With roots dating back to 400 BC, elderberries have an impressive history in supporting health, well-being, and healing. So much so that Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, referred to his elderberry tree as his miraculous “medicine chest.” The main benefit comes from the purples berries anthocyanins, an antioxidant property that helps the body be clear of free radicals. It is also rich in antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. So, should you be rushing to grow your elderberry tree?
What exactly are elderberries?
Is it just me or all the good things hiding in the hills of Europe?! While there are around 30 different elderberry trees around the world, the elderberries that grow from the ‘Sambucus nigra’ tree, found in, you guessed it, Europe, are the berries with the best medicinal benefits. This tree produces rich, purple berries that taste mostly earthly with a hint of sweetness.
The nutritional value is where the secrets to its healing properties are found. In just one small cup of the berries, there are a whopping 10 grams of fiber, 55 grams of calcium, 52 grams of vitamin c, 406 grams of potassium, and a healthy dose of antioxidants. For example, one of the antioxidants available in the plant has 3.5x more antioxidants than found in vitamin E.
Given its brilliant nutritional values, it makes sense why it’s so important to include in your diet and why it’s reached to relieve inflammation and support immune health.
What are the Health Benefits of Elderberry?
It doesn’t stop there – elderberry can impact plenty of ailments. It has been known to support constipation, headaches, fever, minor skin conditions, stress, easing inflammation, and joint and muscle pain. It can support heart health by reducing cholesterol and lowering the risk of heart disease.
There has been some scientific research about how elderberries are useful for fighting off colds and flu. However, they are smaller studies, but they all point to elderberry’s support in decreasing the longevity of the symptoms of cold and flu, making you feel a lot better.
One study of about 60 people who had influenza determined that the people who took 15 mL of elderberry syrup four times per day showed symptom improvement in 2 to 4 days, while the one who did not take elderberry took 7 to 8 days to improve. An additional study of 312 people taking airplanes to travel who took 300mg of elderberry extract 3 times every day found that the ones who got sick from the airplanes had a shorter duration of their sickness and their symptoms were not as severe as those who did not take them. This tells us it won’t prevent the cold and flu but can help when one does get sick!
Is there anything bad about elderberries?
While there is plenty of goodness, there are some potential dangers about the berry, most notably in their raw form. When raw, it can cause major problems including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, among other symptoms. This is due to the small traces of lectins. So, if you are going to have elderberries ensure they are cooked!
There are some risks for women who are pregnant, lactating, and folks on diuretics or diabetes medications.
How to use elderberries?
Commercial elderberries are always cooked, so there is no need to worry about getting sick from them! When buying elderberries, have a look at the ingredient lists to see what manufacturers are adding to the supplement to pick the most natural version.
Elderberries can be consumed as syrups, gummies, lozenges, pills, teas, and our favorite, Ingredient’s throat spray. We love a lot about the product but what we love the most about Ingredients is their consistent commitment to filling their product with the purest ingredients that are carefully and ethically sourced, with a focus on organic farms to ensure freshness and purity! The throat spray is designed to soothe any sore throat pain thanks to the high levels of elderberry paired perfectly with ginger, thyme, turmeric, honey, and more.
Eat, drink, and be Berry
The benefits of elderberry are excellent and proven as a promising supplement to help ward off illness and increase health benefits, namely thanks to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Just be sure not to eat it raw!
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