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Sambucol FAQs

FAQs

Click the questions to show the answers.

What is the sodium content of the Sambucol range of products?
The products from the Sambucol product range contain only a trace amount of sodium.
What is the difference between Sambucol and other black elderberry products?
Sambucol is the Original Black Elderberry Extract that has been on sale for the past 20 years.
Not all black elderberry extracts are the same. Only Sambucol uses the proprietary elderberry extract that was used in published clinical studies. Other products use a concentrated, standardised elderberry extract that does not have the natural balance of the elderberry extract used in Sambucol. This is a fundamentally different ingredient and so cannot be considered to be equivalent.
Only Sambucol uses the proprietary elderberry extract that was used in published clinical studies
What preservatives does the Sambucol range of products use?
All the Sambucol Products manufactured after July 08 contain potassium sorbate as the preservative.
Do the Sambucol products contain animal derived ingredients?
The majority of the products in the Sambucol range do not contain any ingredients derived from animal origin. These products are therefore suitable for use by vegetarians. The only excpetion to this however is that the Cold & Flu formula does contain dairy derived lactose as an inactive ingredient
Are the Sambucol products dairy free?
Almost all the products in the Sambucol product range are considered dairy free, the only exception is the Cold & Flu product which contains lactose derived from dairy.
Are the Sambucol products gluten free?
Yes the Sambucol range of products are gluten free.
Do the Sambucol products contain any artificial colours?
None of the products from the Sambucol range contain any artificial colours. The product gets its colour from the elderberry extract.
Are the Sambucol products sugar free?
Some of the Sambucol products contain glucose syrup. These are Sambucol Original, Sambucol for Kids and the Immune Formula Syrup. These products are not classed as sugar-free.
The Sambucol Lozenges can be classed as sugar free as they also do not contain any sugar.
Do any of the Sambucol products contain nuts?
None of the Sambucol liquid products contain nuts or any ingredients derived from nuts. The facilities where the Sambucol liquid products are manufactured do not use nuts or nut products during manufacture.
The Sambucol lozenge products also do not contain nuts or any ingredients derived from nuts. The facilities where the Sambucol lozenge products are manufactured do not use nuts or nut products during manufacture.
Are the Sambucol Range of products kosher?
Currently most of the products from the Sambucol range are considered kosher. For the liquid products kosher status has been approved by the Beth Din de Paris and for lozenge products kosher status has been approved and is supervised by the adviser to the Chief Rabbinate of Great Britain.  The homeopathic Cold & Flu Relief products are not kosher.
Are there any special storage conditions for the Sambucol products?
It is recommended to store products from the Sambucol range in a cool and dry place. Storing in the refrigerator is fine.
Are the Sambucol products suitable for use by vegetarians?
The majority of the products in the Sambucol range do not contain any ingredients derived from animal origin. These products are therefore suitable for use by vegetarians. The only excpetion to this however is that the Cold & Flu formula does contain dairy derived lactose as an inactive ingredient.
Can the additive Sodium Benzoate causes behaviour problems or hyperactivity in children?
There is only limited data looking at the effects of food additives, including sodium benzoate, on children’s behaviour. The results of a recent study (McCann et al) on the effect of sodium benzoate in combination with mixtures of other food additives showed inconsistent and inconclusive results.
PharmaCare (Europe) Ltd has not received any data to suggest that Sambucol products have had an adverse effect on children’s behaviour.
Follow the recommended dosage on the product packaging.
What are the traditional uses of elderberry?
Details of the uses of elderberry have been recorded since ancient times, as far back as the writings of Hippocrates, Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder. The berries have long been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials and for adding flavour and colour to other wines.

More recently, elderberry has been used as dietary supplements and used in natural health products containing extracts of the berries.
How does Sambucol work?
Studies have shown that elderberries are unusually rich in the phytochemicals known as flavonoids and among all fruits, elderberries are the most concentrated source of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants to boost the immune system and protect the body’s cells from harm.
These anthocyanins are found in the purple pigment of black elderberries. Research has shown that the anthocyanins in black elderberry can boost the production of cytokines, the proteins that act as messengers within the immune system, and thereby serve to enhance the body’s immune response.
Sambucol products contain extracts of black elderberry. Therefore, Sambucol is a rich source of anthocyanins which have been shown to help stimulate the body’s immune system.
What clinical evidence is available to support Sambucol?
Sambucus nigra or the black elderberry is a plant native to Europe, Northern Africa and parts of Asia. The flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine as well as the berries being used to make wines and cordials. (1)
The black elderberry, due to the dark pigmentation of its fruit, contains high concentrations of the flavonoid group of antioxidants called anthocyanins. It is these natural antioxidants that give the elderberry its purple pigment. This means that the fruit of the black elderberry have powerful antioxidant capabilities. Studies looking at the antioxidant activity of many types of fruits, including the black elderberry have shown that the total antioxidative capacity of the elderberry was higher than that of the blackcurrant, gooseberry, cranberry, blueberry and redcurrant
Due to the amount of stress that modern society places on our bodies, it may be beneficial to take an antioxidant supplement to help boost the Immune System, particularly at times such as when suffering from a cold or the flu virus.
Can the Sambucol products be used during breastfeeding?
Due to a lack of clinical data available on the use of Sambucol during breast feeding, it is advisable to avoid taking the product at this time.
Consumers are advised to consult their primary care provider before starting to take any new supplement or medication during breastfeeding
Should I take Sambucol before or after meals?
There is no evidence to suggest whether Sambucol should be taken before or after food. Given that Sambucol is extracted from the berries of the black elder, some people may find it preferable to take after food.
Are there any possible interactions between Sambucol and other substances?
No interactions between black elderberry and other medications were identified from the published worldwide literature. As with all medical conditions, the patient should check with a healthcare professional before using any other supplements or medications.
Can the Sambucol products be used during pregnancy?
Due to a lack of clinical data available on the use of Sambucol during pregnancy, it is advisable to avoid taking the product at this time.
Consumers are advised to consult their GP before starting to take any new supplement or medication during pregnancy.
Can Sambucol products be used in children?
All the Sambucol products can be used in children. Please consult the dosage instructions on the individual Sambucol product packs before use to ensure the correct dose is given for the child’s age.
Can Sambucol be used in the elderly?
No special dosage requirements are required for use by the elderly.
Follow the recommended dosage on the product packaging.
Can Sambucol be used in asthmatics?
After a thorough search of published literature, no evidence has been found and no clinical studies have been identified to suggest that black elderberry extracts, which are included in the Sambucol products, have either a positive or negative effect on patients suffering from asthma.

As with any pre-existing medical condition, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before starting to take any new supplement or medication.
Can Sambucol be used in children under 3 years of age?
All the Sambucol products can be used in children, however the only product recommended for use in children under the age of 3 years is the Sambucol for Children product.
Can Sambucol be used in people with high blood pressure?
A literature search was conducted using Medline and Pubmed. No records were identified that discussed the effects of blood pressure when taking Sambucol products (or black elderberry extracts).
No warnings or contra-indications regarding use in high blood pressure are included on the proposed SmPC
Can I take Sambucol if I have heartburn?
Some of the Sambucol range of products contains zinc and or vitamin C. In large quantities these have been reported to cause heartburn. Sambucol should not cause heartburn or exacerbate it, provided that the recommended daily dose is adhered to and that any intensive use of the product is only short term. As with any pre-existing medical condition it is advisable to check with a healthcare professional prior to use of food supplements or medications. If heartburn is experienced the use of the product should be discontinued

Can Sambucol be used as part of the recommended ‘5 a day’ portions of fruit and vegetables?
Information available from the Food Standards Agency and current Government guidelines on healthy eating, indicate that Sambucol products cannot count as part of the recommended ‘5 a day’ portions of fruit and vegetables. This is based on the fact that only 100% fruit juices are allowed to be classified as a ‘portion of fruit’ and in order to obtain 100% fruit juice from Sambucol, 150ml of the product would need to be consumed. This amount is not the amount currently recommended on Sambucol packaging (see individual packs).
The Sambucol range are classed as food supplements and are not intended to replace fruit and vegetables in a diet