Elderberry syrup has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments, including the common cold and flu. It’s no wonder that many people turn to this dark purple berry for its potential health benefits.
However, with the rise in popularity of elderberry supplements, questions have arisen about its potential interactions with other medications, including birth control.
In this article, we’ll explore whether elderberry syrup interacts with birth control and what you need to know to make informed decisions about your health.
So, let’s dive in and separate fact from fiction when it comes to elderberry and birth control.
Does Elderberry Syrup Interact With Birth Control?
There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that elderberry syrup interacts with birth control. However, it’s important to note that not all possible drug interactions have been studied, and there may be individual variations in how medications interact with each other.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements or medications, especially if you are taking birth control pills. Your healthcare provider can advise you on potential interactions and help you make informed decisions about your health.
What Is Elderberry Syrup?
Elderberry syrup is a popular herbal supplement made from the dark purple berries of the European elder tree, also known as Sambucus nigra. It has a long history of use for treating cold and flu symptoms, and is commonly used to boost the immune system. Elderberry syrup is available in various forms, including pills, liquids, and powders.
While elderberry syrup has not been extensively studied for its interactions with other medications, it is important to note that it may interact with certain drugs. If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before using elderberry syrup.
When using elderberry syrup, it’s important to follow the recommended dosage on the label or as prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you experience any adverse effects or have concerns about using elderberry syrup, talk to your healthcare provider for guidance.
How Does Birth Control Work?
Birth control pills are a type of contraceptive medication that is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken consistently every day. Most birth control pills are “combination pills” containing a mix of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The hormones in the pill safely prevent ovulation, which is the release of an egg during the monthly menstrual cycle. When ovulation is prevented, there is no egg for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy cannot occur.
In addition to preventing ovulation, birth control pills also work by thickening the mucus on the cervix. This thicker cervical mucus blocks sperm from swimming to an egg, acting like a sticky security guard. The hormones in the pill can also sometimes affect the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for an egg to attach to the wall of the uterus.
Progestin is primarily responsible for preventing pregnancy by inhibiting follicular development and preventing ovulation. Progestogen negative feedback works at the hypothalamus to decrease the pulse frequency of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which reduces the secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). If ovulation is prevented, there is no increase in estradiol levels since the follicle makes estradiol. The progestin negative feedback and lack of estrogen positive feedback on LH secretion stop the mid-cycle LH surge, preventing ovulation.
Combined Oral Contraceptive (COC) pills usually contain an estrogen component combined with a different generation of progestin components with varying degrees of androgenic and progestogenic potential. The combination is prescribed based on desirable effects and risk of adverse events with progestin component and dose of estrogen and progestin component. While multiple types of progestin pills are available in the US, most frequently formulations have drospirenone or norethindrone. Drospirenone suppresses ovulation and also has anti-mineralocorticoid activity. While norethindrone primarily acts by thickening cervical mucus to inhibit sperm penetration, suppressing ovulation, decreasing the mid-cycle LH and FSH peaks, which slows the movement of the ovum through fallopian tubes, and alters endometrium thickness.
Potential Interactions Between Elderberry And Birth Control
While there is no evidence of a direct interaction between elderberry syrup and birth control, it’s important to understand how elderberry can affect the immune system. Elderberry has been shown to increase the activity of the immune system, which could potentially impact the effectiveness of medications that decrease immune activity, such as those used after a transplant.
Additionally, birth control pills can lead to a deficiency in certain B vitamins, including B6, B12, and B9. While there is no evidence to suggest that elderberry interferes with the absorption of these vitamins, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about whether or not taking additional supplements with birth control is necessary.
It’s also important to note that traditional medicine, including elderberry syrup, often lacks sufficient studies and data on drug interactions. As a result, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen or adding new supplements to your routine. By working with your provider, you can ensure that you are taking all necessary precautions to maintain your health and wellbeing.
Research Studies On Elderberry And Birth Control
There is no research available on the specific interaction between elderberry syrup and birth control. However, there have been studies on the potential health benefits of elderberry extract, which is commonly used in syrup form. These studies have focused on its effectiveness in treating respiratory symptoms and influenza.
One study investigated the use of elderberry extract as a treatment for influenza symptoms and found that it was effective in reducing the duration of symptoms by approximately four days compared to a placebo. Another study found that a combination of echinacea and elderberry extract was as effective as the antiviral medication oseltamivir for the early treatment of influenza.
While these studies do not directly relate to birth control, they do suggest that elderberry extract may have immune-boosting properties that could potentially affect the effectiveness of certain medications. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements or medications to ensure that they are safe and effective for you.
Precautions To Take When Using Elderberry Syrup And Birth Control
If you are taking birth control pills and are interested in using elderberry syrup, there are some precautions you should take. First and foremost, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements or medications, including elderberry syrup. Your healthcare provider can advise you on potential interactions and help you make informed decisions about your health.
While there is no scientific evidence to suggest that elderberry syrup interacts with birth control, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Elderberry syrup may affect blood sugar levels, which could potentially impact the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you have any concerns about how elderberry syrup may affect your birth control, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure you are using elderberry syrup as directed on the label or as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label, and do not use different forms of elderberry (pills, liquids, and others) at the same time or you could have an overdose.
It’s also important to note that if you have any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or adrenal fatigue syndrome (AFS), you should be extra cautious when using elderberry syrup. Elderberry syrup may affect blood sugar levels, which could be problematic for those with diabetes or AFS. If you have any concerns about how elderberry syrup may affect your health condition, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider.