Health benefits of elderberry
Elderberry is known as one of the top antiviral herbs on the planet. This medicinal berry is a real powerhouse for good health. Health benefits of the elder plant include naturally improving colds, the flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, chronic fatigue, allergies, constipation and even cancer.
Let’s find out more about this super berry.
The berries and flowers of the elder plant are used as medicine.
European elder flowers contain approximately 0.3% of an essential oil composed of free fatty acids and alkanes: the triterpenes alpha- and beta-amyrin, ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, betulin, betulinic acid and a variety of other minor components. Elderberry fruit contains quercetin, kaempferol, rutin, phenolic acids and anthocyanins. Elderberry also contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties helping prevent cellular damages, and anthocyanidins, chemical compounds that are known to have immunostimulant effects. Elderberry is higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries and blackberries.
The raw berries are made up of 80% water, 18% carbohydrates, and less than 1% each of protein and fat. Elderberries are very high in vitamins C, A, B6, iron and potassium, among other essential nutrients.
You can consume elderberry in the forms of tea, wine, juice, jelly and jams, syrup, ointments, astringent, infusions, sprays, lozenges, pills, liquids, powder or capsules.
8 health benefits of elderberry
1. Major cold and flu relief
Elderberries incredibly boost general immune system. The berries contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins, which have immunostimulant effects. Elderberry extract has been shown to be a safe, efficient and cost-effective treatment for both cold and flu symptoms. According to a 2016 study published in Nutrients, elderberry supplementation can reduce the duration and symptoms of a cold in air travelers.
Several studies have demonstrated that elderberry extract is very effective in controlling influenza. According to another study published in the Journal of International Medical Research, when the extract is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, it can reduce the duration of flu with symptoms being relieved on an average of 4 days earlier.
2. Help fight sinus infection
Elderberry can help sinus issues due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A sinus infection is a condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed, and this antiviral herb works as a sinus infection natural remedy.
3. Lower blood sugar
Both the flower and the berry have traditionally been used to treat diabetes. According to research, extracts of elderflower stimulate glucose metabolism and the secretion of insulin, lowering blood sugar levels.
4. Natural diuretic
Elder has been shown to promote both urination and bowel moments. Studies have proved that elderberry has natural diuretic effects.
5. Natural laxative
Elderberry also helps with constipation. According to the results of a study, a compound commonly used in Brazil to treat constipation, which contains elderberry, is an effective natural laxative for the treatment of constipation. However, there are currently no studies confirming that elderberry alone can be a remedy for constipation relief, so more research is needed.
6. Encourage healthy skin
Elderberry is often used in cosmetic products. This berry high in bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and vitamin A, is awesome for skin health. Researchers suspect that a compound found in the elderberry could give a natural boost to skin.
7. Ease allergies
The flowers of the elder plant are known to be an effective herbal allergy remedy. Allergies involve an overreaction of the immune system as well as inflammation, and elderberry’s ability to improve the immune system and calm inflammation can help provide allergy relief. Some herbalists consider a black elder flower one of the most effective herbs for treating hay fever-like symptoms. It can be used for allergies on its own or in combination with other herbs. Elderflower can also help in detoxification by enhancing liver function.
8. May help prevent cancer
Elderberry extract is rich in anthocyanins and have been shown to have a broad spectrum of therapeutic, pharmacologic and anti-carcinogenic properties. Laboratory studies specifically indicate that elderberry has some chemopreventive properties. A chemopreventive inhibits, delays or reverses cancer formation. According to one study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, extracts from both European and American elderberry fruit demonstrated significant chemopreventive potential. Plus, the American elder extract showed inhibition of ornithine decarboxylase, which is an enzyme marker related to the promotion stage of cancer formation. These findings indicate the potential as a natural cancer treatment option.
Precautions and possible interactions
Ripe, cooked berries of elderberry tree are edible. However, you should not consume raw berries or other parts of the plant since they contain a cyanide-inducing chemical. Eating uncooked berries can result in diarrhea and vomiting. Occasionally, elderflowers and elderberries cause allergic reactions. If you have a mild allergic reaction, stop using the remedy, and if you have a serious allergic reaction, go to the hospital.
You should not give elderberry products to a child before consulting a pediatrician. If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, don’t take it, too. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, consult with your doctor before taking elderberry because it may stimulate the immune system. People with organ transplants should not take elderberry as well.
Use elderberry properly for short periods of time (up to five days) to minimize the risk of side effects.
If you currently take any of the following medications, you should talk to your doctor before taking any elder plant products:
• Diabetes medications
• Diuretics (water pills)
• Immune-supressing drugs, including corticosteroids (prednisone), and medications used to treat autoimmune diseases
• Theophylline (TheoDur)