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Elderberry Benefits: 6 Ways This Medicinal Plant Can Improve Your Health

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Elderberry benefits range from immunity support to improving your skin health! From helping to support our immune system, to promoting skin health and treating infections, the elderberry has earned its spot as one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world.  This dark purple fruit has been used for centuries as a traditional remedy for helping to treat colds and other infections. Today, elderberry products such as syrups, lozenges and gummies have become increasingly more popular as people are using them as a natural remedy to help support their immune system. Learn more about elderberry benefits and what to look for when purchasing an elderberry product.

When we say elderberry, we are actually referring to multiple varieties of black and blue berries that come from the indigenous Sambucus tree. There are all sorts of elderberries, though the most common is the European elderberry, or Sambucus nigra. Throughout history, people have used different parts of the elderberry tree. For instance, the leaves and flowers are great for pain relief, while the bark has been used as a laxative. Knowing the difference between the parts of the elderberry is very important. Today’s elderberry benefits focus on the literal berries themselves!

Elderberry Benefits: 6 Ways This Medicinal Plant Can Improve Your Health

6 Reasons to Take Elderberry

1. Elderberries may help improve cold and flu symptoms.

This is the most well-known elderberry benefit today. Elderberries have a strong link to helping support the immune system. These little black berries have been shown to decrease the length and severity of the flu. A five-day study of 60 adult patients experiencing flu symptoms found that the subjects who were given elderberry syrup saw their symptoms go away roughly four days earlier than those who took the placebo syrup. While the subjects who received the elderberry had improvement in their symptoms in just two to four days on average, the other group took as much as eight days to see improvement! The use of rescue medication, for symptom relief, was also significantly less in the elderberry extract group.

Another study using elderberry extract found that those who got sick after air travel and took elderberry capsules experienced less severe cold symptoms and had a shorter illness duration than the control group that did not take elderberry.

Elderberries have also been helpful in treating flu symptoms. A two-day study of 64 people found that those who took elderberry extract lozenges had major improvements in their flu symptoms. In just 24 hours, they felt relief in bothersome symptoms like headache, fever, and nasal congestion.

While these results are promising, more studies will be needed to confirm if elderberries may be able to do as much as prevent the flu, too.

2. Elderberries are high in vitamin C.

Let’s face it. We all could use some vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and antioxidant that is most known for strengthening your body’s natural defenses. Getting more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by as much as 30%. Elderberries pack a nice vitamin C punch; per 100 grams of elderberry fruit, you can obtain up to 60% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. 

3. Elderberries are high in antioxidants.

Beyond containing vitamin C, elderberry benefits also come from their high levels of other antioxidants. The antioxidant anthocyanin can be found in elderberries — anthocyanin has incredible antioxidant power. In fact, in a study that compared different types of berries, elderberry came out as one of the most effective antioxidants! Elderberries are showing a lot of promise in lab studies, including one study in which subjects who drank 400 mL of elderberry juice experienced a significant increase in antioxidant activity just one hour after ingestion of the elderberries.

Remember, antioxidants can prevent and even delay various types of free radical damage as well as protect from oxidative stress. Eating foods with antioxidants is a good way to prevent and reduce this damage in your body. After all, high levels of free radicals have been linked to many illnesses, like heart disease and numerous chronic diseases. Think of elderberries as another way to protect your body!

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4. Elderberries may support heart health.

A happy heart goes a long way, and studies suggest that consuming elderberries may positively affect your heart health. Elderberry benefits have been shown to increase your body’s secretion of insulin, enabling better blood sugar level control that can prevent heart and vascular disease. Dietary intake of flavonoids like anthocyanin, the antioxidant found in elderberries, has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

Additionally, the elderberry may exert beneficial effects on your blood pressure as well. Several rodent studies found that rats on a diet of elderberry extract experienced a reduction in blood pressure. The study also found that consuming elderberry led to a reduction in the risk of organ damage caused by high blood pressure.

5. Elderberries can act as a natural diuretic.

Elderberries have been shown to be one of the most promising natural diuretics. That means that elderberries may be able to promote urination as well as bowel movement. This is important because urinating and bowel movements are how your body protects itself against fluid retention. Water/fluid retention is a pretty common health issue, however retaining too much fluid can cause major discomfort, including bloating and less ability to move with ease. Elderberries might help prevent this!

6. Elderberries may support skin health.

Elderberries have been traditionally used for its internal benefits, but another elderberry benefit is that it may be a great addition to your skin routine as well. These berries are packed with antioxidants and vitamin A, both of which can be helpful in protecting you from free radical damage and promoting skin health. Vitamins C and E, which are also found in elderberries, can also boost your skin health. Tons of skin care products include elderberry in their formula, and elderberry’s nutritious content may be why!

How To Add Elderberries To Your Diet Plan

While the benefits we just provided come from the actual berries, we want to make sure that you are aware of the potential dangers of consuming another part of the elderberry tree: the bark. As we said before, the bark has been historically used as a laxative, a diuretic and even to induce vomiting. Obviously these are uses that must be approached with caution. 

In addition, elderberries themselves have a distinct tart taste and are not to be eaten raw. If not cooked properly, elderberries have the potential to cause an upset stomach. When consumed appropriately, though, the actual berries can be safe for the whole family to consume. 

But you don’t have to worry much when you’re simply buying an elderberry product instead — they tend to use properly processed berries and are safe for you (and your kiddos!). Don’t forget to read labels when choosing your elderberry products — the berries and the flowers are the way to go if you’re trying to support your immune system all year long. Also note that some elderberry products like gummies can be high in sugar, so make sure to consider the ingredients and sugar content in your elderberry gummies.

We recommend a teaspoon of elderberry everyday, but feel free to have a little more — especially if you feel you need extra support. However you decide to use it, know that enjoying some elderberry will do your body some good! You can learn more about Further Food Soothing Elderberry Syrup here.

FAQ

What are elderberries?

Elderberries are small black and blue berries that come from many varieties of the Sambucus tree. Many parts of the elderberry tree, from the fruit and flowers to the leaves and bark, have been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Today, elderberries are recognized for their help in supporting the immune system and in helping to reduce some uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms. 

What are the elderberry benefits?

Elderberry is a nutritious fruit that contains high levels of vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants, like anthocyanin. Elderberries may also be able to support heart health by helping you manage blood pressure and blood sugar levels — thus preventing heart disease. And of course, elderberries may be able to support your immune system.

What are the ways I can use elderberries?

Elderberries range in how you can take them, from capsules and lozenges to yummy syrups. Uncooked elderberries can be toxic, so make sure to purchase from a reliable source. Additionally, read labels to make sure your elderberry products don’t contain any unwanted ingredients or excessive sugar amounts. 

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