Elderberry, elder, or elderflower is medically known as Sambucus nigra. It is a fruit-bearing shrub native to North America and Europe.
The fruit is commonly used in herbal medicine, for wine, or jelly while its flowers are used to make tea. Elderberry has a dark blue and purplish color with very high amounts of nutrition. This shrub grows about 10 feet and white and yellow blossoms are seen in early summer season.
This is followed by its berries that ripen in September. Elderberries also have a long history of being useful in folk medicine. For the past twenty years, its medicinal benefits have been widely researched, especially for it’s immune-boosting, antiviral, and its possible effects in weight loss.
Elderberry and its Health Benefits
Proven to Protect the Body against Influenza
The effectiveness of elderberry against influenza viruses has been proven. A study indicates that it provides protection to the body and helps fight flu viruses.
It serves as a solution to “mutating flu”, given that the majority of strains of such virus make use of the same enzyme mechanism in penetrating to cells.
Gives the Immune System a Boost
Elderberries have high flavonoid contents- these are organic compounds that have antioxidant qualities. With this, the cells in the body are protected against infections and injuries. In addition, elderberry contains vitamins A, B, and considerable amounts of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), as well as amino acids.
These nutrients allow and help the body to stay healthy by giving a boost to the immune system.
Maintains Skin Health
Flavonoids are present in elderberries, which play a crucial role for skin health. When antioxidant activity is combined with vitamin A, elderberries become capable of lessening or preventing wrinkles, therefore fading the age spots and improving the tone and glow of the largest visible organ in the human body.
Protects the Cardiovascular System
The extracts of elderberry can help lower the bad cholesterol in the body. It prevents the formation of plaques, which lead to atherosclerosis (thickening of arterial walls due to fat deposits).
When such is not prevented, there are higher risks of coronary-artery diseases, stroke, and heart attacks.
Promotes Good Blood Circulation
In 2000, a study in Free Radical Biology was published, which showed that the anthocyanins in elderberry are responsible in protecting the inner layers of blood vessels against oxidative stress.
The blood vessels’ inside membrane are known as endothelium and the study indicate that the epithelial cells absorb the anthocyanins to the membrane, thus giving a strong protection against inflammatory stressors. This results in an improved blood circulation while the risk of stroke and heart disease is greatly reduced.
Aids in Diabetes
Other active antioxidant compounds in elderberry directly work on the pancreas in order to help regulate glucose and insulin levels.
This provides stability to those who suffer from diabetes and help the non-diabetics to prevent this condition from developing.
A Natural and Organic Support to Arthritis
Both anti-inflammatory and diuretic activities of elderberry are helpful in explaining its uses in arthritic and rheumatic conditions.
Helps Regulate Bowel Activity
Elderberry in syrup form (refer to benefits and side effects) provides a positive effect in terms of regulating bowel activity, thus moderating the extremes of constipation and diarrhea.
Fights Cold and Flu
Elderberry can also greatly help in treating the symptoms of cold and flu. Such is done by lowering congestion and triggering more sweat. It has Sambucol, an elderberry extract that is comprised with other herbs and vitamin C, which is believed to shorten the term of influenza by three times.
Helps in Weight Loss
Given the high levels of dietary fiber in elderberry, and when this is coupled with the metabolism-speeding effects of solid vitamins and minerals injection, it becomes a great weight loss aid.
The fiber content keeps one from feeling full while its low calorie does not affect the intake too much. Aside from fiber and weight loss, there a dozens more benefits that one may get from elderberry!
Elderberry Syrup Benefits
- A good boost to the immune system– the syrup form of elderberry can help the body fight diseases. Vitamins A and C are also present, which are crucial in maintaining optimal health.
- Treats respiratory infections– elderberry syrup makes the symptoms of respiratory infections tolerable as it helps reduce the secretion of mucous. It also fights swelling, which lessens discomfort and makes breathing better.
Elderberry Syrup Side Effects
- Effects on blood sugar– elderberry (syrup) may have the tendency to decrease the level of blood sugar. Thus, those who are taking medicines like metformin to regulate their sugar level need to be conscious about taking the syrup.Taking the syrup together with these medicines may lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Allergic reaction– just like with other herbal remedies, allergic reaction may occur when taking elderberry syrup. Some signs would include rashes and difficulty in breathing.
- Consideration for women– elderberry may have a risk of causing premature labor, miscarriage, and birth defects. Breastfeeding and pregnant women are not advised to use elderberry.
Elderberry has been successful in the treatment and prevention of various diseases while keeping the body at its best condition. Elderberry supplements are also available and come in different forms such as extracts, syrup, capsules, and powder.
Interestingly, it can also be in a form of gummies for children, lozenges, tea, and throat sprays. With all these things and the numerous benefits that come with elderberries, Consider adding them in your daily regimen to keep your body healthy and disease-free.