Seems like every time you turn around, someone is touting a new wellness cure. Recently, I’ve seen a lot of talk online about elderberry. People say that it super-charges your immunity. In the time of Coronavirus and when many places are still grappling with influenza, taking elderberry may seem like an easy way to ward off sickness. Still, I try to research things like this to see if there’s any scientific credibility to the claims. What I found is potentially much more serious, especially for those of you who, like me, have thyroid disease. Elderberry might actually harm your system if you have an autoimmune disorder. Don’t take elderberry if you have thyroid problems!
How Bad Could a Berry Be?
Let’s talk about elderberry to start. It has long been used for medicinal purposes to treat infections and other ailments. Recently, people have started taking elderberry supplements and drinking elderberry tea as a way to treat and prevent colds and flu. Many people swear by it. There are even scientific studies that show it shortens the duration of the flu. It’s a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
Despite all that good press, it’s not 100% safe to just eat an elderberry. If they aren’t cooked, they can cause stomach problems when ingested. The bark, seeds, and unripened berries may also cause stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Commercially-prepared elderberries should be fine to consume for most people.
Berry, Berry Bad for Autoimmune Disorders
While I couldn’t find any scientific studies to back this up, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence online to suggest that people with autoimmune disorders need to exercise caution in taking elderberry supplements. What we do know is that elderberry seems to supercharge immunity. Autoimmune disorders mean that a person’s immune system is actually “attacking” part of their body. In my case, with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, my immune system attacks my thyroid. It stands to reason that if I equipped my immunity with something that makes it even stronger, the attack on my thyroid would be even worse than it already is.
As Always, Talk to a Doc
I’ll admit, not having any hard science to prove my claim means that elderberry MIGHT be fine to take for those with autoimmune conditions. However, as with any supplement, I would consult a trusted medical professional before doing so. It certainly doesn’t seem totally harmless and your physician should know about any supplement you’re taking so that they can give you the best treatment possible. Your health is way too important to risk it, especially at this period in time where all of us need to stay as well as possible. For that reason, I say that you don’t want to take elderberry if you have thyroid problems.