Elderberry is something I’ve heard of but don’t really know much about. Apparently it’s a very good berry to be acquainted with, as it has many health benefits. It has also been used to increase people’s health for centuries. Here are 3 health benefits of Elderberry from an article over on the Dr Axe site.
Elderberry: Natural Medicine for Colds, Flus, Allergies & More
Looking for a natural remedy that has a very long history of medicinal use? There’s evidence that the elderberry may have been cultivated by prehistoric man. There are also recipes for elderberry-based medications dating back to Ancient Egypt.
However, most historians typically trace its healing abilities back to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the “father of medicine,” who described the plant as his “medicine chest” because of the wide array of health concerns it seemed to cure. (1) Whether we’re talking cavemen, ancient Egyptians or ancient Greeks, this natural remedy definitely goes way back, so it’s no wonder it’s known as one of the top antiviral herbs on the planet.
3 Health Benefits of Elderberry
1. Major Cold and Flu Relief
Elderberries are an excellent general immune system booster. The berries contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins, which are known to have immunostimulant effects. Is elderberry good for a cold? Research actually shows that elderberry extract is a safe, efficient and cost-effective treatment for both cold and flu symptoms.
A 2016 study published in Nutrients showed that elderberry supplementation can reduce the duration and symptoms of a cold in air travelers. Travelers using this herb from 10 days before travel until four to five days after arriving overseas experienced, on average, a two-day shorter duration of their colds and also a noticeable reduction in cold symptoms. (4)
Several studies have demonstrated that elder extract is highly effective in mitigating flu-like symptoms. Specifically, the flavonoids in the elderberry extract bind to the H1N1 human influenza virus as well as the H5N1 avian influenza virus.
A 2009 study randomized patients into two groups: One group was given four doses of 175-milligram proprietary elderberry extract daily, and the other group received a placebo daily for two days. The extract-treated group showed significant improvement in most flu symptoms, while the placebo group showed no improvement or an increase in severity of symptoms. Researchers conclude that the extract is effective in controlling influenza symptoms. (5)
2. Sinus Infection Aid
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. (7)
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3. Ease Allergies
The flowers of the elder plant are known to be an effective herbal allergy remedy. Since allergies involve an overreaction of the immune system as well as inflammation, elderberry’s ability to improve the immune system and calm inflammation can help provide allergy relief.
Some herbalists put black elder flower on the list of most effective herbs used for treating hay fever-like symptoms. It can be used for allergies on its own or in combination with other herbs. Elderflower is also said to act as a detoxification aid by enhancing liver function. (13)
That’s some amazing health benefits of Elderberry! Who knew it was such a great plant? Have you ever used Elderberries?