Elderberry has been used for centuries for multiple purposes, such as to treat wounds or respiratory illnesses like colds. Elder is a shrub or tree and the medicinal parts that are used are the flowers and berries. Studies indicate that the chemicals in elder flower and berries may decrease the swelling in mucous membranes, which in turn, alleviates nasal congestion. There is evidence that suggests that taking elderberry extract, which is called Sambucol, could shorten the amount of time you have the a major cold or flu by 3 days. Sambucol contains herbs and vitamin C in addition to the elderberry, so research does not show if Elderberry by itself could do the same. There is also evidence that suggests a lozenge with Sambucol helped lessen symptoms of a major cold or flu if taken within 24 hours after the symptoms began. There are many forms of elderberry available, like syrup, capsule, and tincture. With the change of seasons going on you might want to consider elderberry for yourself and even your children. As with all supplements, they are considered drugs and you should consult with with your physician and pharmacist for drug interactions.