Who should and should not take elderberry syrup? We get asked this over and over. But first off, I want to clarify that while I’ve studied a lot about wellness and elderberries, I am NOT a physician! Never been to medical school, zero plans to. I always recommend asking your doctor’s approval. He or she knows your personal and unique medical history, and would be able to answer. I have consulted with numerous specialists and physicians and am going to share their answers, but ultimately ask YOUR doctor.
I’m pregnant, can I take Sweet’s Syrup?
Sweet’s Syrup is made with unpasteurized honey, and most physicians do not recommend consuming any food that has not been pasteurized when pregnant. My physician had no problems with it and I took it regularly both of my pregnancies. Yale-trained MD, midwife, herbalist, and author of various books on optimal health for women and children, Dr. Aviva Romm (who I adore, follow her - one of my favorite go-to resources on women’s health) recommends elderberry regularly during pregnancy. Here is a great article she wrote: What’s a Pregnant Mom to Do? Flu Vaccine in Pregnancy
Is Sweet’s Syrup safe while breast-feeding?
I asked several Lactation Consultants and they all without hesitation said yes, yes, yes. Best part is it won’t effect your supply and dry you out like cold medicines will. However, there is a lack of studies so here is an informative article about making a personal decision for you: Elderberry and Breastfeeding: Is it safe??
Is Sweet’s Syrup safe for my kids?
If over age one, yes! It has made such a huge difference in my kid’s health and is a favorite part of their daily routine. They are 4 and 6 now and never let me forget their dose!
Under age one I can’t recommend it - even without the honey. Infants do not have completely matured digestive systems and are susceptible to botulism food poisoning. There are lots of elderberry syrups out there being promoted for babies using alternative sweeteners like agave syrup, coconut nectar, maple syrup or stevia. I made one for a short while and consulted with an Integrative Pediatrician (she sells Sweet’s) about ingredients and safety. She said even with the organic coconut nectar she wasn’t comfortable giving it to infants under 10 months, because their little systems are still sensitive and developing so much during that time - plus there is no safety data on it. She recommended the baby syrup for 10 months and older. Being conservative I decided it wasn’t worth the liability or potential risk and stopped making “Elder-baby Syrup.” Plus the FDA told us it was a big no-no.
I have an auto-immune disease - is Sweet’s safe?
Ask your doctor because the answer greatly varies based on your specific condition. I have hypothyroidism as well as Reynauds, which are both auto-immune conditions - is it safe for me? Absolutely. However, with more serious auto-immune conditions like Lupus, RA, Chron’s some physicians say yes, and others will say no. The reasoning is the elderberries are such powerful immune boosters that it could stimulate the immune system. It could also mess with finely tuned immunosuppressant medications. My Integrative Physician’s answer was to go ahead and try it, and to simply stop if it caused any flares or problems. We recently had a customer with an auto-immune condition who’s physician recommended elderberry syrup for part of her treatment.
In summary, ask your doctor!!