Black elder has a long history of usage in Europe, northern Africa, and parts of Asia for preventing and treating various ailments. Knowledge about its benefits was brought to America by early settlers, where they found a closely related plant called the American elder (Sambucus nigra L ssp. Canadensis) growing wild.
Native Americans also recognized the value of elderberry. They used it as medicine and different parts of the plant for other purposes, such as making blow guns, dyes, food, kindling, musical instruments, and spiles for tapping sugar maples. Additionally, they observed the elderberry’s lifecycle as an indicator of seasonal rhythms, helping them time other food harvests
Medicinally, the Native Americans commonly used the elderberry blossoms in teas or applied them topically as a salve to heal scrapes, scratches, and wounds. Whether fresh or dried, the dark purple to nearly black berries was often cooked into a sweet sauce to drink, relieving fevers and various illnesses. Thanks to elderberries’ remarkable antibacterial and antioxidant properties, they were highly effective in promoting healing.
Elderberries offer numerous benefits to immune health. However, caution should be exercised due to cyanogenic glycosides and alkaloids in these berries. Upon ingestion, these chemicals convert to hydrogen cyanide in the gastrointestinal tract.
The quantity of these glycosides varies based on the Elderberry type and growing conditions. Hence, consuming raw Elderberries is not recommended as it may lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
On the other hand, the white flowers of the Elderberry plant, known as Elderflower, can be safely consumed raw and are often utilized to flavor waters or tonics.
In the light of recent years, the appreciation for Elderberry continues to gain approval for its lucrative health benefits. Including the ability to strengthen the immune system against flu viruses. Elderberry is also the preferred treatment option during an illness over conventional medicine with harsh side effects and toxins.
Furthermore, Elderberry contains flavonoids making this berry an antioxidant-rich food, giving rise to one of the greatest strengths compared to other berries such as blueberries. In turn, Elderberry procures extraordinary usefulness to one’s health and wellness and may help reduce the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease.
What Makes Elderberry Medicinal?
Elderberry has antiviral properties that may prevent or reduce the severity of certain common infections, like cold and flu. Besides being an excellent source of vitamin C that provides 100g, which carries 60% of the daily recommended intake levels, vitamin A at 20% of RDA per 100g and B complex such as niacin pyridoxine 18% RDI/100g, aiding in the recovery from an array of ailments.
The orac value of 100g of fresh Elderberry is 10775 TE (Trolox equivalents), and its antioxidant value mainly comes from polyphenolic flavonoid compounds. Such as flavonoids isorhamnetin, kaempferol, and quercetin. These compounds assist in scavenging free oxygen radicals from the human body while protecting from cancers, premature aging, degenerative diseases, and infections.
Why are antioxidants important?
Antioxidants can neutralize free radicles, which are waste products of cells that increase oxidative stress. Free radicals can accumulate due to many stressors and insults from environmental causes, pollution, exposure to chemicals, inflammation, and ischemia.
When too many free radicals build up, cells are damaged, and inflammation results, causing heart disease, cancer, immune deficiencies, and many other acute and chronic illnesses.
Antioxidants can come in and “scavenge” or clean up the mess left by cell damage from free radicals. The body makes its antioxidants, but the best source of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables, especially “superfoods” that contain high levels of these compounds. Elderberries would be in this category.
Effective Against Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 (A/H5N1)
Elderberry’s antiviral activity on influenza is thought to be through many mechanisms of action, including suppressing the entry of the virus into the cell, modulating the post-infectious phase, and preventing viral transmission to other cells.
For instance, in the 1980s, Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, a virologist in Israel, studied the European Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra L.) from the black elder tree for its natural healing elements. Hence, centuries of inspiring noted medicinal use. Therefore, Dr. Mumcuoglu developed and patented a natural formula called Sambucol. She articulated that Elderberry had been successful in studies regarding the effectiveness of eradicating influenza.
Furthermore, Retroscreen Virology, a leading British medical research institute, announced that Elderberry was at least 99% effective against the Avian flu virus, H5N1, in cell cultures. Thus holds promise as an effective antiviral against the many strains of influenza.
- Taking Elderberry at the onset of symptoms significantly reduces the rate at which the virus can spread.
- Three flavonoids are naturally occurring plant antioxidants and a potent antiviral compound Antivirin, isolated from the Black Elderberry.
- Flavonols and Polyphenols can bind to viruses and prevent infection.
- Elderberry stimulates the immune system by increasing the production of inflammatory cytokines.
- It inhibits the early stages of the flu virus by blocking essential viral proteins responsible for both the viral attachment and entry into the host cell.
- Dramatically creates a reduction in cold and flu symptoms.
- Compelling evidence supports elderberries’ ability to fight an array of illnesses.
Elderberry Is Remarkable For But Not Limited To:
- Provides relief from the cold and flu
- Provides relief from infected sinuses
- Helps reduce congestion
- Lowers blood sugar
- Useful diuretic
- Reduces arthritis pain
- Circulatory stimulant
- Helps with reducing Asthmatic symptoms
- It helps with easing seasonal allergies.
WHAT DO ELDERBERRIES Smell and TASTE LIKE?
Elderberries are known for their tart and earthy flavor. They make a delightful combination with lemon, honey, and sweeter fruits such as oranges and peaches.
FORMS OF ELDERBERRIES
- Capsules and is currently making popularity in skincare.
Shopping for elderberry
Elderberry, one of nature’s most potent superfruits, offers remarkable immune support. When purchasing elderberry, it is essential to consider factors such as quality, variety, and sourcing. By understanding these aspects, you can make an informed decision and choose the best elderberry product for your needs. Alternatively, you can try my homemade Organic Elderberry recipe if you prefer a more hands-on approach.