Can I Give my Toddler Elderberry Syrup?

by Patti Croft September 28, 2021

What Is Elderberry Syrup?

Elderberry syrup gets made from the European elder tree. The dried elderberries get used to make medicine, which can come in the form of syrups, gummies, or tablets.

Recently many people have started using elderberry syrup for viruses, especially during flu season. Black elderberry is a shiny, dark berry. These come from the sambucus nigra shrub. Sambucol is one of the more popular elderberry products on the market today. During the flu season, they can get hard to find, because more people are looking for natural ways to help the immune system.

Elderberry syrup is thought to have antiviral properties. That makes it a good choice for the common cold and flu symptoms. Let's look at the benefits of elderberry and if it's safe for toddlers to consume.

Benefits of Elderberry

In addition to fighting the common cold and the flu virus, many people get elderberry products for other wellness benefits. Black elderberry products contain plant substances called sterols. Studies have shown that these can stop your body from absorbing cholesterol. When you include black elderberry in a healthy diet, you can lower your bad cholesterol by as much as 15%!

Black elderberry also contains the antioxidant flavonoid. When consumed regularly, they can help lower the risk of heart disease.

Studies show that these berries can protect against cancer. The antioxidant protects the cells in your body from free radical damage.

Black elderberries have another important antioxidant called polyphenols. When including elderberry supplements in their daily routine, many diabetics report better controlled glucose levels.

By far, immune support is the most popular reason people use these natural remedies. When taken during flu season, some people believe elderberry supplements assist with wellness. These berries contain anthocyanins, which are known as nutraceuticals. They inhibit disease and help with many immune issues.

Elderberry for Your Little One

Every parent knows it can be tough to get your kids to eat their veggies. Many of them would make a diet of chicken nuggets everyday. We all know how important diet can be for wellness. Your children need vitamins to help them thrive.

Many drinks and foods are loaded with artificial sweeteners and ingredients the FDA doesn't even recognize! If you're exhausted with frequent trips to the pediatrician because of your little one getting sick constantly, you may want to try natural remedies.

Many health care providers get bombarded during flu season. It can take days and sometimes over a week simply to get an appointment. A natural approach could reduce the number of trips you make to the doctor.

If you've want to try this herbal remedy, but are concerned about giving it to children, there are some guidelines you can use. You definitely want to try one that is preservative free that gets made with quality ingredients. You will also want to check in with your pediatrician to make sure herbal supplements won't interact with any medicines or health issues your child may have.

Most elderberry syrup can get taken by children one year old and over. Organic elderberry syrup is always preferable as it is usually lower in sugar. This is important because too much sugar can suppress the immune system.  Since there are multiple brands, make sure you read the directions on the label carefully for proper dosing.

For kids older than one who are used to chewing foods, you may want to opt for elderberry gummies. These may contain added vitamin c which is great for immune support. Typically, gummies are best for children two years old and up.

You can find elderberry lozenges, but since these can present a choking hazard, they are best for older kids. Some have added echinacea for more immune support, so be aware in case you have allergies to that herbal remedy. 

Some parents even give elderberry juice to their kids as a healthy option instead of sugary sodas. That gives them the benefits of elderberry in a tasty drink without all the unhealthy additives.

If you are breastfeeding, you may want to avoid elderberry products. Since the composition of elderberry syrup varies, it is best to refrain from giving it to infants. You also won't know how much your child is getting, so the amount could prove to be toxic.

How to Get Immune System Supplements

If you're a busy parent, you know all too well how hard it can be to balance a healthy lifestyle. Today it has become easier than ever to get products that help the immune system, and you don't have to leave the house to get them.

Many people order vitamins and supplements from amazon or other online stores. You can find nature's way and other popular brands, so getting one you trust shouldn't be a problem. To make ordering more efficient, many online retailers have ways to subscribe for routine shipments. There is usually a cost savings involved with those, also.

If you would rather shop locally, almost every pharmacy and grocery store will have some type of elderberry product. You will want to check the ingredients carefully to make sure it isn't filled with unhealthy preservatives. Look for natural sweeteners to avoid sugar.

If you have the time, you can even try DIY elderberry supplements. There are numerous recipes online and you can get animal shaped trays to make gummies more appealing to your little one. If opting for elderberry syrup, it is recommended that you store it in mason jars to avoid issues with plastic products.

To sweeten these, you can use a natural sugar like honey. Even busy parents have found that using an instant pot to make elderberry syrup saves time, and gives them a way to know it's completely organic and safe for their kids. You can even add in a little lemon juice for extra vitamin c and to prevent mold.

Many functional health care providers offer online assessments. You can get the personalized vitamins you need, without spending a fortune.

The Science Behind the Supplement

Although the research is ongoing, studies have shown some efficacy behind elderberry supplements. Different countries have used these for sinus and cold issues for centuries. Word of mouth is the main reason for the popularity of these herbal remedies, but is there science to support it?

As it turns out, yes there is. The studies are small, but the use of elderberry in patients with the flu has shown to relieve symptoms as much as four days sooner. Rescue inhalers were also needed less with the patients who used elderberry products than with those who did not.

Of the people studied, there were no side effects noted. The dosing provided safe relief from symptoms and reduced the severity of the virus.

In another study, elderberry was given to people suffering from the common cold. Those who did not receive it had longer instances of symptoms. The severity was also worse.

Although the studies are small, they do show that using elderberry syrup or other elderberry products can have wellness benefits. Taken with vitamin c and healthy omegas, it can produce an even more powerful antiviral combination for your little one.

Is It Safe for Kids?

In most cases, taking elderberry syrup can be a safe part of your child's vitamin routine. It is always best to check with your pediatrician to review any issues, but most children have a very positive reaction to elderberry products.

The food and drug administration has not approved the use of elderberry. That is largely because the FDA regulates food and drugs, not supplements. Since elderberry is added to supplements, it doesn't get approved by the FDA.

That does not mean it isn't safe for children to consume. Yet, if your child has autoimmune problems or issues that require different medications, it is crucial to check with your doctor before using any herbal supplements. There can be interactions that can cause problems or lessen the effectiveness of certain medications.

You also want to purchase from a reputable company. A lot of people are trying to have their own businesses today and some have seen a niche in the natural remedy market. Often, you have no idea how those elderberry supplements get made, so you want to use caution when getting them for your child.

Try to avoid products that contain added sugars. Your immune system gets damaged by sugar, so adding in something good won't help if you also give your body something unhealthy.

Possible Side Effects

Elderberry products that are not cooked properly can be toxic to children and adults. When toxic, it can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Some parts of the plant have higher toxic properties. The exact composition can vary, so buying from a reputable seller is critical. Since the chemical makeup might not be exact, it can be harmful to infants, especially those who are breastfeeding.

Elderberry syrup can have a diuretic effect in some children. Make sure you are careful with the dosing so it doesn't cause extra bathroom visits.

The store bought brands are known to be safe. The fewer ingredients the better, because some things like bryonia can be harmful to young children, even in smaller quantities.

Less common side effects include dizziness, weakness, and runny nose. If your child experiences vomiting or severe diarrhea, you should consult your pediatrician.

Part of a Wellness Routine

For most people, the benefits of elderberry far outweigh the risks. These berries have over 50% of our daily vitamin c need. They also have over 10 grams of fiber in one cup. Elderberry contains antioxidants that fight off oxidative stress in the body. They are rich in anthocyanins, which have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

When taken as directed, elderberry supplements can shorten the duration of different viruses like the flu and the common cold. It can also make the symptoms like sore throat and fatigue much less severe. Scientists believe elderberry products work by stimulating our immune systems, which fight off viruses naturally.

When looking for natural remedies, you should know that many products won't cure your child's illness completely. You should still continue with other measures like regular hand washing and maintaining a healthy diet.

No supplement can outperform a bad diet full of unhealthy foods. Yet, with today's busy lifestyles, it is harder than ever to make sure your children get all the nutrients they need from diet alone. Proper supplements can be very beneficial for their wellness and help to keep them healthy, especially during cold and flu seasons!

Although adults may take them for many reasons, people give elderberry supplements to children mainly for viruses. Many parents feel they keep their toddlers much healthier than when they don't take them.

Natural Remedies

Many parents feel antibiotics are overused and sometimes even unnecessary for their kids. When you don't feel traditional prescriptions are the answer for a minor illness, you may want to try a more natural approach.

Traditional medicine definitely has its place when needed. Yet, when antibiotics get overprescribed, your immune system can suffer. After a while, they won't work and your pediatrician will have to find alternatives. These medicines can be harsh and wreak havoc on your toddler's digestive system.

Elderberry products have been used in many forms for years with much success. The antiviral properties help kids feel better and may even help them heal faster.

You can't prevent your toddler from getting sick. As a parent, you can do the things to support their immunities and help them fight off everyday viruses. Vitamins and herbal remedies can be natural tools to maintain a healthy immune system.

If your toddler is suffering from a bad cold or winter flu, you may want to give elderberry syrup a try. Being sick can be miserable for you and your child. As a parent, you want to do the best you can to help them, and natural treatments can be an incredible option. Your little one may start to feel better much sooner and be ready to get back to a healthy, active lifestyle!

References :

Patti Croft
Patti Croft

Patti Croft is a Certified Health Data Analyst with a thirst for all things natural and holistic. Coupled with her MBA, Patti uses her skill set here at NuVision Health Center to dive into the research. Her expertise is in taking complex medical data and delivering it in a way that readers can understand and implement into their lives.