One of the things I enjoy about writing is the freedom to write not only on health and fitness, but also on a wide variety of topics as well. I talk a lot about healthy foods and what they can do for your body but today I wanna talk about a supplement.
I know, I know. A supplement. It’s not my usual style for sure but this one I think bears examining a little.
Here in the states, the flu right now is extremely serious. You can’t see the news without more awful stories coming out about people dying, many are children.
This supplement kept coming to me in a variety of ways so I figured I needed to investigate it further. I will always encourage real, whole food sources over supplements, but I believe this supplement is most likely easier for people to get their hands on, thus receiving the benefits.
I’ve been reading about elderberries, and how they can actually help slow the virus or cut the duration shorter.
What are elderberries?
Elderberries are the fruit of the flowering plant known as Sambucus, more commonly referred to as elder or elderflower.
You will mainly find elderberries in the Northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America, although some southern species are grown in Australia. The berries are black or very dark blue and have a sharp, sweet flavor that makes them highly preferred for desserts, syrups, jams, jellies, spreads, and as the base for various cocktails and drinks.
Since most of the berries in the genus 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, which can build up in your body and eventually kill you, so be careful! ( how’s that for a fun and random fact??) if you decide to buy elderberries make sure you get them in a licensed reputable store. Don’t pick and eat wild berries as not all are safe to eat.
However, despite the implicit risks of elderberries, they are packed with beneficial nutrients, so they have been a part of traditional medicine for hundreds of years and some health benefits have become more commonly acknowledged. We’ll look at some of those below.
Elderberry actually has a very long history of medicinal use. Most historians typically trace it’s healing power back to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the father of medicine and who described the plant as his “medicine chest” due to the wide array of health concerns it seemed to cure.
Used for its antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
Do I have your attention now? It certainly grabbed mine when I started reading about it.
Health benefits of the elder plant
It naturally improves colds, the flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, allergies, chronic fatigue, and constipation.
Get this… studies have shown when used within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, the extract has actually been found to reduce the duration of the flu with symptoms being relieved on average 4 days sooner.
During the ’95 flu epidemic the government actually employed the use of elderberry to fight the flu.
Elderberry has been the subject of numerous studies that shows it can actually decrease the duration and symptoms of the influenza virus. The high levels of antioxidants present in the extract are able to interfere with the activity of the virus itself.
Wait.. there’s more….
when it comes to antioxidants power, elderberry is higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries!
Elderberries are an excellent general immune system booster. Elderberry extract has been shown to be a safe, efficient and cost effective treatment for colds and flu.
With elderberries anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it naturally helps clear and heal sinus issues.
Other ways it has been used and has benefits include:
It can help lower blood sugar, it’s a natural diuretic and laxative, and with it’s antioxidants and flavonoids as well as its high Vitamin A content, it makes it excellent for skin health.
The high levels of essential minerals help promote bone strength and development of new bone tissue.
Where do I get this super power food/supplement ?
As mentioned above, if you buy the berries, make sure they are from a reliable source. They offer many health benefits, including a high dose of daily fiber.
However, you can buy supplements that come in the forms of syrups, lozenges, and capsules. Dosing varies for each so it’s important you follow the directions on the package. These products can be found at local health and wellness stores or purchased online. These supplements as mentioned when taken accordingly can help with colds and flu.
Of course, if you feel like doing it, you can always make your own syrups from the berries.
Are there any side effects?
As with any herbal remedy it’s important to be aware of anything unusual you may experience. Signs of reactions could be a rash or difficulty breathing. Both should have immediate medical care. As mentioned it’s a diuretic so if you have kidney problems you may need to stay away from it.
This post is not meant as medical treatment or to suggest not using all available healthcare to keep you and your family well. It was intended to inform and educate to help alongside your health care choices. There is enough research to support elderberry helping with colds and flu that I thought it was relevant enough in this time to share with you.
Share with me. Have you tried this? If so, what has been your experience?