Views:4 Author:Golden Horizon Biologics Publish Time: 2016-11-17 Origin:Golden Horizon Biologics
Instead of reaching for conventional cold and flu medicine this winter, try using something more holistic. Enter the powerful herbal elixir of choice for centuries: elderberry syrup.
Not only does elderberry syrup taste delicious, (kids even like the stuff!) it packs powerful healing properties and can be made in your own kitchen.
What are Elderberries?
Black Elderberries, or Sambucus nigra, are small berries that come from the European elder tree, native to Europe and North America. The tart, bluish-purple berries and cream-colored flowers of the tree have been used for centuries for topical wound healing and to treat illnesses such as the cold and flu.
In fact, the potent medicinal powers gave the elder tree the nickname of the “country people’s medicine chest” for centuries.
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Although black elderberries can be consumed raw, the Practical Herbalist notes that they should to be processed into syrup, jam, vinegar, or tincture before use to prevent an upset stomach. Avoid dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus), which grows berries that can be toxic.
Health Benefits of Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry has been widely studied due to its reported antioxidant, antiviral, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating, as well as antidepressant properties.
So much of elderberry’s powerful medicinal properties and healing benefits are due to its high number of antioxidants. The blue-violet berries owe their rich color to anthocyanins; a group of active antioxidant compounds in the flavonoid family.
According to the University of Maryland medical center, elderberry outranks blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries in terms of total flavonoid content. Consuming foods rich in these flavonoid anthocyanins is thought to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer, while also boosting brain function.
Many symptoms of the cold and flu can be eased and treated with this powerful little berry. Two randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled studies demonstrate the elderberry extract, Sambucol, effectively inhibits both influenza A and B strains when given orally to patients in the first 48 hours of flu-like symptoms.
Another study showed a beneficial effect on severity and duration of cold and flu-like symptoms when participants consumed elderberry extract lozenges.
Consuming elderberry may also shorten cold duration and symptoms in air travelers. A recent study published in the journal Nutrients showed that travelers using elderberry for ten days before travel until five days after arriving overseas on average experienced a two day shorter duration of the cold and also noticed a reduction in cold symptoms.
Along with being antioxidant superstars, elderberries also contain a variety of nutrients including vitamins A, C, and E and trace minerals such as copper, zinc, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
What is Elderberry Syrup Used For?
Elderberry syrup can be taken during cold and flu season everyday to boost the immune system. According to the Practical Herbalist, elder constituents do not cling to the tissue, which means daily treatment is not only safe but also necessary to block viruses. Consuming elderberry “doesn’t overtax the immune system or cause imbalances in the digestive tract that allow yeast infections to take hold, either, making it safe for daily consumption.”
Elderberry syrup can be used for flus, cough, cold, sinus infections, fevers, skin inflammation, allergies, ear and throat infections, and to boost a weak immune system.