If frequent flyer, take elderberry for relief

Melbourne: Intercontinental air travel can be stressful and affect a passenger’s physical and psychological well-being — new research may have found a panacea in the common elderberry which has been used for centuries to treat various conditions.

While jet lag and fatigue are the best known problems, holidaymakers also often experience upper respiratory symptoms. A clinical trial showed that an elderberry supplement can provide protection from cold and flu-like symptoms following long-haul flights.

“We found that most cold episodes occurred in the placebo group, but the difference between the placebo and active group was not significant. However, the placebo group had a significantly higher number of cold episode days, and the symptom score in the placebo group over these days was also significantly higher,” said lead author Evelin Tiralongo from Griffith University’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ).

The results were presented at the Annual International Integrative Medicine Conference in Melbourne. The clinical trial was conducted with 312 economy class passengers travelling from Australia to an overseas destination.

The trial used capsules containing 300 mg of a standardised, proprietary membrane-filtered elderberry extract which has been seen as being effective in working against respiratory bacteria and influenza viruses.

Cold episodes, cold duration and symptoms were recorded and participants also completed surveys before, during and after travel.