The benefits of elderberry are many. This old-age berry has been used for a long time for treating all kinds of health conditions. Traditional medicine saw it as a source of nutrition and medicine for thousands of years. Nowadays, a lot of people take elderberry to boost their immune systems and treat symptoms of cold and flu. But what are all the health benefits of elderberry and how do people use it?
What is Elderberry?
Elderberry is a dark purple berry that comes from the European elder tree or Sambucus nigra. The black elder produces flowers and berries in a distinctive dark purple color. They are easy to spot in mountains and forests and grow naturally in both wet and dry soils.
The flowers and berries from the black elder are edible but need to be cooked before consumption. They are toxic in the uncooked state and may cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Usually, elderberries are used for making wine, tea, jellies, and jams. When processed for these products, elderberries have a sweet and juicy taste rather than a bitter and bland taste they have when raw.
Elderberries stand for a low-calorie food high in antioxidants. One up (100 grams) of these berries includes approximately:
- 50 mg of vitamin C
- 870 mg of vitamin A
- 400 mg of potassium
- 10 mg of folate
- 60 mg of calcium
- 2 mg of iron
One cup of elderberries contains about 100 calories and 26 grams of carbs. It also has 10 grams of fiber, which is one-third of the recommended daily intake.
Benefits of Elderberry
Elderberry has a long history of being used as a remedy. For many centuries, the berry served as an efficient medicine for treating cold, flu, fever, burns, cuts, and many other conditions. The tree has been incredibly famous among Ancient Egyptians who even buried their dead with the tincture of elderberry. Even ancient Greeks worshiped the tree for its healing properties.
The popularity of elderberries has not diminished over the course of centuries. These days, many doctors recommend natural herbs, fruits, and berries for improving the immune system and making it stronger. Elderberry is widely used all over the world, and we are about to see some of the main benefits it has on human health.
Enhance Immune System
The thing that makes elderberries good for the overall immune system are flavonoids or particularly, anthocyanins. These are powerful antioxidants that give elderberries their rich purple color and work to make the immune system strong and resilient. They prevent or slow down the damage that comes from free radicals and enhance an immune response from the body.
It seems that elderberries also contain antiviral agents-compounds, which means they might be able to deactivate viruses. Because of the high concentration of bioflavonoids, these berries can disable viruses by preventing them from piercing the cell walls and replicating in the body.
Treat Cold and Flu
Elderberry was probably most used for treating cold and flu. Its effectiveness was tested many times throughout trials with two groups of patients. One of them was given elderberry while the other one only received placebo-based products. Studies have shown that the elderberry-group recovered faster, and their symptoms of cold and flu reduced quicker. However, these studies can’t claim that elderberry resolves cold and flu symptoms within four days, as commonly suggested.
It’s also important to mention that the elderflower is known as an anti-catarrhal herb because of its effectiveness on runny noses and congestion. The flowers from Elder tree also have a large impact on reducing inflammation in the human body.
Treat Urinary and Bladder Infections
People who suffer from UTIs (urinary tract infections) can also benefit from elderberries. UTI’s are known to cause unbelievable pain and misery. The constant urge to urinate and painful and burning sensation in the lower extremities are the cause of many restless nights. Elderberry can take this away and significantly relieve the pain when taken in a form of tea. These berries work as a diuretic, motivating the kidneys to flush out toxins and increasing urination. This way, the bacteria leave the body faster and don’t replicate as usual. Furthermore, the elderberry anti-inflammatory properties reduce the burning sensation and make urination less painful.
Relieve Allergy Symptoms
Allergy symptoms make a whole new level of pain and suffering. Constant inflammation of the sinuses, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, swelling, and a runny nose are only some of the most common symptoms of this condition. All of them make daily lives almost unbearable, especially during the spring season.
If you have problems with allergies, elderberries can help. This anti-catarrhal herb clears congestion and runny noses in a breeze. It also strengthens the respiratory tract and may treat the sinuses and induce easier breathing.
Improve Digestive Health
Believe it or not, there’s another benefit of elderberries. Because they contain a lot of fiber, they help eliminate constipation, reduce excess gas, and increase the overall health of the gastrointestinal system. The fiber is known to pass through the body undigested and keep the digestive system clean and healthy, which is why elderberries are so beneficial. They ease bowel movements and get rid of carcinogens.
COVID 19 Warning: Elderberries become even more popular with the outbreak of COVID-19. However, they are not proven to prevent or treat it. Elderberries can help your immune system, respiratory tract, and overall, your health, which could cause your body to respond better to viruses. But, we repeat, there’s no proof these little berries can prevent or treat COVID-19.
Elderberries are known to promote diaphoresis or sweating. Thus, elderflowers seem to promote natural detoxification for the skin. They are most commonly used for making washes and lotions to protect the skin and reduce inflammation, rashes, sunburn, and more. Elderflower water is also used for creams and salves. These days, it’s almost always present in beauty treatments all over the world.
Possible Side Effects
It’s crucial to remember that raw unripe berries, leaves, and roots from the Elder tree contain toxins that can be bad for your health, especially in large amounts. In smaller amounts, you might experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and other similar symptoms. Sometimes, these purple berries can cause mild allergic reactions as well. It’s yet not proven whether they are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so you should avoid them just in case.
Elderberries also boost the immune system, which means they might worsen the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. If you have an autoimmune condition, consult your doctor before taking elderberries. Overall, they are safe and don’t have many side effects, but we still recommend consulting your doctor before adding them as your daily nutrition option. Again, make sure to consume processed berries, flowers, and leaves from the Elder tree.
If you’re taking any drugs to suppress your immune system, you may want to consult your doctor before taking elderberries. They might interact and undermine the efficiency of immune-system drugs. Therefore, don’t miss to talk to your doctor before adding elderberries or any other herbs, fruits, and supplements to your diet. Everything has its positive and negative sides, so it’s crucial to find balance and pick foods and drugs carefully.
How to Use Elderberry
Recipes for elderberry-based medications date as far back as Ancient Egypt, but what is the best one to follow for releasing the full potential of elderberry? The truth is, as long as you process elderberry before consumption, you can choose any option you like. Most people make syrups, decoctions, jellies, pies, wine, and similar. If you have an option to handpick elderberries and want to do something with them quickly, we recommend making syrup.
All you need to do is to use dried elderberry flowers or berries, water, and some spices (such as cinnamon and ginger) and mix them together. Shimmering the berries in water should take an hour or so. You should wait for the water to evaporate until the smooth liquid remains. Then you can use honey to make the syrup thicker and add alcohol if you want to extend its shelf life.
In case you don’t have an option to collect raw elderberries and cook them yourself, you can always find them in shops that sell organic foods. Even better, you can buy already processed berries in the form of teabags, syrups, oils, and extracts.
Greenbush Natural Products is one of those stores that will deliver all-natural products to help you boost your immune system and enhance your overall health. The company offers products made from pure, potent herbs without any fillers and additives. If you want to try elderberries, you can give the Greenbush extract a shot and see how it goes from there. You also have an option to mix different oils, extracts, and teas combined from elderberry and other berries and herbs. That can be an excellent option for people who would like to make a fine balance of different natural supplements.
Commonly Asked Questions About Elderberry
Hopefully, we already provided all the information you might need or be interested in regarding elderberries. Our goal was to give you an overall review of elderberry nutrition, benefits, and side effects and explain why these berries are so incredibly popular for centuries. Because we don’t want to miss any little detail about elderberries, we also answer some commonly asked questions.
Can I take elderberries every day?
Yes, it’s safe to take elderberries daily. Most people use it year-round for nutrient and immune support. As long as you process elderberries in the right way, so you don’t consume them raw, you can take larger amounts daily. Reputable companies also make safe-to-use elixirs, oils, and other products. You should only take care when choosing the company from which you’ll buy the product.
Are there any benefits to athletes taking elderberries?
Absolutely. Elderberries have anti-inflammatory properties that may fasten up recoveries, especially for runners. Athletes that take elderberries daily can recover from injuries and muscle soreness faster than those who don’t. In fact, because elderberries boost the immune system and improve digestive health, athletes may find themselves achieving better results when taking elderberries.
How to store raw elderberries and syrups?
You should store raw elderberries in your refrigerator until you decide to cook them. A syrup can last about 30-60 days when stored in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays, which can prolong the life of the syrup for up to 6-8 months. This is an excellent option for those who want to make a large amount of syrup right away and are not planning to use it daily.
How much elderberry syrup do I need?
It can be quite challenging to determine how much syrup you need, especially if you’re planning to take it daily. Yet, it’s crucial to do it because you don’t want to find yourself without your healthy supplement somewhere in the middle of the program.
We recommend a 16-ounce daily serving of elderberry syrup for both adults and children. Still, you might want to start with giving your child an 8-ounce serving per day, especially if he or she is very young. Now, you can calculate how much elderberry syrup you and your family need depending on the servings and the intake longevity.
Benefits of Elderberry – Know Your Natural Herb Options
Finding natural remedies or supplements to help boost your immune system can be extremely beneficial. Elderberry has been used for centuries to for various health purposes and knowing how and when to use the herb can help with so many different things. To learn more about the health benefits of elderberry and Greenbush’s all-natural, no fillers or additives, elderberry extract, click here!
*INDIVIDUAL RESULTS MAY VARY. STATEMENTS IN THIS WEBSITE HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THE FDA DOES NOT EVALUATE OR TEST HERBS AND HEALTH FOODS. THESE PRODUCTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE , TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE. FOR DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN. USE HERBS IN MODERATION AND WATCH FOR ALLERGIC REACTIONS. REMEMBER THAT DIET, EXERCISE AND RELAXATION ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO YOUR HEALTH.