Is Elderberry Safe for Pregnancy and Infants?

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Is Elderberry Safe for Pregnancy and Infants? Let’s compare to leading “safe drugs” like Tamiflu or Tylenol.

Many doctors may recommend mothers not to take these herbs even though it is not a scientifically validated recommendation. Yet if one reads the scientific literature on this subject such as we discuss in this video, you will find that they recommend “against” elderberry and other herbs like echinacea, based on the lack of controlled trials placing mothers-to-be in 2 groups, one group taking the herb and one group taking a placebo.

So while the herbs have not been “proven safe,” we can easily compare the safety of like these herbs with that the medical community says “is safe” for use while pregnant. For that, let’s compare one of the most widely used drugs: Tylenol, and since we are discussing herbs that help promote and enhance the immune system against things like the flu. We will compare the evidence of safety for the drug Tamiflu–the results of the comparison may be upsetting.

While the medical community claims Tylenol to be “safe,” the evidence shows significant harm can come to your unborn child; Tylenol can cause infertility/sterility in males; Tylenol causes undescended testicles in males and causes lower sperm counts and testosterone. Tylenol during pregnancy has even been shown to significantly increase your baby boys risk of testicular cancer! So to say, “don’t take” elderberry, but say, “Tylenol is safe” is quite ironic.

So there may not be the type of evidence like a double-blind placebo-controlled trial on elderberry to say it is safe for pregnancy, but we do know it’s safe enough to pour over our pancakes as a syrup or drink as a wine. We have to use some common sense here!

Here’s another way to look at it: Would you rather take something like elderberry to help you fight the flu–an herb/berry that is safe enough to consume as a food with proven benefits against influenza infection (just because the studies in pregnancy haven’t been done)–or take something like Tylenol that has been proven harmful by the research and has no proven benefit as well as evidence of harm while suffering from the flu?

So is elderberry safe for pregnant and nursing mothers? Well, we can’t say it’s “proven safe” by research, but we can say that it is safe enough to consume as a food like your maple syrup or a wine. Though, to say that it is unsafe is false as well.

Ultimately, I hope this comparison brings to light the idiocracy of some medical recommendations and may assist mothers in making an informed decision on the use of herbs or drugs.

As always, it is through knowledge and better understanding that we can decide the path we individually choose to take when it comes to our own health or the health of our children.

One last thing I wanted to share with you. Another question I get frequently is about babies and fevers. In this video called The False Fear of Fever you can see how having a fever, is a good sign and not something to fear!

Call the office today at 931-591-2010 or click here to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dale

Resources / References:

Echinacea and elderberry-should they be used against upper respiratory tract infections during pregnancy?

Acetaminophen in pregnancy may lower testosterone in unborn boys

Tamiflu: the battle for secret drug data

Safety of oseltamivir in pregnancy: a review of preclinical and clinical data.


Oseltamivir for influenza in adults and children: systematic review of clinical study reports and summary of regulatory comments

Neuraminidase inhibitors during pregnancy and risk of adverse neonatal outcomes and congenital malformations: population based European register study

Oseltamivir in pregnancy and birth outcomes

Epidemiology of acute respiratory infections in children – preliminary results of a cohort in a rural north Indian community.

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