Sambucas nigra, Sambucus canadensis
Part of the plant used: berry and flower
This shrub, commonly found in Europe (common elder) and North America (American elder), produces berries that are typically used to make wine and pies. It has been used on both continents as a remedy against colds and excess mucous for a very long time.
Elderberry extract is used in syrups and juices while elder flowers are used as infusions, extracts or tinctures.
According to the different references, there is a great variability in the dosage. It makes it difficult to do recommendations and propose usual doses.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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