Since the arrival of COVID-19, Sweet's customers have asked questions regarding the helpfulness and potential risks of elderberry syrup. In particular, they wonder about a rare occurrence called cytokine storm.
Each ingredient in Sweet's Syrup has been chosen specifically for properties that can help support a healthy immune system. Elderberry has been used for millennia in herbal and food forms for this very purpose, and multiple studies, including these recent discoveries, confirm the effectiveness of Elderberry against viral activity. A 2001 study involving healthy volunteers taking the elderberry product Sambucol® revealed that one of the ways Elderberry supports healthy immune function is by assisting in cytokine production and regulation. Cytokines are proteins used by the body for communication between immune cells and local tissues. They increase or decrease, as needed, to suit the body's needs.
Lately, some doctors have wondered if Elderberry has the ability to over-stimulate the immune system. In advanced stages of infection (such as septic shock or respiratory failure), there is already damage to body tissue. In response, the body tries desperately to rally, sending as many messages as possible, using cytokines, to activate the immune system. Too many message carriers essentially jam the network, then overflow into tissues, causing additional inflammation and damage. This can lead to a phenomenon called cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome (CRS).
By the time a cytokine storm is underway, patients are most likely already in ICU on lifesaving equipment, under the care of medical professionals. Because CRS was present in many fatalities during the SARS epidemic, there has been speculation that it could surface with COVID-19, a similar virus.
There have been no proven links between CRS and Elderberry or any other herbal supplements. Cytokine storm is quite rare and occurs in the latest stages of infection, when patient care would not involve administering Elderberry.
We at Team Sweet's, along with our families, continue to use Elderberry syrup daily.
Due to the presence of raw honey in Sweet’s Syrup, please do not give it to children under 12 months old. Instead, try Sweet's DIY Kit, which allows you to make your own syrup with a safe alternative sweetener such as agave nectar.
If you are pregnant or nursing, please consult your obstetrician. In addition, because Elderberry stimulates the immune system, using it alongside immunosuppressants or corticosteroids may be discouraged.
Any information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Sweet's Syrup does not claim to prevent, cure, mitigate or treat any disease. As with any alternative therapy, you should consult a doctor you trust about personal medical decisions and your specific needs.
- Tracy Dygert for Sweet's Syrup