Nowadays we are surrounded with so many pharmaceutical drugs which serve in the treatment of various ailments. However, most of these medications show side effects which can do more harm than good for the body.
For that reason, many people turn to the use of natural remedies which can be as effective as the pharmaceutical ones. One of those natural remedies is the use of elderberry for which there have been evidence that it has been used even in prehistoric times. Nonetheless, many historians trace its healing abilities back to Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” who described the plant as his “medicine chest” due to the wide range of health benefits that this plant can offer to the human body.
The health advantages that elderberry offers are more commonly used in the treatment of allergies, inflammation, constipation, colds, flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, chronic fatigue, and even cancer. In the case of flu, if it is used within the first 48 hours, its extract can lower the duration of the flu and as a result of that during the 1995 Panama flu epidemic, the government used this plant in the fight against flu.
In addition to this, elderberry is packed with antioxidants, namely it is higher in flavonoids than blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and goji berries.
8 Health Advantages of Elderberry
Helps Sinus Infection
Due to the elderberry’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant features it is of great assistance in the treatment of sinus issues. This antiviral herb is a great remedy for the treatment of a sinus infection because it soothes the cavities around the nasal passages which are inflamed.
The efficacy of elderberry flowers have been proven in a study carried out by the Institute of Complementary Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland. This was revealed by using Sinupret, a propriety product that contains elderberry flowers. In this study the researchers have given Sinupret to patients in the treatment of bacterial sinusitis along with an antibiotic (doxycycline or vibramycin) and a decongestant. The other group of patients that did not use Sinupret showed drastically lower positive effects in the treatment of this disease.
Cold and Flu Relief
This plant can efficiently treat symptoms of flu and cold because of its ability to boost the immune system. Namely, it contains chemical compounds known as anthocyanidins, which offer immune stimulant effects.
As per a conducted study in 2016 released in Nutrients, elderberry supplementation can lower the duration and symptoms of a cold in air travelers. People who travel used this plant 10 days before their travel and 4 -5 days after their arrival in overseas countries. They all reported reduction in their cold symptoms, and the duration of their cold was short for a day or two.
Other studies have also confirmed its efficacy in relieving flu symptoms due to the presence of flavonoids in the elderberry extract which binds to the H1N1 human influenza virus as well as the H5N1 avian influenza virus.
In a 2009 study patients with influenza and flu were divided into two groups. The first group received 4 doses of 175-milligram proprietary elderberry extract every day, and the second group received a placebo for two days in a row. The results of the first group were much better in relieving flu symptoms while the second one showed no improvement or even an increase in severity of symptoms. This research only confirmed elderberry’s ability to control influenza symptoms.
The released study in the Journal of International Medical Research was the one that revealed that the extract of elderberry if used within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, it will shorten the duration of flu symptoms which in an average last for four days.
The flowers of the elder plant can offer allergy relief due to its ability to boost the immune system and calm the current inflammation. Therefore, it can be a very efficient herbal allergy remedy. Elderflower can also act as a detox agent by stimulating liver function.
On the other hand,black elder flower is very effective herb used for the treatment of hay fever-like symptomsaccording to many herbalists. This herb can treat allergies on its own or in combination with other herbs.
Promotes Healthy Skin
Thanks to the rich content of vitamin A, bioflavonoids and antioxidants, elderberry is great for boosting the health of the skin. As a result of that it is widely used in many cosmetic products. As per researchers a compound found in the elderberry is accountable for the promotion of healthy skin.
Reduces Blood Sugar
Diabetics are very much familiar with this plant as the flower and the berry are very beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels. According to a research the extracts of elderflower stimulate the metabolism of glucose and the secretion of insulin thereby reducing blood sugar levels.
As per another research released in the Journal of Nutrition black elderberry acts as insulin. In the study was discovered that an aqueous extract of elder substantially improved glucose transport, glucose oxidation and glycogenesis without any added insulin.
Glycogenesis is a process that clears out the excess sugar of the bloodstream and in that way keeps normal blood sugar.
Elderberry supports urination and bowel moments which are very important for the older generation. According to conducted studies elderberry or Sambucus shows natural diuretic effects. If the body retains fluid, then doctors commonly prescribe some diuretic.
It is believed that elderberry can be very helpful with constipation as well. In Brazil it was used a compound that treated constipation, and this compound contained elderberry. According to the results of the study the elder-centric remedy is an effective natural laxative for the treatment of constipation. There are still no studies isolating elderberry for constipation relief and because of that more research is needed.
Beneficial in the fight against cancer
Elderberry extract is high in anthocyanins which show a wide range of therapeutic, pharmacologic and anti-carcinogenic properties. According to laboratory studies elderberry reveals some chemopreventive properties which hamper, delay or reverse cancer formation.
A released study in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed, and as well as compared the anticancer properties of the European and American elderberry fruits. The European elderberry known as Sambucus nigra reveals medicinal properties and has in its content nthocyanins, flavonoids and other polyphenolicswhich contribute to the high-antioxidant power. On the other hand, the American elderberry known as Sambucuscanadensis is not grown or promoted as a medicinal herb.
In this study were taken extracts from both berries which were tested for their anticancer potential. The good news is that both extractshowed substantial chemopreventive potential. The American elder extract demonstrated inhibition of ornithine decarboxylase, which is an enzyme marker connected to the promotion stage of cancer formation. These findings reveal the potential of this plant as a natural cancer treatment option.
In order to gain the benefits of elderberry you can use it in 14 ways and it can be bought in any local health store or online.
Here it is how it can be taken:
Jelly and jams
In the case of flu, colds, and upper respiratory issues, the use of elderberry syrup is very common. You can buy this syrup but as well as make it by yourself. Here is the recipe:
Recipe of Homemade Elderberry Syrup
2 cups of dried elderberries, organic
1 tablespoon of fresh or dried ginger root, organic
5 cups of cold water
1 teaspoon of organic cinnamon powder / 1 cinnamon stick
1 cup of raw honey
Take a saucepan and in it add the water and then the elderberries, ginger and cinnamon. Once you bring the mixture at its boiling point, lower the heat and simmer it covered for around 40 to 45 minutes or till you notice that the liquid has reduced by about half. After that turn off the heat and mash the berries.
Strain the solution through a cheesecloth or strainer into a glass bowl. If you opt for cheesecloth, make certain to squeeze out the juice. In the end, include the honey and stir everything nicely till you get a homogenous texture. Transfer the solution in a sterilized glass container.
You can as well as consume elderberry tea which will also bring benefits for your body. You can use teabags or use dried berries or flowers and with it prepare a super healthy tea. Mix 1 tablespoon of berries or flowers with 8 ounces of water, and your tea is ready!
If you do not like tea, then drink elderberry juice, which is sweet, tart and refreshing. However, have in mind not to buy the one containing excessive amounts of added sugar.