Elderberry: Benefits and Uses
Elderberry is an antioxidant rich, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory plant. Discover the powerful benefits including flu prevention, the variety of different ways you can use elderberry as well as where to buy it!
So, what is an Elderberry?
Originally found in Europe, Elderberry is one of the most common plants used for a variety of natural remedies and has been for centuries. While the cooked berries are incredibly medicinal, the raw berries, leaves and even the bark of the bush can be poisonous and cause stomach issues. The delicate white flowers can be eaten cooked or raw. The berries, however, are quite tart and must be cooked before consumption (source).
In modern day, it is most commonly used as a supplement in either syrup or tea form. Historically, it was and still is used to make jams, muffins, pies, chutney and even wine (source)!
Benefits of Elderberry
High in Nutrients & Antioxidants
In 100 grams of elderberries there is:
- 6-35 grams of Vitamin C
- 7 grams of fiber
- Phenolic acids (an antioxidants that helps fight against oxidative stress)
- Flavonols (flavonols quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin are antioxidants found in both the berry and the flower)
- Anthocyanins (powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants that have 3.5 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E)
Prevents and Relieves Influenza
Elderberry has been found to be effective at preventing or curing at least eight types of influenza (flu) (source). Along with this, it disrupts the pathways that lead to inflammation caused by the flu and even arthritis. It also prevents viruses from penetrating the cell barrier of healthy cells stopping the spread of the virus or preventing it from taking root in the body all together.
It can also significantly reduce recovery time. One study found that participants who took 15 ml of Elderberry syrup 405 times per day recovered in just 2-4 days! The placebo group took 7-9 days to recover (source).
A different study looked at individuals who took lozenges with 175ml of Elderberry per serving. After just 24 hours, participants demonstrated improvement in all symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches and nasal congestion (source).
“In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover” (source).
Helps Relieve Constipation
Elderberry tea has been found to increase the frequency of stools passed in a day (source).
Multiple human and rat studies have found that Elderberry can reduce the levels of fat in blood, lower cholesterol in the liver and aorta, lower blood pressure, increase insulin secretion and improve blood sugar levels (source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Elderberry Syrup: you can buy the syrup online or make it yourself using fresh or dried Elderberries! I really like the Garden of Life Elderberry Syrup because it is completely organic, comes in a glass jar and also includes zinc, vitamin C and rosemary for extra immune boosting, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects.
Elderberry Tea: steep dried Elderberries and/or Elder flowers for an immune boosting, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory tea. I like to add my favorite superfood honey from Beekeepers Naturals which includes propolis, bee pollen and royal jelly! You can also purchase Elderberry tea online.
Baking: Use dried Elderberries in muffins/pancakes/breads instead of blueberries
Topping: You can also use pure Elderberry syrup either purchased or homemade on pancakes, waffles etc.
Jam: Try making jam or purchasing premade Jam for an extra healthy topping on pancakes, waffles, breads, etc.