Sambucol and Bird Flu
Monday, April 10th 2006
A study indicates that Tamiflu and Relenza, the two antiviral flu drugs intended to be crucial in the world-wide defence against the flu, are ineffective against seasonal flu outbreaks, and may not be sufficient to combat an epidemic or pandemic.
Sambucol, a standardized extract of black elderberry, has been found to fight the avian flu virus H5N1, revealed British researchers.
A team at Retroscreen Virology, an institute associated with the University of London, said that the extract was at least 99 percent effective against the H5N1 virus and significantly neutralized the infectivity of the virus in cell cultures.
Dr Madeleine Mumcuoglu, the Israel-based developer of Sambucol, said the good results confirmed her earlier findings on the product, which is currently marketed around the world as a natural supplement for fighting common flu. "It is active against lots of different types of flu viruses and I did my PhD on its effect on a non-virulent strain of bird flu so the results did not surprise me," she said.
"I'm very happy with these results, especially as the work was done by Dr John Oxford, a reputable specialist in flu," she added.
Dr Mumcuoglu stressed that the results could in no way demonstrate a benefit for humans infected with the bird flu strain H5N1 that has killed more than 70 people, mostly in South East Asia, since the outbreak began in 2003. Dr Mumcuoglu added that bird flu is still a lower threat than common flu, thought to kill about 25,000 people in the UK alone each year through complications.
While the new bird flu results might boost sales of Sambucol, it is the evidence from two human clinical trials on human flu that has created a significant market for the product. The double blind, placebo-controlled studies - the first done in Israel, and the second in Norway - both found that people who took the elderberry supplement got rid of flu in half the time of the placebo group, or after two to three days compared to about six.
Dr Mumcuoglu says Sambucol blunts the haemaglutinin spikes on the outside of viruses and stops them from entering cells where they reproduce, cause the cell to explode and allow the virus to continue invading the body.
An in-vitro study has also shown Sambucol to be effective in increasing the production of four inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that the supplement may have an immuno-stimulatory effect.
"I didn't invent anything," claims Dr Mumcuoglu. "Elderberry has been known from the beginning of time. What people didn't know is what the active ingredient is, how to keep it intact and how to formulate to keep it active."
The new laboratory results were presented at a press conference held in the Royal Society of Medicine, London last week. Another trial is now underway at Hadassah Medical Organization Ein Kerem in Israel.
Reproduced unabridged from the April - June 2006 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.
Footnote from Ideal Health:
The following products are all useful for influenza virus:
Related health information can be found here:
Colds and Flu
Echinacea - a potent weapon against infection
Mullein for bronchitis, coughs, phlegm and asthma
Multivite - why taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is so essential?
Vitamin C is essential for fighting infections, wound healing and coping with stress
Water, the elixir of life
Winter ailments and immune boosting
Related articles can be found here:
Behind the Science of Sambucol Virologist Developed Clinically Tested
Bird Flu - A Virus That Has the Potential to Kill Millions of People
Boost Your Seven Immune Systems
Don't Let the Winter Bug Get You!
Kiwis Stockpile Bird Flu Drugs
Olive Leaf Extract - Super Immune System Booster
The Echinacea Experts
The Winter First Aid Kit in a Bottle
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Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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