Can you eat elderberry syrup while pregnant?

Elderberry syrup is a popular herbal remedy used to treat cold and flu symptoms. Some pregnant women wonder if it’s safe to take elderberry syrup during pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know.

Is Elderberry Syrup Safe During Pregnancy?

There is no definitive evidence that elderberry syrup is unsafe during pregnancy. Elderberry syrup is made from the berries of the elderberry bush. These berries contain compounds that may help fight infections. As a result, elderberry syrup is commonly used to treat cold and flu symptoms.

A few small studies have looked at the safety of elderberry during pregnancy but have not found any major concerns. However, larger, more rigorous studies are still needed.

With that said, many healthcare providers consider elderberry syrup to be safe when used in moderation during pregnancy. Talk to your prenatal care provider before taking it.

Potential Benefits of Elderberry Syrup During Pregnancy

Here are some of the potential benefits of taking elderberry syrup while pregnant:

  • May help treat cold and flu symptoms like stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, and congestion
  • Contains antioxidants that support the immune system
  • Thought to have anti-inflammatory effects

Using elderberry to help treat a cold or flu while pregnant may be safer than taking more conventional medications, many of which are not recommended during pregnancy.

Always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement like elderberry syrup while pregnant.

Possible Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Elderberry syrup is likely safe for most women to take during pregnancy. However, there are a few potential side effects and safety issues to be aware of:

  • May interact with certain medications, including birth control pills, diuretics, diuretics and immune suppressants
  • Can cause digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea is some people
  • High doses may cause dehydration or electrolyte imbalance
  • Fresh or raw elderberries contain a compound that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Elderberry appears to be safe during later pregnancy but there is limited data on safety during the first trimester

To be on the safe side, pregnant women should take elderberry syrup in moderation and avoid consuming raw or unripe elderberries. Only purchase high-quality, reputable brands of elderberry syrup as well.

Recommended Dosage During Pregnancy

There is no standard recommended dosage for elderberry syrup during pregnancy. However, most doctors suggest limiting intake to no more than 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) per day.

Always follow the dosage instructions on the product you purchase. And be sure to talk to your doctor about how much is appropriate for you to take based on your medical history.

How to Take Elderberry Syrup While Pregnant

Elderberry syrup can be taken by the spoonful directly from the bottle. It has a sweet, tart flavor that many people find quite pleasant.

Some other ways you can take elderberry syrup while pregnant include:

  • Mixed into water, juice, or sparkling water
  • Poured over yogurt, oatmeal, or pancakes
  • Mixed into a smoothie
  • Stirred into tea

For maximum benefits, take elderberry syrup at the first sign of a cold or flu. It works best when taken regularly for 3-5 days at the onset of an illness.

You can continue taking it daily until symptoms resolve. Always drink plenty of water when taking elderberry syrup.

Elderberry Syrup vs. Elderberry Tea

Both elderberry syrup and elderberry tea are made from elderberries. The main difference is:

  • Elderberry syrup – Made by boiling elderberries and often combined with honey. Has a thick, syrupy consistency.
  • Elderberry tea – Made by steeping dried elderberries in hot water. Has a thinner, more liquid consistency.

In general, elderberry syrup may be more effective than tea, especially for immune support. The syrup contains higher levels of the active ingredients in elderberries.

However, both elderberry syrup and tea are likely safe options during pregnancy when consumed in moderation.

Other Tips for Taking Elderberry Syrup When Pregnant

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when taking elderberry syrup during pregnancy:

  • Look for organic, high-quality brands without added sugars or preservatives
  • Avoid raw or unripe elderberries
  • Stay hydrated and drink extra fluids
  • Talk to your doctor, especially if you have any medical conditions
  • Stop use right away if you experience any side effects
  • Avoid taking elderberry syrup every day for months at a time

When to Avoid Elderberry Syrup

There are a few situations when it’s best for pregnant women to avoid taking elderberry syrup:

  • If you’re allergic to elderberries
  • If you have an autoimmune disorder – elderberry may stimulate the immune system
  • If you take medications that interact with elderberry like birth control pills, diuretics, or sedatives
  • If you take immune suppressing medications
  • If you have digestion issues that are worsened by elderberry

Talk to your healthcare provider before taking elderberry syrup if you have any medical conditions or take any medications.

Signs of an Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions to elderberry syrup are possible but uncommon. Seek medical help right away if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction like:

  • Hives, itching, or rash
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Abdominal pain or vomiting

Alternative Remedies for Colds/Flu While Pregnant

If you want to avoid taking elderberry syrup during pregnancy, some other natural remedies to help treat colds and flu include:

  • Hot soups and broths
  • Lemon and honey
  • Ginger tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Saltwater gargles
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Chicken soup
  • Neti pot nasal rinses
  • Oregano essential oil
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin C

Be sure to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated as well. Check with your doctor before taking any new supplements.

The Bottom Line

Current research suggests that it’s likely safe for most women to take elderberry syrup in moderation during pregnancy. However, data on its safety is still limited.

Potential benefits include relief of cold/flu symptoms. Look for a high-quality brand and take a low to moderate dosage.

Speak with your healthcare provider first, especially if you have any medical conditions or take medications. And be on the lookout for any side effects.

While elderberry syrup may be helpful for some pregnant women, it should be used cautiously under medical supervision. Always consult your doctor with any questions.

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