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 toresearchers from Griffith University.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The elderberry clinical trial is still seeking a further 180 participants to complete thestudy. Interested participants need to be healthy, aged 18 or over, travelling on a minimumof 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