Ask Dr. David

Elderberry, Ibuprofen, and COVID-19

March 19, 2020

Hi Wholistic Family,

As information trickles out about what treatments are safe if a person has suspected symptoms or a positive test for COVID-19, we are receiving frequent questions about elderberry and ibuprofen.

We are privy to what various news sites and social media groups are sharing and asserting. We are in the process of doing our own deep dive into this issue and expect to publish an article about it early next week. Even then, we will not have any “final answers,” but we will have recommendations based on what we are learning. In the meantime, we wanted to provide you with some basic information.

Most viruses that cause cold and flu symptoms (including influenza, rhinovirus, and other strains of coronavirus) will cause a surge in cytokines, which are chemicals produced by the immune system as part of the inflammatory response. Cytokines (and in particular one called IL-6) are the basis of the concern surrounding using elderberry and ibuprofen to treat COVID-19.  

Over the past fifteen years Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care has routinely suggested using elderberry and ibuprofen remedies for respiratory viruses, including presumed coronaviruses, without seeing these concerns materialize. 

We hope and encourage everyone to stay as calm as possible and continue to maintain social distancing. We also suggest refraining from excessively reading, listening to, or watching the news…..this is for your own mental health!

Stay safe,

Dr. David