of not getting the flu if their immune system is better,” Jones said.
Tara Whiting, General Manager at Wayne & Mary’s Nutrition Center says the immune boosting supplement has been around for a long time, deriving from a dark purple berry from the elder tree.
Over the last five years she says it’s grown in popularity.
“It is a really potent antiviral. So what that means is it’s anything that antibiotics can’t help, a lot of your common colds, sore throats, ear infections, even some of the flu, it’s really good for that,” Whiting said.
Whiting says the supplement can be taken everyday as a preventative measure in small doses, or in full doses if you do get sick– adding that it’s safe for both kids and adults to use.
Elderberry comes in a variety of forms such as gummies, syrup, and even lozenges.
Whiting says when the colder months arrive, elderberry flies off the shelves– which is why Jones prepares ahead of time.
“It’s been empty before so then you have to go online and order it, and if you do get sick and then you don’t have it in stock it doesn’t do you any good,” Jones said.
Jones also substitute teaches in the Tea Area School District and says she’s kept sicknesses at bay with the help of elderberry syrup.
“It’s huge for me to keep that in my system everyday when this flu season is going around,” Jones said.
Whiting says elderberry supplements don’t compare to any other products– adding that it’s the safest and most effective immune booster on the market.
Elderberry products are considered herbal supplements and are not currently approved by the FDA.
While experts say more research is needed, some small studies show evidence that elderberry can aid in the treatment of colds and flu.
To read more about elderberry and some of the studies performed, click here.