Elderberry Seed Oil

Holunderberren an Strauch


  • Active Oil
  • INCI: Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry) Oil
  • Comedogenicity: 1-2
  • Composition: Linoleic acid (up to approx. 42 %), α linolenic acid (up to approx. 36 %), oleic acid (up to approx. 13 %), palmitic acid (up to approx. 7 %), stearic acid (up to approx. 2 %), phytosterols.
  • Iodine number: 185.
  • Cosmetic use: Oily, blemished, sensitive skin; acne.
  • Shelf life: In cool and dark storage 3 – 6 months.



The black elderberry is a strong branching bush or tree up to 11 m tall. Its stem leaves are unevenly pinnate, about 30 cm long, and have about 5 single leaves. From May to July, the bush blooms with many white or slightly yellowish, five-petaled flowers with a fruity scent. Between August and September, the initially red berries begin to ripen and turn black. They contain a burgundy red juice and 3 oily seeds each. The seeds contain up to 30 % oil with mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Extraction of elderberry seed oil

The greenish-yellow to green elder seed oil is usually obtained by cold pressing the seeds of the black elderberry. However, the oil is also often obtained as a by-product of elderberry juice production by pressing the leftover pomace (press residue) containing more than 10 % oil. The seeds can be enzymatically extracted by crushing the elderberries in water and adding pectinase. After 2-3 days, the skin and flesh of the berries are completely degraded. The remaining seeds can then be cleaned with water and dried.

Cosmetic use of elderberry seed oil

Due to the high proportion of α-linolenic acid and phytosterols, elder seed oil has an anti-inflammatory and calming effect and is therefore particularly suitable for sensitive skin, neurodermatitis, and blemished skin. Thanks to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids, it is a light oil with a low melting point that is not heavy on the skin. The oil does not leave an oily film and thus creates non-film-forming emulsions, which are well suited for the care of oily and blemished skin. The skin surface is protected and strengthened by the oil and becomes soft and elastic.


If the oil is sold as a cosmetic raw material, it is usually not suitable for consumption.

Holunderberren an Strauch

Benefits of elderberry seed oil for skin

  • has anti-inflammatory effects
  • soothes the skin
  • protects and strengthens the skin surface
  • makes skin soft and elastic
  • does not leave a greasy film
  • also suitable for oily and impure skin

Buy elderberry seed oil – what to consider?

When buying elderberry seed oil you should make sure that it is pure oil without any other additives. If you want to avoid possible residues of pesticides, you should use organic oils. These are regularly tested for purity and the risk of unwanted components is very low.

As elderberry oil has a rather short shelf life, you should make sure that the product is sold in dark glass bottles to protect it from light exposure.

Sources: Krist, Sabine (2013): Lexikon der Pflanzlichen Öle und Fett. Vienna: Springer Verlag. | Braunschweig, R. (2020): Pflanzenöle - über 50 starke Helfer für Genuss und Hautpflege. Wiggensbach: Stadelmann Verlag.

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