What is Elderberry? A complete scientific guide

If you've had a cold or flu lately, elderberry is a typical treatment. Elderberries, Adoxaceae shrubs, combat viruses (but you may sometimes hear it referred to as an elderberry tree). The most widespread variation, Sambucus nigra, is from Europe and North America, although several closely related species are found worldwide in temperate zones. Flowers produce elderberries.

These berries are used in wine, desserts, pie filling, and antiviral medicine.

Elderflowers may be eaten or cooked to make tea or liquor.

The Holy Tree, or elderberry tree, was believed to provide good health and extend life in the Middle Ages. Elderberries on windowsills were believed to keep off vampires, while the leaves warded off witches and spirits.

Elderberries were essential to medicine before antibiotics. The whole plant, from roots to leaves to bark, was thought to treat a variety of diseases, including toothaches, fevers, and other pains. Native North Americans treasured the berries for their nutrients.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) berries are used as a liquid, gummy, or tablet supplement to cure colds and flu. These fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanins, which combat viruses and inflammation.

Elderberries may have Positive Effects on Health

In traditional medicine, elderberry was used for a wide variety of diseases, including pain relief, cough treatment, skin care, insect repellant, asthma, shortness of breath, and edoema. However, at the present time, these advantages are just theoretical since there has not been nearly enough human study to determine whether elderberry is helpful for any of these purposes.

Protects Against Influenza

You're well aware of the need for regular hand washing, especially during flu season. On the other hand, animal studies indicate that elderberry may provide an additional line of protection against disease. Experimental research in mice suggested drinking elderberry juice increased antibody production and helped the body's immune system fight against the influenza A virus.

Using cell cultures, scientists have found that elderberry extract can kill off influenza A and B viruses and Streptococcus bacteria. However, they are neither living beings nor laboratory dishes. Although anecdotal evidence suggests elderberry tea may help with respiratory ailments, including the common cold, sinusitis, and bronchitis, more rigorous human testing is required.

Protects Against Catching Colds

Even though more people in the placebo group caught colds, the authors emphasized that the difference was not statistically significant. The positive side is that those who took elderberry had shorter colds (by two days) and milder symptoms. Researchers speculate that the antioxidant qualities of elderberry, similar to vitamin C, "stabilize" one's health when travelling.

Defends Against Concurrent Infections

The antioxidant plant chemicals phenolic acids and flavonoids are responsible for the antibacterial activities seen in elderberry extract, albeit additional research is needed, especially into the implications for humans.

Boosts Metabolic Fitness

Elderberry extracts, which are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, were highlighted in another evaluation for their potential to lower triglyceride levels and liver fat while increasing insulin sensitivity. Because these studies were conducted only on animals, elderberry should not be used in place of standard medical care.

Elderberry juice has been related to decreased body fat, lower blood pressure, and overall well-being, according to the review's lone research citation. However, they stressed the necessity for more clinical studies.

Dangers and Benefits of Elderberries

Only cooked, ripe elderberries are safe to consume. Elderberry may interfere with your medications. Cyanide poisoning by eating bark, leaves, seeds, or immature fruit may induce stomach distress and vomiting.

Moderation is crucial to safe berry eating. Only purple and blue berries are edible. Other elderberries have deadly red berries.

Elderberries may interfere with medical therapy.

If you take any prescription medicine, including those for high blood pressure (elderberry products may lower blood pressure, increasing the drug's impact), chemotherapy (elderberry may enhance adverse effects), or diabetes, see your doctor before using elderberry products (they may alter insulin secretion). Elderberry may interfere with other drugs and supplements, so tell your doctor about everything you take.

Elderberry has shown promise in flu trials, but larger research are needed. Experts advise avoiding treating upper respiratory tract infections in pregnant individuals with elderberry.

How to Pick and Keep Elderberries Fresh

As a supplement is the most likely route to take, elderberry will be consumed. These can be found in a variety of forms, including candies, liquids or drinks, syrups, lozenges, dry, and capsules.

Elderberry jelly, jam, and wine are also available on the web and in certain retailers. The flavour is balanced between sweet and sour and is rather delicious.

Food Supplements Containing Elderberries

Sugar is added to elderberry gummies, but they're still delicious. You may purchase pills (like Nature's Way Sambucus) that combine elderberry with zinc and vitamin C, which may have an immune-boosting effect.

However, elderberry is not the only possible active component in dietary supplements. Check the formula's contents label to see what active and inactive substances it has, then pick the one that works best for you. These, like other vitamins, should be kept in a cold, dry area. Keep in mind, nevertheless, that there is no evidence that elderberry supplements are both safe and helpful.

Elderberry Jelly

Elderberry jelly and jam may be found in some rural stores and on the internet; treat it similarly to other jellies and jams when it comes to storage and consumption. Elderberry concentrate, which may be added to water, is another option. (Two examples of such internet retailers are Wyldewood Cellars and Vitacost.)

Juice from Elderberries

Elderberry juice is available from Biotta Naturals and may be purchased on the internet. Keep in mind that sugar is typically added to elderberry juice to make it more palatable. About 150 calories and 34 g of sugar may be found in a single serving (much of this is natural sugar from the fruit).

Red Wine Made From Elderberries

There is also elderberry available in the form of wine, albeit it is not known whether or not this beverage has the same potential health advantages as elderberry extract. Elderberry wine, either produced exclusively from elderberries or in mixes with other berries, may be found at several vineyards and their linked web stores. Fruity and lively, elderberry wine may be sipped like a fine port. Elderberry wine may be made at home with the help of one of the many accessible tutorials on YouTube if you're willing to get your hands filthy.