Elderberry is gaining alot of popularity in health and wellness for its natural healing properties. It’s scientific name Sambucus nigra, comes from the elder tree, which is native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. It also grows across the northern parts of the United States and Canada.
The important health benefits of elderberries include their ability to alleviate allergies, boost the immune system, protect against bacteria and infection, lower blood sugar, moderate the digestive process, and slow down the spread of cancer. In medieval Europe, the elder tree was revered as holy and reputed to have health-preserving and restorative properties. For centuries, folk remedies in the form of teas, poultices, creams, and salves have all been produced from the elderberry and used to encourage good health.
Elderberries are the fruit of the flowering plant known as Sambucus, the berries are black or very dark blue and have a sharp, tart or bitter flavor that makes them better preferred for desserts, syrups, jams, jellies and spreads. Since most of the berries in the class Sambucus are toxic, caution is suggested and cooking the elderberries before consuming is always a wise choice. The branches, leaves, and twigs of all species contain trace elements of cyanide. Elderberries are packed with beneficial nutrients, antioxidants and numerous health benefits. Elderberry also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and may help prevent damage to the body’s cells. In fact, elderberry outranks blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries in terms of total flavonol content and vitamin C content.
Elderberries have lots of nutritional value, packed with nutrients including minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorous, and copper, as well as vitamins, such as vitamin A, B, and C, as well as proteins and dietary fiber.
Health Benefits of Elderberries
Colds and Flu
Preliminary research suggests elderberry may help offer a positive influence to some symptoms associated with cold or flu, but more rigorous research is necessary to verify these claims. Scientists have noticed a decrease in congestion and symptom duration when conventional therapies are supplemented with elderberry. The compounds in elderberries and elderflowers may reduce mucosal membrane inflammation and help alleviate congestion.
In one study, subjects suffering from influenza-like symptoms were given elderberry syrup. Those who consumed the elderberry noticed significant symptom relief about 4 days earlier than the subjects given a placebo. A similar study found that subjects given elderberry extract improved within a 48-hour period. More than a quarter of all subject were completely void of symptoms, and over half showed significant improvement. Only 16% of the placebo group reported improvements and none experienced a complete recovery.
Bacterial Sinusitis (Sinus Infection)
With elderberry’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it makes sense that it can help sinus issues. A sinus infection is a condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed, and this antiviral herb has promise as a sinus infection natural remedy.
A study conducted by the Institute of Complementary Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland examined the use of a proprietary product, Sinupret, which contains elderberry flowers. The researchers used Sinupret to treat bacterial sinusitis along with an antibiotic (doxycycline or vibramycin) and a decongestant. People who took the combination did better compared to those who did not take Sinupret at all.
Although most fruits and vegetables can help you hit your fiber goals for the day, few fruits can have more than 40% of your daily requirements for fiber in a single serving. Elderberries are packed with dietary fiber that can help eliminate constipation, reduce excess gas, and generally increase the health of your gastrointestinal system. Fiber can also help to increase the nutrient uptake efficiency in your gut so you get more out of your food!
Improve Cardiovascular Health
It seems that heart health and fruits and vegetables go hand in hand, and with good reason. The high fiber levels help to eliminate excess cholesterol from the system and make room for “good” cholesterol that the body needs. This can help eliminate the chances of developing atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular issues. The high level of potassium in elderberries also protects the heart by relaxing the tension of blood vessels and arteries. As a vasodilator, potassium can significantly reduce blood pressure and keep your heart healthy!
Improve Respiratory Health
When it comes to clearing up a sore throat, a cough, cold, bronchitis, or any other issue that affects your respiratory system, elderberry juice might be your best choice. Like many cough syrups, they contain active ingredients (bioflavonoids like anthocyanins, to be exact) that can soothe inflammation and irritation and also act as an expectorant and clear out phlegm that can trap foreign agents in your glands. Elderberry juice is even recommended for people with asthma.
It seems like people love to discuss elderberries in relation to their effects on the immune system. They have certain antibacterial and anti-infectious qualities and is very commonly used to ward off influenza during bad seasons where it seems like everyone is catching it. Furthermore, elderberries can protect against the effects of autoimmune disorders, even alleviating certain symptoms and associated pain of AIDS.
Some of the active antioxidant ingredients in elderberries work directly on the pancreas to regulate insulin and glucose levels, either providing stability for people who suffer from diabetes or helping non-diabetics to avoid developing this terrible condition.
Improve Bone Health
While the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in elderberries can help alleviate joint pain and soreness from inflammation, the high levels of essential minerals will help promote bone strength and the development of new bone tissue. Osteoporosis is a condition that millions of people face in the later years of their life, but increasing bone density during your younger decades can delay the onset considerably.
Elderberry makes its way into a lot of cosmetic applications, primarily because the bioflavonoids in elderberries can boost your skin health. The antioxidant activity, combined with its significant levels of vitamin A, make elderberries perfect for preventing or lessening wrinkles, helping age spots to fade, and generally improving the glow and tone of your body’s largest and most visible organ!
Where can I get Elderberry
Have you checked out what herbs are in our tea blend? Check it out here. You will see we use Elderberry and other beneficial herbs to help support healthy bodies.