Elderberry extract/sambucol while pregnant? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 08-11-2009, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been seeing a lot of conflicting info on that one. I have it in my fridge and did take it before (was not pregnant then). It helped me get back on my feet very fast. I love this stuff!
But now in this flu season can I use it? I am 7 weeks now and will be pregnant all the way through the flu season.
Does anyone know anything about it and pregnancy? Any good sources? My nutritional book says "don't use" without any explanation. But that book is old.
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#2 of 11 Old 08-11-2009, 04:36 PM
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I'm interested too. Just ordered a bunch of elderberry drops thinking it would be fine.
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#3 of 11 Old 08-11-2009, 04:41 PM
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I made my own elderberry syrup (elderberries, water, honey) and used it during pregnancy.

Energetics of Western Herbs by Peter Holmes has a list of herbs that are contraindicated during pregnancy (do not use) and a list of herbs to be used with caution during pregnancy. Elder does not appear on either list (flower, berry, or bark).

Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal, where I got the recipe for the syrup does not have a caution about pregnancy.

There are various cautions out there about eating the raw fruit, especially if it is still red and has not yet turned black (whether you are pregnant or not). However, that would not apply to an herbal preparation because it would not be raw fruit.

I hope that helps.
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#4 of 11 Old 08-13-2009, 02:15 PM
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Elderberry is safe for both pregnancy and during breast feeding. The biggest concern is cyanide poisoning. I know this sounds like a huge risk, but it much smaller than you think. The berries contain anthocyanins and the leaves contain cyanogenic glycosides. The berries are most problematic when not dried properly or when unripe, which is why it is important to get them from a reputable source. Mountain Rose herbs is always a good choice. Signs of cyanide poisoning are diarrhea and vomiting.

I personally drank at least 1/2 qt per day for about a week during my 2nd and 3rd trimester with my first pregnancy. I had a few annoying infections that I was not comfortable taking anything but Sambucus nigra. If I had gone to the MD, I would have surely been given antibiotics. The elder syrup worked wonders for me and not once did I have even a hint of cyanide poisoning.

The best way to use it is going to be buy dried berries and make a syrup. Take 1 oz of berries to 1 qt of water and simmer on the stove. Reduce the mixture to half of its original volume and strain off the berries. The liquid is your syrup and you can store in the fridge for about 1 week.

My sources are mostly books so here are two of the titles I used...
Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, by Susun Weed
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, by Andrew Chevallier

Hope this helps ease some of your concerns!
Blessings in health!
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#5 of 11 Old 10-23-2009, 09:28 AM
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I would advise contacting the company that puts out your elderberry extract, and/or speaking with you OB. I also have a naturopath that I consult with on such things, since my OB sometimes may not know about some of these things. I would probably feel safer taking elderberry extract than I would taking some of the Sudafed that they consider to be safe. I was fortunate enough with my last pregnancy to not be sick much at all, so I just avoided taking anything, but I would think elderberry would probably be safe. You can also check with kellymom.
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#6 of 11 Old 10-23-2009, 10:19 AM
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I asked my midwife last week about elderberry and she checked with her midwife/herbalist friend who told her it was safe during pregnancy.

DD 2/28/10
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#7 of 11 Old 10-23-2009, 10:53 AM
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Good to know! I've been taking it under the assumption it was safe after my dr told me that I shouldn't take echinacea while pg. Whew!
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#8 of 11 Old 12-18-2009, 12:28 AM
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is elder flower safe while pregnant?

My midwife said echinacea is safe while pregnant
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#9 of 11 Old 12-18-2009, 12:44 AM
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It's fine. Absolutely fine and a great source of vitamin C.

The only way you're going to get cyanide poisoning from elderberries or elderflowers is if you do not cook them. Additionally, there is a lot more cyanide in the stems (we're talking exponential amounts more) in comparison with the berries or flowers - so naturally, you don't EVER process the stems. Get those suckers OFF the stems before boiling!

I make an elderberry syrup with elderberries and sugar. I boil it down nicely, and get a lovely, thick, dark syrup that will keep in the refrigerator for a year or more. Additionally I make elderberry jelly. No hint of cyanide in either

I'd be happy to share the recipes for both, if you'd like! :

Mama to Josie , lost 10/10/08 at 37.4 weeks .and my rainbow baby, Isobella Mai ...born 1/12/2010!Pregnant with Prairie Baby, AKA #3. Due October 17th, 2015.
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#10 of 11 Old 12-18-2009, 12:41 PM
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my midwife says it's a-ok while pregnant. i'm not taking it daily, but if i will be flying or in another germ-infested situation, i start taking it about a week before. the brand i use is sambucol. you can buy it on amazon from a company called swanson vitamins or swanson health products. they have super cheap shipping, 95 cents i think.....

married to DH for 5 yrs, ds born at home 6/26/10
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#11 of 11 Old 12-18-2009, 06:07 PM
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Hmmm...thanks for posting this. I just purchased a bag of elderberries a few weeks ago, but have held off making a syrup because I wasn't sure of it's safety, and haven't had much chance to look around yet. I'm looking forward to making the syrup now. So far, noone in my family has had any sign of illness, but with baby arriving at peak flu season, I would really like to keep all diseases at baby!

Mama to Butterfly, B(ee), Bug, and Laniecakes

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