Elderberries seem to have it all.
This superfood has been touted as an all-around cure for most ailments and it’s not surprising as to why it is so: the elderberry - from its bark, flower, leaves, and fruit - appears to possess just the right amount of nutrients that could possibly shorten the duration of the common cold and flu, reduce your risk of developing heart disease, and maybe even prevent cancer.
Such lofty claims are pretty hard to ignore.
What is Elderberry?
Elderberry connotes to different varieties of the Sambucus tree, but it is the Sambucus nigra that is the most common. It is also known as the black elder or European elder. Other popular varieties include the antelope bush, danewort, blue elderberry, American elder, and dwarf elder.
You might have heard about elderberry only recently, but did you know that this wonder fruit has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries?
It is said that the Father of Medicine himself, Hippocrates, called the elder tree his “medicine chest” and it makes one wonder why he would give a tree such an accolade.
In olden times the elderberry tree’s flowers, leaves, and bark have been used to treat many ailments such as swelling, inflammation, pain relief, and even to induce sweating, vomiting, and to kickstart the production of urine.
Nowadays, folk medicine practitioners use berry juice or dried berries as a laxative, diuretic, and to help relieve symptoms that accompany influenza. It may also help relieve dental pain for the time being, before you set an appointment with the dentist.
Aside from its obvious medicinal benefits, the berries are abundantly used in cooking. It can be used in pie filling, turned into jam, added in soups, and as a topping in salads.
The Health Benefits of Elderberry
Those who are curious of the health benefits of elderberry will be happy to know that it is jam-packed with nutrients:
- Vitamin C
- Dietary fibre
- Phenolic acid - a known antioxidant that helps the body get rid of free radicals and cope with oxidative stress
- Flavonols - another powerful antioxidant
- Anthocyanins - the reason why the berries have such a rich, dark purple colour. It is an antioxidant that also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Alleviate Cold and Flu Symptoms
Looking to feel in top shape better rather than later when you’re hit with the common cold or the flu? Elderberry extracts may help you!
One study showed that adults who exhibited symptoms of the flu drank 15 ml of elderberry syrup four times a day noticed a significant improvement within 2 to 4 days. Those who did not take any elderberry took much longer to recover from the virus.
For frequent travellers, good news: one study observed that 312 adults who took 300 mg of elderberry extract capsules three times a day had a noticeable shortened duration of sickness. Their symptoms were also less severe.
Yet another study found that after consuming 175-mg elderberry extract lozenges for only two days, 64 adults reported feeling much better after just 24 hours. While all these findings sound very promising, the efficacy of elderberries as an immunity booster has yet to be proven in a larger scale study.
Loaded with Antioxidants
A normal part of bodily functions is the release of reactive molecules during the metabolic process. These molecules, while naturally occurring, can accumulate in the body and wreak havoc. A by-product of this process is oxidative stress and can lead to life-threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Antioxidants help the body combat oxidative stress and get rid of reactive molecules. A lot of foods have antioxidants, including elderberries. Antioxidants like flavonols, anthocyanins, and phenolic acid which is what elderberries are full of, may even help prevent chronic disease.
Out of all the berries studied (15 in all), results show that elderberry has one of the highest levels and possesses the most effective antioxidants.
May Improve Heart Health
Elderberries seem to be an all-around superfood since many have claimed that it has some positive effects on cardiovascular health. Elderberry juice is seen to lower fat levels in the blood and decrease cholesterol and a diet high in anthocyanins was noted to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Further studies still need to be conducted to prove its effectiveness but there is certainly nothing wrong with adding elderberry to your diet.
How Effective is Elderberry?
It seems to be that the elderberry’s efficacy is a tale as old as time, with many claims throughout history backing up this superfood’s seemingly miraculous healing effects on the body. However, more research and study should still be conducted to prove with basis just how beneficial the elderberry is.
With that being said, it is still prudent that you get yourself immunised against the flu.
The Bottom Line
Despite the lack of human testing and research, this superfood would make a great addition to a healthy, well-balanced diet. Its unique, tart flavour would make a great tasting jam or tea.
Enjoy the benefits of elderberry extract from our exclusively packaged freeze-dried powder delivered straight to your doorstep.