Who should and shouldn't use elderberry syrup? We get asked this question over and over.
First, I want to clarify that while I’ve studied a lot about wellness and elderberries, I am NOT a physician! I have never been to medical school, and I have zero plans to go! I always recommend asking your doctor’s approval. He or she knows your personal and unique medical history, and is the best answer source. I have consulted with numerous specialists and physicians and am going to share their answers, but ultimately, I encourage you to ask YOUR doctor.
I’m pregnant. Can I use Sweet’s Syrup?
Sweet’s Syrup is made with unpasteurized honey, and most physicians do not recommend consuming any unpasteurized foods when pregnant. However, my physician had no problems with it, so I used elderberry syrup regularly during both of my pregnancies. Dr. Aviva Romm, a Yale-trained MD, midwife, and herbalist, who authored several books on optimal health for women and children, recommends elderberry during pregnancy. Please consult with your personal obstetrician or midwife before making this decision.
Is Sweet’s Syrup safe while breast-feeding?
I asked several Lactation Consultants and they all, without hesitation, said yes. However, there are not very many studies on this topic. Before making a personal decision, consult your pediatrician or lactation consultant.
Is Sweet’s Syrup safe for my kids?
Sweet's Syrup has been part of my children's daily routine since they were toddlers. They never let me forget their morning serving! Children under age 1 should NOT consume products containing unpasteurized, raw honey.
Can infants drink elderberry syrup without the raw honey?
Infants do not have completely matured digestive systems and are susceptible to botulism food poisoning. There are lots of elderberry syrups out there, and many are promoted for babies. These use alternative sweeteners like agave syrup, coconut nectar, maple syrup, or Stevia. For a time, Sweet's produced an alternatively-sweetened syrup. However, I chose to stop making it after consulting with an Integrative Pediatrician who sells Sweet's. She said that she wasn’t comfortable recommending an elderberry syrup for infants under 10 months, because their little systems are still sensitive and developing during that time. In addition, there is very little safety data available on elderberry usage in babies. She recommended using a baby syrup (which does not contain raw honey) only for infants who are 10 months and older. I decided it wasn’t worth the liability or potential risk.
I have an auto-immune disease. Is Sweet's okay for me?
The answer to this question varies greatly based on your specific needs. Unpasteurized foods can be risky for some individuals. Please consult your doctor. I have hypothyroidism and Reynaud's, which are both auto-immune conditions. My personal doctor allows me to use Sweet's. However, with more serious auto-immune conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's Disease, physicians differ in their opinions. Some doctors approve, because elderberries are such powerful immune supporters. Other doctors carefully monitor anything added to their patients' diets that might mess with finely-tuned immunosuppressant medications.
In summary, ask your doctor!!