Elderberry Vs. Tamiflu: a Mom’s Guide to Flu Season Choices

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As we entered flu season, a few years ago I found myself torn between the goodness of natural remedies and the familiarity  of over the counter medicines I had grown up with. With my kids’ health in mind, I dug deep into researching both options. Elderberry syrup called to me with its long history of use as a natural healer, known for fighting viruses. Meanwhile, Tamiflu represented modern medicine, trusted by doctors to tackle the flu head-on.  

elderberry vs tamiflu

Deciding what’s right for my family meant thinking about the good sides of natural remedies and the strong proof from doctors and research. It was tough because I’m a mom, not a doctor, but I wanted to make sure my family would be well prepared to fight the flu with the best choices available to us. Taking into consideration common side effects of both choices.

I know what’s good for my family might not be good for everyone. That’s why I’m sharing this, so moms like you can do your own research and decide what the better option for your family’s medicine cabinet is.

Understanding Elderberry and Tamiflu

Elderberry syrup comes from a dark purple berry plant called Sambucus nigra L. It’s been praised in alternative medicine for fighting viral infections, especially the ones causing coughs and colds during flu season. People believe it doesn’t just treat symptoms but also helps our bodies fight off infections better. But a study by Michael Macknin has made a lot of people think twice about it.

Tamiflu on the other hand is a medicine that doctors trust to fight the flu virus. It’s made in labs and is designed to work by stopping the virus from spreading in your body. Doctors recommend it because it helps make symptoms of the flu less severe and not last as long. But it’s important to think about its serious side effects too.

The Science Behind the Remedies

I researched elderberry syrup and Tamiflu to choose the best option for my family during flu season. Elderberry products are known for fighting viruses naturally, and I was interested in a study by Michael Macknin that looked at how elderberry extract works against the flu. But the study found that both the elderberry group and those in a separate placebo group had similar flu symptoms. This was surprising because elderberry syrup is usually thought to be really helpful. 

But, we need to be careful about the elderberry study because it relied on what patients said about their symptoms and didn’t test for the specific type of virus. This means we should be careful about what we decide and look into a number of studys before we make a decision. This specific study shows that theret is good things about elderberry, but we need more research to be sure. As scientists keep looking into these things, it’s clear that we need to keep learning about both western medicine and traditional alternative medicine.

Elderberry vs Tamiflu

elderberry vs tamiflu pinterest graphic

Elderberry Syrup vs Tamiflu

When Choosing between elderberry syrup and Tamiflu for treating the flu it’s important to  weigh the good and bad points of each.

fresh elderberry's

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Elderberry Syrup

Uses the virus-fighting power of a plant called Sambucus nigra L. It’s said to make flu symptoms less severe and shorter, helping your immune system stay strong. But it might not work the same for everyone, and it could cause side effects like feeling sick or dizzy. You can usually find it easily in health stores. Elderberry products are natural and have been used in traditional medicine for a long time, offering a different way to treat the flu. You do not need a prescription from a healthcare provider and you can even make your own elderberry syrup at home by purchasing a pack of dry elderberrys.

Elderberry syrup is packed with good stuff for your body. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C and antioxidants, which are great for a healthy  immune system. When your immune system is strong, it can better fight off flu viruses and keep you from getting sick. Elderberry syrup also contains flavonoids, which are natural compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties  and support overall health. Plus, elderberries have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for their immune-boosting properties, so they’ve got a long history of helping people stay healthy. 

Elderberry Syrup Side Effects

Some potential side effects of elderberry supplements may include:

  1. Upset stomach
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Nausea
  4. Vomiting
  5. Allergic reactions, such as rash or difficulty breathing (though these are rare)

Elderberry syrup is usually okay for most people even children. If you are at all worried you can always talk to a trusted doctor. For the most part elderberry syrup is seen like other herbal supplements.

package of tamiflu capsules


is a medicine approved by the FDA to fight viruses directly. It’s been shown to make flu symptoms go away faster if you take it early. But it can have serious side effects like stomach problems or very rare mental health issues. You need a prescription from a doctor to get it.

Tamiflu is created in a lab using chemicals like oseltamivir phosphate. Oseltamivir phosphate is the active ingredient in Tamiflu, which is a medicine used to treat the flu. It belongs to a class of medications called neuraminidase inhibitors, which work by stopping the flu virus from spreading in the body. Oseltamivir phosphate helps to reduce how long symptoms lasts and severity of flu symptoms when taken within a certain timeframe after you first start to feel sick. 

Tamiflu side effects

Some common side effects of Tamiflu include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Headache
  5. Dizziness
  6. Tiredness
  7. Cough
  8. Stomach pain

Sometimes, Tamiflu can cause rare but serious side effects. These might include allergic reactions, skin problems, or changes in thinking, like confusion or seeing things that aren’t there, especially in kids. If you notice any side effects while taking Tamiflu, it’s really important to tell your doctor right away.

How to Make an Informed Decision for Your Family

Deciding between elderberry syrup and Tamiflu for the flu season is important and needs careful thought. It’s best to talk to your doctor first. Wether you choose a naturopathic doctor or a traditional MD. They can give you advice that fits your health and any risks you might have. Things like your age, if you’re pregnant, or if you have other health problems are really important to think about. There are studies that show how well elderberry and Tamiflu work for treating the flu. Elderberry is natural, but Tamiflu is a medicine approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It’s about finding the right balance between what’s best for your health and what the research says on both sides.

Choosing Between Natural Products and Pharmaceutical Drugs

homemade elderberry syrup and a package of tamiflu capsules

Every family has the ability and the right to make informed choices about medical treatments for their loved ones. It’s not just about what’s popular or what everyone else is doing on social media – it’s about knowing the facts and what’s best for your family’s health. From the common cold to serious flu outbreaks, there are different options out there, like natural remedies and medicines. By learning about these choices and talking to experts you trust, you and your family can make informed decisions that fit your needs and values.

I know that when you’re making these choices, you’re not just thinking about yourself. you’re thinking about your whole family. You want to keep everyone safe and healthy. That’s why it’s important to look at the evidence and understand what works best for each person. By doing this, you can make smart decisions that make sense for your family.

It’s okay if different families choose different things. What’s most important is that each family feels confident in the decisions they make. This journey teaches us that knowledge is powerful and that putting our family’s health first is always the right choice.

​Elderberry vs Tamiflu Final Thoughts

Just like you, I started this journey wanting to learn enough to make good choices for my family’s health when they got sick . Deciding between elderberry syrup, a natural remedy often used in alternative medicine, and Tamiflu, a strong medicine for the treatment of influenza, was a big decision. Elderberry is an herbal remedy used to fight viruses like the flu, but it’s different from medicines like Tamiflu, which are made to help with flu-like symptoms and duration of illness under a doctor’s care.

bottle of homemade elderberry syrup, essential oils, head of garlic, ginger root, and two cinnamon sticks.

If you are on a natural wellness journey or if you are just looking to be more educated on the choices available to you, know that i’m cheering you on! I’ve been and still am in that journey myself! 

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