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Does sambucus extract help cure the flu?Featured science projectScience project video


This science project was performed to investigate whether Sambucus extract really does help to cure the common flu, as claimed by its manufacturers. Flu patients were given a placebo, vitamin C and Sambucus (elderberry) extracts in order to observe whether they reacted differently to each of these.


Among the participants, those who take the Sambucus extract will recover the fastest from the flu.

Scientific Terms

Common cold, virus, vitamin, antioxidant, sambucus


Common cold and flu cures

Patients who suffer from the common cold and flu normally experience these symptoms: a running nose, a sore throat, frequent sneezing and nose blocks (nasal congestion). Children and adults tend to contract flu between 2 and 10 times a year. The influenza virus spreads when a healthy person comes into contact with a flu patient.

Many people consume vitamin C in order to protect themselves from flu. They also take it to recover from the flu. Vitamin C is a natural vitamin. It is found in most vegetables and fruits, especially citrus fruits such as oranges. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. It is an important supplement as it helps keep our bodies strong and healthy. Vitamin C supplements can be purchased at a pharmacy. However, many researchers remain uncertain of the true extent of the benefits of vitamin C. In addition to helping prevent the flu, can it really aid in the recovery of flu patients?

Sambucus (elderberry) extracts are also used to treat flu. The elderberry is actually a genus of no less than 30 small shrubs in the moschatel family, Adoxaceae. It is commonly found in sub-tropical regions. The leaves and branches of the elderberry plant actually contain a glycoside which if ingested, promote a build-up of toxic levels of cyanide in our bodies. Hence, elderberry teas should not be ingested. The berries however, have been used for generations as a cure for the common flu. However, studies have shown that it is only effective in treating flu and not protecting individuals from it.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
It will take an hour to set up the experiment, and 14 days to conduct it.
Material availability:
The Sambucus extract and Vitamin C can be purchased from a pharmacy
Safety concerns:

Be careful not to exceed the prescribed dosage of Sambucus/Vitamin C. Wash your hands frequent and wear masks to prevent spreading of the influenza virus, when dealing with the participants