The day, 9 years ago, that I started to feel a true “flu” coming on while at my most high pressure job before setting out on my own completely, set me into a total panic. I literally couldn’t go home with everything that rested on my shoulders and as much as I dreamed of a vacation, a vacation with a fever in my bed was not the dream.
I rushed to the local healthfood store for extra vitamins and was handed a giant bottle of elderbery syrup by a nutrition specialist on staff. She told me I could basically take it all day if I was really sick and it could only help. I consulted my doctors and everyone was pro-berry so, I went for it.
After swilling elderbery syrup (which is so delicious, by the way) I was well by the next day 100%, watching as people dropped out of the office with the flu for the next days and weeks to follow.
Since then, I take elderberry syrup at the first notice of anything amiss in my immune system. I’ve given it to the dogs when they’ve had colds, I’ve used it as a preventative measure when travelling a ton… and it’s both delicious and awesomely effective. In fact, I’m grabbing a new bottle today, and as I do, it’s time for some elderberry wellness!
Could it be that we can do more to prevent the flu and big seasonal colds? It seems that… yes!… we can!
Wellness Mama did a profile on elderberries that is impressive in it’s claim that elberberries can be better than a flu shot in preventing the flu:
“Extensive research shows that elder stop the production of hormone-like cytokines that direct a class of white blood cells known as neutrophils to cause inflammation, especially in influenza and arthritis. On the other hand, elder increases the production non-inflammatory infection-fighting cytokines as much as 10 fold. Elderberries are known to be effective against eight strains of influenza. This suggests that elder be superior to vaccines in preventing flu, because flu vaccines are only effective against known strains of flu, whereas the virus is continually mutating to new strains.”
The botanical name for the elderberry bush is Sambucus Canadensis. These bushes are part of the honeysuckle family and are mostly found in the United States and Canada.
Here’s some interesting research reported on elderberries and their medicinal uses.
My first stop for straight up medical advice on the Internet is Web MD, which I consult cautiously so as to not incite my own paranoia about illnesses! I love that they also endorse the potential of the elderberry:
“Elderberry is used for “the flu” (influenza), H1N1 “swine” flu, HIV/AIDS, and boosting the immune system. It is also used for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).”
Herb Wisdom explains that the properties of the elderberry berries as well as flowers are super-charged antioxidants:
“Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.”
A study from the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany proved that the properties of the elderberry increase the production of cytokines which boosts the immune system. Thus, consuming elderberries can prevent sickness and disease. (more HERE) And…in a study in 2011, researchers at Justus-Liebig University in Geissen, Germany showed that liquid extract from elderberries inhibited the growth of influenza A and B which are know to be causes for upper respiratory infections. (more HERE)
So, what if you’ve already caught a cold or feel something coming on?
I’ve used elderberry syrup to get well faster (at least that’s what I’ve thought!) and it turns out I was right! The bottle shown above (you can find it HERE) is the one that I took on the fateful day I beat a bad cold/flu many years ago.
Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel, found that taking elderberry can prevent the spread of an infection and can aso help the body heal faster. As reported here by Unabiologicals, “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.”
So… how do you try elderberries?
You can find dried elderflowers and elderberries HERE at Mountain Rose Herbs. (They are a great resource for dried organic flowers and essential oils and all things related to natural beauty, herbs and wellness.)
I’ve also found pure Elderberry syrup (nothing added, it’s delicious) at Wholefoods and other natural markets.
THIS Mommypotamus recipe for Elderberry syrup is great if you can’t find some in a local whole food shop.
Herbal throat spray HERE from Wellness Mama is full of elderberry power.
You can also make your own Elderberry tea from elderflowers HERE.
Please note my disclaimer: I am certainly not a doctor and none of this replaces medical care and the advice of your doctor. I asked my own doctor before taking elderberries and all supplements.
I’m a big fan of sharing the best ways for you to thrive, and if this berry can be if big use to you, that’s incredibly joyous wellness! Here’s to happy & healthy seasons ahead! xoxo Dana
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