Why Elderberry (also called: Sambucus Nigra)? Known for its healing properties this dark berry grows wild all over North America, Asia and Europe. It has been used for centuries in ancient Egyptian and Greek times! It is high in vitamin C, vit A, vit B6, iron and potassium.
Elderberry has many health benefits such as…
Preventing Cold and Flu
This berry is high in anthocyanins. These pigments are responsible for the dark blue-black color, and prevent viruses from reproducing and infecting new cells. They also kill bacteria that cause chest and respiratory infections. Elderberry increases your immune system, making it more efficient and fast acting when dealing with foreign viruses! It reduces cold and flu symptoms by up to 3-4 days. This berry also prevents the H1N1 infection of cells in vitro as compared to the pharmaceutical Tamiflu(1).
Lowering Blood Sugar
Both the elderflower and the berry have traditionally been used to treat diabetes. Research has confirmed that extracts of elderflower stimulate glucose metabolism and the secretion of insulin, lowering blood sugar levels. Basically the berry helps bring sugar into cells and out of the blood stream(2).
This berry helps elimination by promoting urination and bowel movements(3). It also helps you detox and release fluids if you are swelling, constipated or have edema.
Encourages Healthy Skin
Elderberry is rich in antioxidants and high in vit A, which is good for healthy skin. The antioxidant anthocyanin also has anti-inflammatory effects, that will help with rosacea and acne. Research has found this antioxidant may improve the skin’s structure and condition as well(4).
Elderberry’s flowers can improve the immune system, calm inflammation, and can provide relief for allergies. It is one of the most potent herbs used for treating hay fever-like symptoms. It can be used for allergies on its own or in combination with other herbs. Elderflower is also said to help the liver detoxify, which has a HUGE roll in allergies!(5).
How to Use Elderberry
Elderberry can be purchased in many forms at your local health store or online. Ten ways to use Elderberry are:
Jelly and jams
When it comes to colds, flu and upper respiratory issues, elderberry syrup is very popular. Kids love it because the syrup is sweet :) Elderberry tea is another great option. You can either buy teabags or you can purchase dried berries or flowers and make a tea by combining 1 tablespoon of berries or flowers with 8 ounces of water. Generally it is safe to take for children and adults.
Note: 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. Also caution with autoimmunity, or if you are on any medications, specifically heart meds, diuretics or immunosuppressants.