The next time you’re sick, before reaching for cold medicine, why not try elderberry? Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is an herbal plant that grows in many parts of the world. The berries are edible and have been used for thousands of years as a remedy to treat colds and other illnesses due to their antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Here are the top five reasons to take elderberry:
1) Elderberry & Colds
Elderberry is a natural remedy for colds and can help you recover faster. It can help prevent and ease the symptoms of the common cold, such as sore throat, coughing and congestion. Elderberry also helps boost the immune system by increasing production of white blood cells that help fight germs in your body. In fact, in a recent randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial (participants are randomly assigned to a group where one group receives elderberry medicine and the other a placebo that offers no benefits. Neither the participants nor researchers know which group participants are part of) of 312 air passengers; those in the group treated with elderberry reported a shorter duration of cold symptoms than the placebo group.
2) Elderberry for Allergies
Elderberry is rich in antioxidants, which are good for your health because they help fight off free radicals that can cause inflammation or cell damage. These antioxidants include phenols, anthocyanins, flavonoids and caffeic acid derivatives, all of which have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as antiviral properties. Elderberry is also rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that has been shown to reduce allergy symptoms. Because it is rich in antioxidants, elderberry is a potent anti-inflammatory. Elderberry helps to reduce cytokines, which are a substance in the body that causes inflammation.
3) Elderberry & Flu
Elderberry can help your body fight off flu viruses. Like vitamin C, elderberry extract is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can damage cells and DNA. Free radicals are produced when the body’s immune system reacts to invading viruses or bacteria.
In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 60 patients suffering from influenza, researchers examined the effects of 15mL of elderberry syrup vs placebo. The control group reported on average having symptom relief four days earlier than the placebo group.
4) Elderberry for Respiratory Symptoms
Elderberries can help you breathe easier and feel better. Elderberry has been shown to improve respiratory symptoms in people with the flu and other respiratory illnesses. In a meta-analysis (report that assesses the findings of independent studies) of 180 participants, researchers found that black elderberry significantly reduced upper respiratory symptoms. This led them to believe elderberry could be used as an alternative to antibiotics for treating upper respiratory symptoms from viral infections, including the common cold and influenza.
5) Elderberry & Viral Infections
Elderberry is known for its antibacterial and antiviral actions in the body. In one study, researchers found that elderberry extract could inhibit the replication of influenza A and B viruses in human cells. This makes it an effective treatment for viral infections such as colds, flu and sinusitis.
Elderberry Side Effects and Precautions
While there are no known side effects of elderberry, it has been known to interact with other medications, herbs and foods. It is also possible for elderberry to interact with other supplements or medical conditions. Therefore you may wish to speak to your health care provider before taking this supplement.
Taking this herb can help reduce the risk of colds and flu. However, if you have a medical condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, kidney or liver disease, talk to your doctor before taking elderberry.
Which Elderberry Syrup Is Best?
When shopping for an elderberry supplement, it’s important that you choose one that’s of high quality, potent and in a format that is most beneficial. Elderberry syrup has been researched the most and is the most potent format of this supplement. Sambucol Family Anti-Viral Flu Care Liquid is great for the whole family and offers 1.83g of elderberry per 5ml. The dose can be altered depending on the age of your family member which is outlined on the label. Sambucol is the original black elderberry supplement and provides a proprietary elderberry extract that’s been published in clinical studies. Therefore, you know you’re getting a high-quality, trusted supplement every time.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.