It's fast approaching that time of year again...sun not out as long, cold damp days and flu season making it's comeback. With all the sickness out there this past year, it's time for families to be Pro-active in their health and wellness regime instead of Re-active. Running to the doctor for that 'magic pill' that usually destroys your beneficial gut bacteria can mostly be eliminated by just taking good care of yourself and adding vitamins, minerals and other gifts of the earth to your arsenol.
One of the key items in our natural defense cabinet, is elderberry syrup. Elderberry has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician who was known as the “father of medicine," referred to the plant as his “medicine chest." It was also used by early Egyptians and Greeks.
Some swear by elderberry as a method for preventing sickness, while others — docs included — say it’s their first line of defense when they feel something coming on. “Elderberry is one of my go-to favorites this time of year,” says Myles Spar, M.D., chief medical officer of Vault Health. “Its anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to reduce flu-like symptoms and to reduce the duration of the flu by up to 50 percent.”
Beneficial components in Elderberries
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. (Elderberries contain from 6 to 35 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, that is, up to 60% of your daily recommended intake). They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. 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. By providing antioxidant protection, Elderberry aids in protecting cellular health from free radical damage and airborne elements.
Effects on Colds and Flu
Doctors that have broken through and realized how much natural help there is out there recommend taking elderberry sryup within the first 48 hours of contacting a cold or flu to nip it in the bud. Consistency is key when using this and doses should be taken 4 times daily. Elderberries have also proven to be effective in using BEFORE an illness happens as the study in a 2016 article Nutrients shows. Travelers using this herb from 10 days before travel until four to five days after arrival overseas experienced, on average, a two-day shorter duration of their colds as well as a noticeable reduction in cold symptoms.
A study published in 2019 through Complementary Therapies in Medicine determined that the berries, due to their antioxidant components, have positive effects against upper respiratory symptoms. These findings present an alternative to antibiotic misuse for upper respiratory symptoms due to viral infections, and a potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs for routine cases of the common cold and influenza.
Because of its powerful effects on health, elderberry could potentially interact with several medications. If you currently take any of the following medications, you should talk to your health care provider before using an elderberry supplement or any other elder plant products: Diabetes medications Diuretics (water pills) Chemotherapy Immunosuppressants, including corticosteroids (prednisone), and medications used to treat autoimmune diseases Laxatives Theophylline (TheoDur).
If you have an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ask your doctor before taking elderberry because it may stimulate the immune system. If you have any other ongoing health concerns, talk with your health care provider before taking it as well. People with organ transplants should not take elderberry.
You can find our herbal DYI kit here. All you will need is distilled water, raw honey and glass jars to make this yourself.