Published: 08:00, 20 January 2021
| Updated: 13:50, 20 January 2021
Researchers at a Kent hospital trust are investigating whether a popular herbal remedy could be an effective treatment against Covid-19.
A team at East Kent Hospitals Trust is trialling the use of Sambucol Black Elderberry liquid in patients being treated for coronavirus.
The trust – which runs hospitals in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Margate – will be the first in the country to test the liquid, which is available in Boots or Holland and Barrett for as little as £9.49 for 120ml.
The study was proposed following previous research which showed black elderberry fruit or extracts had antiviral properties against flu and a type of herpes.
It has also been adopted by the National Institute for Health Research.
Jessica Evans, director of research and innovation at the trust, said: “We are all very excited to have been given approval to start this trial, which could have huge implications for the treatment of coronavirus.
“A previous study with flu patients showed people who took the extract had significant improvements in their symptoms within two days, compared to six days for those who did not.
“We will be testing whether there are similar effects in people in the community who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are experiencing symptoms, to see if the severity and length of time can be reduced.”
The study began earlier this month and the team hopes to recruit more than 200 patients to the trial.
They will either receive the black elderberry liquid or a placebo and will then be monitored to see if there is any reduction in their symptoms.
Residents should not go and pick elderberries to eat in the hope of receiving similar benefits- raw elderberries are extremely poisonous.