Elderberry enhances overseas travel experience

AProf Evelin Tiralongo and Dr Shirley Wee from the Griffith Health Institute
Associate Professor Evelin Tiralongo and Dr Shirley Wee from the Griffith Health Institute.

The common elderberry could be just the remedy for international travellers, according to researchers from Griffith University.

Associate Professor Evelin Tiralongo and Dr Shirley Wee from the Griffith Health Institute are currently undertaking a clinical trial to see whether taking elderberry capsules will protect people from colds and flus, as well as from adverse effects on general health and wellbeing following long-haul flights.

Intercontinental air travel can be stressful and affect a passenger’s physical and psychological well-being. Whilst jetlag and fatigue remain the best known problems with long-distance travel, holiday-makers also often experience upper respiratory symptoms.

Preliminary analysis of data from a quarter of trial participants has shown the incidence of cold and flu-like symptoms to be higher in the placebo group compared to the group of participants who took elderberry.

“We expected positive effects on colds and flu symptoms given the berry’s traditional use for the treatment of respiratory symptoms and recuperating from a cold. However, it’s nice to see that elderberry could be beneficial for overseas travel given the large number of people travelling each year,” says Associate Professor Tiralongo.

“Interesting also is that preliminary findings showed improved physical and mental health during travel for the participants who took elderberry. This may be due to elderberry’s powerful antioxidants and vitamins and needs to be further investigated.”

This elderberry trial follows on from the research team’s 2010 clinical trial of Echinacea which proved its benefits in reducing the incidence of respiratory symptoms for intercontinental air passengers. Echinacea’s beneficial effects were also later endorsed by a larger study by Cardiff University in the UK.

The elderberry clinical trial is still seeking a further 180 participants to complete the study. Interested participants need to be healthy, aged 18 or over, travelling on a minimum of a seven hour flight in economy class and staying for a minimum of four days overseas.

For further information, visit: http://www.griffith.edu.au/health/school-pharmacy/research/elderberry-clinical-trial