DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 66-year-old male. I have suffered seasonal allergies all my life. They seem present almost year-round as I get older. I have tried every over-the-counter med I can find and some prescription meds, with little long-term relief.
The new rage here to combat these allergies is elderberry syrup. It combines elderberries, echinacea, cinnamon, clove, ginger and honey. I have Type 2 diabetes controlled by oral medication and only have to check my A1C every three months. It is usually no higher than 6.2. I would like to know if this combination of ingredients would work to combat my allergies and if taking a tablespoon a day five days a week would negatively affect my diabetes. — D.S.
ANSWER: A recent study showed that elderberry syrup was substantially more effective than placebo at reducing respiratory symptoms from the cold or flu. It is possible but unproven that it might be helpful in seasonal allergy symptoms.