The Elderberry, otherwise known as Sambucus nigra or Elder, is a fruit-bearing plant from the Moschatel family. It bears dark purple berries and is native to areas with subtropical or mild weather conditions, including Europe, North America, Asia, and Northern Africa. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, referred to elderberries as a medicine chest due to their substantial health benefits.
There are several kinds of Elderberry. Aside from Sambucus nigra, there are Sambucus canadensis (American elder), Sambucus racemosa (Red-berried elder), Sambucus javanica (Chinese elder), and Sambucus laciniata (Fern-leaved elder).
In recent years, Austria has become the world’s largest producer and grower of elderberries. Every year, Austria approximately produces 8000 tons of elderberries. There is no doubt that the demand has grown for it, especially since it has many remarkable health benefits.
Studies have shown it has essential properties that boost the immune system. Its primary component, cyanidin-3-glucose, for instance, has been shown to be effective for treating influenza. Cyanidin-3-glucose is a well-known anthocyanin that is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, elderberry is also known to prevent cellular oxidative damage and treat other viral infections, such as herpes. Along with being used as a remedy or treatment for a range of conditions, elderberry can be made into food coloring, jams, wine, and even lotion.
Furthermore, elderberry can be consumed as a tea decoction, while others make an expressed juice from it, or take it as a dietary supplement. It is important to note, however, that unripe, green, and uncooked elderberry can cause adverse reactions. This can include vomiting, diarrhea, and even poisoning.
In this sense, taking a supplement is arguably the best way to consume it. This is not only because it is sure to be safe, but also because it is more convenient. Some of the most trusted brands for elderberry supplements include Garden of Life, Wise Woman Herbals, Nature’s Way, New Chapter, NOW, and Gaia Herbs.
What are the Benefits of Elderberry?
There are a number of health benefits associated with elderberries, ranging from treating colds to lowering cholesterol levels. To better understand how beneficial elderberries are to our health, here are ten benefits you can reap by taking elderberry:
1. Fights Colds and Flus
2. Treats Acne
3. Reduces Wrinkles
4. Good for Heart Health
5. Prevents Constipation
6. Improves Bowel Function
7. Protects Against Colorectal Cancer
8. Reduces Blood Pressure
9. Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease
10. Lowers Blood Cholesterol
These tremendous benefits are the result of the elderberry’s high content of essential nutrients, such as anthocyanins, calcium, vitamins A and C, iron, and vitamin B6. Throughout the following section, we’ll explore each of the benefits and components of elderberries in detail and find out how they work to treat various conditions.
1. Fights Colds and Flus
Respiratory illnesses such as colds and flu are contagious. These conditions, caused by viruses like influenza and rhinoviruses, can usually be treated with over-the-counter medicines. Traditionally, elderberries have been used as a remedy for these illnesses. Many studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms or treating respiratory diseases.
For example, in a study by Barak and his colleagues, elderberries were found to have antiviral properties that could combat different strains of the influenza virus. Researchers found elderberry reduces the duration of symptoms to 3-4 days and users have a higher level of antibodies to the aforementioned virus. Similar results can also be expected for common colds.
Additionally, Professor Fariba Deghani and his team discovered that phytochemicals in elderberries strengthen the immune system, inhibit influenza virus entry and its replication in human cells. Phytochemicals are compounds that have strong antioxidant properties and help protect the cells. They are typically found in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and herbs.
2. Treats Acne
Acne or Acne Vulgaris is an inflammatory skin condition that results from bacterial colonization or clogged hair follicles due to excess sebum and dead skin cells. Despite being common among adolescents, acne can persist into adulthood, affecting self-esteem negatively. Fortunately, elderberries possess powerful properties that can aid in fighting skin conditions like this.
A study conducted by Sidor et al. revealed that elderberries are high in antioxidants. These compounds have been reported to be effective in treating acne vulgaris by Mills et al. In their study, they noted clinical improvement in their patients as antioxidant compounds addressed one of the underlying causes of acne vulgaris, which is free radical oxidation.
3. Reduces Wrinkles
In most cases, wrinkles are lines, folds, and creases that occur as the skin ages. According to a study conducted by Neira Puizina-Ivić, skin aging is the result of intrinsic and extrinsic processes. The intrinsic aging process is linked to your genes, while extrinsic aging is caused by environmental factors, such as pollution and overexposure to the sun. Since wrinkles appear commonly on the face, they are seen as a concern by some people.
A nutrient called bioflavonoids has been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and elderberries contain a lot of these compounds. Bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants that protect our bodies from free radical damage and oxidative stress, which are a leading cause of skin aging. In addition to bioflavonoids, elderberries are also rich in vitamin A, an essential vitamin that has been proven to reduce wrinkles, slow down the aging process, and soothe skin. It also aids in the process of cell regeneration, which can also make the skin look firmer and more glowing.
4. Good for Heart Health
It is absolutely vital to have a healthy heart since it is an essential component of good health. To keep your heart healthy a healthy diet and regular exercise are a must. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, the data shows that one person dies every 36 seconds, which is alarming.
For this reason, it’s crucial to remember that there are many essential nutrients that contribute to good heart health. Flavonoids, for example, are naturally-occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties that can decrease the effects of toxins on the body, while also improving heart health. A population-based cohort study by Wang et al., showed that consuming a high-flavonoid diet was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events. Therefore, elderberries, which are rich in flavonoids, can contribute significantly to maintaining a healthy heart.
5. Prevents Constipation
Constipation is an uncomfortable or infrequent bowel movement condition. Although it may seem like an issue that does not need immediate attention, it can actually lead to further complications, such as hemorrhoids, making the situation worse. To prevent this, elderberries can be a powerful remedy.
An organic compound within elderberries known as anthraquinone has laxative and purgative properties. These components allow stools to loosen, stimulating bowel movements. In a randomized clinical trial led by Picon et al., 20 people with chronic constipation were given a drink containing elderberry, senna, anise, and fennel. Consequently, improved bowel movements were observed, as well as the effectiveness of elderberries and other ingredients.
6. Improves Bowel Function
Gut health contributes not only to your physical well-being but also to your mental state, as digestive problems can negatively affect your mood, concentration, and motivation. This is why maintaining a healthy bowel movement is important. Having a high fiber content, elderberries are a great remedy for improving bowel function.
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate compound that passes through the body undigested. Even so, it actually aids in digestion and promotes good bowel health. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, children and adults should consume at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day. In comparison with other fiber sources, elderberries provide 10 grams of fiber per cup, which makes them an excellent solution to the body’s need for fiber.
7. Protects against Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer or rectal cancer, is a serious medical condition marked by the uncontrollable growth of cells in the colon or rectum. In most cases, polyps are formed in the lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps are new growths of tissue, which can become cancerous with time. To prevent such a situation from happening, you should include a remedy with anti-cancer properties, such as elderberries.
According to a study conducted by Thole et al., elderberries have been shown to possess chemopreventive properties. These compounds are capable of preventing, lowering, or reducing the development of cancer. As mentioned earlier, elderberries are also high in dietary fiber. There is promising evidence that dietary fiber may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in healthy individuals. It activates the butyrogenic activity of the gut microbiota, producing a vast amount of butyrate. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that contains anti-inflammatory compounds that contribute to mucosal immunity and intestinal barrier function.
8. Reduces Blood Pressure
According to the American Heart Association, a person with high blood pressure, or hypertension, has a systolic pressure greater than 130 mm Hg and/or diastolic pressure greater than 80 mm Hg. This chronic disease is considered a silent killer as it normally does not have any noticeable symptoms. However, when it is not regulated properly, it can lead to life-threatening conditions. A variety of methods can be used to maintain blood pressure in a healthy range. Aside from healthy eating, regular exercise, and over-the-counter medications, natural remedies, such as elderberries, can be of use.
In a study conducted by Manuela Ciocoiu and her team, elderberries showed positive results for lowering blood pressure. These effects are attributed to its rich polyphenol content. Polyphenols are a class of organic micronutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Among these are flavonoids, anthocyanins, quercetin, and vitamins that are effective in treating and preventing hypertension and other health issues. These compounds neutralize free radicals and stop cellular growth in tumors, thus lowering cancer risks.
9. Protects against Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease, or CVD, covers a broad range of diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. It is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that 17.9 million people worldwide died from cardiovascular diseases in 2019, accounting for 32% of all deaths. In light of these statistics, it is evident how dangerous such a health condition can be if ignored. For this reason, it’s vital to prevent or detect it at the earliest possible stage in order to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation.
To protect yourself against cardiovascular disease, elderberries can be a great remedy. In a study conducted by Millar et al., its extract was found to enhance HDL-C levels and function. The HDL-C, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, transports the accumulated cholesterol from the arteries to the liver for excretion. An adequate amount of HDL-C will prevent cholesterol buildup on your blood vessels, preventing chest pain and, in severe cases, heart attacks.
The polyphenol content of elderberries makes this possible. As mentioned previously, polyphenols are organic micronutrients that are filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds have positive effects on HDL-C and its functionality, resulting in significant benefits for heart health.
10. Lowers Blood Cholesterol
According to the Australian Atherosclerosis Society, an unhealthy level of LDL cholesterol has a high chance of creating an atheroma. An atheroma is an accumulation of fatty substances, such as cholesterol, in the walls of the arteries. This buildup can result in life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes. Thus, it is important to lower blood cholesterol levels and regulate them accordingly in order to prevent such instances.
In a study led by Farrell et al., the anthocyanin content of elderberries has been shown to significantly lower cholesterol levels. Anthocyanin is a polyphenol, which contributes to the increase in HDL-C levels, which in turn promotes the cleansing of the arteries. This is why elderberries generally lower blood cholesterol levels, keeping risk factors at bay.
As a result of the powerful compounds found in elderberries, including anthocyanins, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins, elderberries provide significant health benefits to the body. As per Hawkins et al., elderberries may be a safer alternative to prescription medications, especially for routine cold and flu cases.
What are the Side-Effects of Elderberry?
Elderberry, just like any herbal remedy or medical treatment, can have possible minor side effects, there have been no reports of serious adverse reactions. It has only recently become apparent that such effects may occur. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports that elderberries may cause some of the following side effects:
Is Elderberry Bad for Your Liver?
No, the elderberry is not bad for your liver, so long as it is prepared correctly. A study carried out by Courtney Millar, et al proved that long-term supplementation with elderberries reduced liver inflammation. Furthermore, it lowers liver enzyme levels, which is generally healthy for the liver according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Is Elderberry Poisonous?
Yes, elderberries can be poisonous if eaten raw or cooked improperly. As per the Permaculture Research Institute, unripe or uncooked elderberries, including their stems and leaves, can be toxic because of their cyanide-inducing glycoside content. These compounds are poisonous and might cause severe adverse effects.
What is the Nutritional Value of Elderberry?
Elderberries are packed with essential nutrients, as evident by their wide range of health benefits. While the composition may vary due to type, degree of ripeness, and environmental conditions, rest assured it remains good for the body.
In accordance with USDA Food Data Central, an average cup of elderberries that weighs 145g has 106 calories. It is also loaded with minerals, including 55.10mg of calcium, 0.088mg of copper, 7.25mg of Magnesium, 56.6mg of Phosphorus, 0.16mg of Zinc, and 2.32mg of iron. There are also several vitamins in it, including 52.2mg of vitamin C, 0.725mg vitamin B3 or Niacin, and 0.334mg vitamin B6. Moreover, the elderberries also contain 26.7 grams of carbohydrates, 10.2 grams of fiber, 0.957 grams of protein, and 0.725g fat.
What is the Vitamin Profile of Elderberry?
One of the primary benefits of elderberries is their high vitamin content. As an overview, here is a breakdown of the vitamins present in 100g of elderberries, according to the USDA Food Data Central.
- 30mcg of Vitamin A. This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for eyesight, bone development, and immunity. It also contributes to healthy skin and tissues.
- 0.07mg of Thiamin (Vitamin B1). The vitamin helps you transform food into energy. It also plays a role in nerve function.
- 0.06mg of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Similar to other B vitamins, but also vital for red blood cell production.
- 0.5mg of Niacin (Vitamin B3). B3 reduces cholesterol levels. Niacin is also good for the skin and nervous system.
- 0.14mg of Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5). A vitamin that aids in the creation of lipids, neurotransmitters, and hemoglobin.
- 0.23mg of Vitamin B6. This nutrient lowers the risk of heart disease, promotes brain function, and helps make red blood cells.
- 6.00mg of Folate (Vitamin B9). Folic acid is essential for both new cell creation and function, as well as regulating tissue growth. Vitamin B9 is also known to reduce the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, and heart disease.
- 36mg of Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). A powerful antioxidant that helps absorb iron and boosts your immunity.
What is the Mineral Profile of Elderberry?
Elderberries are not only rich in vitamins, but also in a variety of minerals, which are required by the body. These are essential in the production of enzymes and hormones, as well as keeping your bones, muscles, heart, and brain health. The USDA Food Data Center reports that a 100g of elderberries contains the following minerals:
- 38.00 mg of Calcium. Calcium is a macromineral that is essential for the health of bones and teeth. It also provides nerve function and helps regulate blood pressure.
- 0.061mg of Copper. Though only a relatively small amount, copper is necessary for the metabolism of iron in the body.
- 1.60mg of Iron. Iron improves the ability of hemoglobin to carry oxygen in the blood.
- 5.00mg of Magnesium. This mineral is found in the bones and it helps create proteins, transmit nerve signals, and boosts the immune system.
- 39.00mg of Phosphorus. Just like calcium, this mineral is necessary for the maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. It also supports cell functions and cell membranes.
- 280.00mg of Potassium. Potassium is a mineral necessary for fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.
- 0.60mcg of Selenium. An antioxidant that protects the body from free-radical damage. This mineral is also essential for reproduction, thyroid function, and DNA synthesis.
- 6.00mg of Sodium. This mineral is crucial for maintaining fluid balance, particularly in the tissues.
- 0.11mg of Zinc. This essential mineral promotes taste perception, wound healing, fetal development, and sperm production.
What are the Forms of Elderberry?
Elderberry is a fruit-bearing tree rich in powerful nutrients beneficial to the human body. It has long been used to treat various ailments, including common colds, and influenza. Today its extract is becoming even more useful since it can be cultivated and processed into various forms.
An elderberry extract is a concentrated form of the juice or essence extracted from the berries produced by the tree. In addition to being an effective remedy for colds, it is also used by modern herbalists as a tea for many other purposes. For instance, it is used as a laxative, gout treatment, or even a syphilis treatment.
Elderberry extract has not been associated with any serious side effects. However, stomach cramps and diarrhea have been reported on rare occasions. Elderberry extract is available in several forms, including:
1. Elderberry Supplement
An elderberry supplement is a dietary supplement made from the fruit of the elderberry. Since elderberry is a natural source of flavonoids, these supplements are thought to improve overall health. Recent studies have shown that elderberry supplements can help prevent the flu and other respiratory illnesses, as well as help support the immune system.
Elderberry supplements are available in both liquid and pill form. There are many brands that offer quality elderberry supplements, including New Chapter, DaVinci Labs, NOW, and Gaia Herbs.
2. Elderberry Powder
The elderberry powder is a derivative of the elderberry fruit. The elderberries are dried and ground into a powder, which can then be consumed in various ways. The elderberry powder has a sweet and tart flavor, which makes it an ideal addition to smoothies, juices, and other recipes. It is also packed with nutrients and antioxidants, which have been shown to help protect cells from damage, boost the immune system, fight off infection, and improve heart health.
3. Elderberry Pills and Capsules
Elderberry pills and capsules are generally made from extracts, fruits, or flowers of the plant. There are many benefits to taking elderberry pills or capsules, because they include all the same essential components, like flavonoids. Flavonoids are compounds that possess a variety of powerful properties. They are found in nearly all fruits and vegetables, and they play a role in everything from cancer prevention to heart health. Specific flavonoids may also help improve cognitive function and memory.
A study by Tiralongo et al. showed that taking 300mg of elderberry capsules three times a day could help reduce cold severity and duration. As a rule of thumb, however, it is best to consult a physician about the appropriate dosage or follow the recommendations of the product manufacturer for safety.
Elderberry pills and capsules can be purchased online and at health food stores. They can conveniently be taken anywhere and anytime, without performing all the preparations necessary for actual elderberries. There are several reputable brands that manufacture elderberry pills and capsules, including New Chapter, Nature’s Way, and NOW.
4. Raw Elderberry
Elderberry is filled with nutrients that provide a range of health benefits, but consuming it raw poses a number of risks. Raw elderberries, their leaves and their bark are likely to cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and diarrhea. If severe, vomiting or diarrhea can result in dehydration which is potentially deadly. Raw elderberry is poisonous because of the alkaloid compounds in the leaves, stems, and berries of this plant. Specifically, the alkaloid sambucine, which is known to be toxic. Thus, it’s crucial that elderberries are properly prepared to avoid any possible health risks.
5. Cooked Elderberry
Elderberry can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, but cooking it brings out its best flavors and removes harmful toxins. Cooked elderberry is a safe and healthy food choice, packed with nutritional benefits. Cooked elderberries can be used to make sweet or savory dishes. Popular choices include syrups, juices, or even pies. Consuming cooked elderberries may help strengthen the immune system. This food contains a high amount of antioxidants, which are beneficial to a variety of health aspects.
6. Processed Elderberry
In this context, processed elderberry refers to any product made from elderberry. These can take a variety of forms, from tonics to dietary supplements. Processed elderberries provide easy access to the nutritional benefits that are associated with the elderberry. Recent studies have shown that processed elderberries can be beneficial for people with diabetes, and cancer.
For instance, it was discovered by Badescu et al. that the presence of polyphenols in elderberry extract promoted the regression of diabetes complications and osteoporosis in people with diabetes. Also, Thole et al. found that the extract has chemopreventive properties.
In addition, Andrzej Sidor and Anna Gramza-Michałowska reported in their study that elderberries, since they are naturally rich in antioxidants, may act as a potential protective agent against growth and the unfavorable effects of oxidative stress on your body. Furthermore, elderberries that have been processed reduce the levels of harmful cyanogenic glycosides, so consumption of them is safer, according to Senica et al.
Why is Elderberry Extract Useful?
Elderberry extract is useful and beneficial because it contains powerful compounds that can be used to prevent or treat numerous diseases. It has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels, as it is high in polyphenols, treat colds and flu, lower blood pressure, and more. Additionally, it contains anthocyanin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so it can also be used as a treatment for skin problems like acne and wrinkles. Elderberry extract contains quercetin, as shown by studies such as the one performed by R. Domínguez, et al in 2020 titled Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) as Potential Source of Antioxidants. Characterization, Optimization of Extraction Parameters and Bioactive Properties. Quercetin is a compound shown to be helpful in improving the body’s reaction to common allergens and is a popular health supplement.
What are the Elderberry types?
There are several types of elderberry that each possess unique properties. Although elderberries can be beneficial to health, it is also important to be aware of other varieties. Here is a list of some of the most common types of elderberry that provide significant health benefits.
- American elder (Sambucus canadensis).
- Red-berried elderberry (Sambucus racemosa).
- Chinese elder (Sambucus javanica).
- Fern-leaved elder (Sambucus laciniata).
- Purpurea elder (Sambucus Purpurea).
- Blue elderberry (Sambucus cerulea).
- Black lace elder (Sambucus black lace).
- Yellow elderberry (Sambucus australasica).
How Do Scientists Classify Elderberry?
Scientists classify elderberries as being part of the Plantae Kingdom, particularly the Elderberry Kingdom. It belongs to the Phylum Magnoliophyta, to the class Magnoliopsida, and to the order Dipsacales.
Generally, the classification of plants, or fruit-bearing trees, is based on their family, order, genus, and species. This corresponds to how classification takes place within the Kingdom Plantae.
Elderberry belongs to the Adoxaceae family and is a member of the Sambucus genus, which has approximately 24 species. This includes Sambucus nigra, Sambucus canadensis, and Sambucus javanica.
How do you Determine the Proper Elderberry Dosage?
Determining the correct dose of elderberry can be tricky, but with a little know-how, you can safely and effectively incorporate this natural remedy into your regimen. Here are a few tips on how to determine the right dose of elderberry for you.
- Check the product manufacturer’s dosage recommendations. Elderberry products should be labeled with an appropriate dosage recommendation. Typically, elderberry syrup is recommended at 1 tablespoon four times a day, whereas lozenges at 175mg can be taken twice daily.
- If you’re ill or have a cold, consider taking a product that has at least 300mg of elderberry extract per serving. The reason for this is that a clinical trial conducted by Tiralongo et al. demonstrated that taking 300mg three times a day can reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory symptoms.
- Consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage based on your health status and requirements. It is important to get the correct dosage of elderberry for your needs. Not taking enough may not be effective, while taking too much can lead to adverse effects.
What are the Most Common Questions for Elderberry Usage?
Is Elderberry Good for Allergies?
Yes, elderberry is good for allergies. An analysis by Domínguez et al. discovered that elderberries are abundant in quercetin, a flavonoid that has been shown to have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, in a study conducted by Mlcek et al., quercetin inhibits the release of histamine and decreases pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Histamine is a compound found in blood and the majority of bodily tissues that causes allergic symptoms such as a runny nose, skin rashes, and watery eyes. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, on the other hand, are signaling molecules that cause fever, inflammation, and tissue destruction.
Since allergies are characterized by a strong immune system reaction and inflammation, elderberries are well suited to calming inflammation and improving the immune system, thereby relieving allergy symptoms.
Is Elderberry Good for Colds?
Elderberries are effective against colds. In a study conducted by Tiralongo et al., it was found that it could shorten the duration of a cold and relieve other upper respiratory symptoms. This is because there are antimicrobial and antiviral properties in elderberry that help combat the virus and even deter its entry into the body.
Taking elderberry within the first 48 hours following the onset of symptoms has been shown by Harnett et al. to be helpful in reducing influenza-like symptoms, including fever, nasal congestion, and nasal mucus discharge in adults. There are people who take 1 tablespoon of elderberry syrup four times a day, and others who take elderberry lozenges twice a day. But as a rule of thumb, it is best to follow the dosage guidelines provided by the product manufacturer. Alternatively, you can consult a healthcare professional to determine the dose that is appropriate for you.
Is Elderberry Good for Cough?
Science has yet to prove the effectiveness of elderberries alone in treating cough. However, it has been found that it reduces its severity and duration, as well as other flu symptoms, according to a study by Mohaddese Mahboubi.
In essence, coughing is a reflex that helps clear the airways of mucus, saliva, and other debris. It can be a voluntary act, or it can occur involuntarily when the airways are irritated. There are several possible causes of coughing, including allergies, the flu, or a cold.
The study by Giorgio Ciprandi and Maria Angela Tosca suggests that elderberries may be useful in treating coughs and other respiratory ailments. Because of this, there are a number of cough syrups based on elderberries. It appears to be safe and well-tolerated in healthy adults when taken at recommended doses.
Is Elderberry Good for Inflammation?
The elderberry is good for inflammation. Generally, inflammation is a necessary biological process that helps the body protect itself from infection and injury. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to a wide range of health problems.
Apart from being used for centuries as a remedy for a wide range of illnesses, studies indicate that elderberries may help reduce inflammation and promote health. Several phenolic compounds are present which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, a study by Barak et al. demonstrated that elderberry contains antiviral properties that support immune health.
Are Elderberry Supplements approved by the Authorities?
Elderberry supplements are not approved as medication by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA classifies them as herbal supplements rather than prescription drugs. In the United States, supplements do not require FDA approval before they can be sold. The manufacturing companies alone are responsible for correctly labeling supplements and informing consumers of their contents. This does not mean though that it is ineffective – many consumers have found elderberry to be a great way to improve their health.
Is Elderberry an Anticoagulant?
Elderberry has not been proven to be an anticoagulant by any scientific study. Anticoagulant is a term used to describe medications or other interventions that help to prevent blood clots from forming. Blood clots can be dangerous because they can block blood vessels and restrict the flow of blood to vital organs. This could lead to serious health problems, such as stroke or heart attack.
Elderberry, though not proven to be an anticoagulant, has been shown in a study by Ciocoiu et al. to lower arterial pressure and reduce the side effects associated with some major classes of antihypertensive agents. Having low blood pressure, in turn, decreases the risk of blood clots. This contribution is due to its high polyphenol content. These compounds are known to be beneficial in treating hypertension and neutralizing free radicals.
Can you Take Elderberry at Night?
Elderberry is safe to take at night, it can be taken whenever suits you best. Some people consume it at breakfast to help them get through the day, as it strengthens their immune system. But some take it at night to relieve their stuffy noses and sinuses with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Can you Take Elderberry after a Meal?
You can take elderberry after meals. This applies whether you take it as a dietary supplement or a herbal remedy for certain conditions or upper respiratory symptoms. Generally, this is done to prevent stomach upset. The form, whether it is syrup, lozenge, or gummy form, does not affect the timing. It is always best to consult your physician for expert advice to be on the safe side.
Can you Take Elderberry Every Day?
Elderberry can be taken every day, provided you do not go over the recommended dose. Along with being a remedy for colds and flu, elderberry is marketed as a dietary supplement that boosts immunity. This is because it contains powerful essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and vitamin A. In capsule form, elderberry is typically taken twice a day at 150-175mg. Even so, it’s still important to consult your doctor to determine the best dosage and form of elderberry for you.
Can a Child Take Elderberry?
Children can take elderberry as a natural remedy to strengthen their immune system, or to treat colds and flu. Elderberries have natural antiviral properties that can combat different strains of the influenza virus and even prevent its entry. Study findings by Barak et al. suggest that it reduces the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days.
Young users can take elderberry in a variety of ways. This includes juice, syrups, and gummies, making it easier and more enjoyable for children to consume. However, you should discuss elderberry use with your pediatrician to determine whether it is appropriate for your child.
Can your Pet Consume Elderberry?
There is no scientific evidence suggesting that elderberries should be consumed by pets. However, there are a number of medicines made from elderberries that are specifically tailored for them. These medicines help dogs and cats fight off cough, colds, or flu. It’s crucial to remember that they should never consume any part of the elderberry tree itself, including its raw and unripe fruit. Raw elderberry can be dangerous for them. When such things happen, reach out to your veterinarian immediately for assistance.
Which Plant Produces Elderberry?
The elderberry plant naturally produces elderberries. An elderberry plant is typically a small tree or shrub with multiple stems but can grow to a maximum height of 30 feet. Its bark is typically light gray or brown, with leaf color ranging from green to deep purple. The leaves are reputed to repel insects who consider the smell unpleasant.
What are the Top Scientific Research Topics for Elderberry?
Elderberry has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, and researchers are now discovering even more of its benefits. Scientists actively study the potential role of elderberry in preventing and treating various diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and viruses. Some of the top scientific research topics that have been published with elderberry include the following.
- Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials by Jessie Hawkins et al.
- An evidence-based systematic review of elderberry and elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration.
- Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. A study conducted by Z Zakay Rones et al.
- The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines by V Barak, T Halperin, and I Kalickman.
- Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial by Evelyn Tiralongo, Shirley S Wee, and Rodney A Lea.
- Bioactive properties of Sambucus nigra L. as a functional ingredient for food and pharmaceutical industry by Karolina Młynarczyk et al.
- Long‐Term Supplementation of Black Elderberries Promotes Hyperlipidemia, but Reduces Liver Inflammation and Improves HDL Function and Atherosclerotic Plaque Stability in Apolipoprotein E‐Knockout Mice. A study performed by Courtney L Millar et al.
- A Review of the Antiviral Properties of Black Elder (Sambucus nigra L.) Products by Randall S Porter and Robert F Bode.
- Processed elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) products: A beneficial or harmful food alternative? A study by Mateja Senica et al.
- Black Elderberry Extract Improves Serum HDL‐cholesterol and Paraoxonase‐1 Activity in Atherosclerosis‐Prone Mice. A study by Courtney L Millar et al.
What is the History of Elderberry?
The history of elderberry dates back centuries. It is believed to have been cultivated in ancient times, since elderberry seeds have been discovered in Italian and Swiss archeological sites. The sites mentioned date back to the Stone and Bronze Ages (3,000-4,000 B.C). This shows that elderberries are native to Europe. Today, the plant has found its way to North America and Asia as well.
Numerous cultures have made use of elderberries. The plant can be found in ancient writings from healers and scholars noting its health benefits. In Native American tribes, this remedy was notoriously used to treat the common cold and influenza. They also used the elderberry flowers to make tea. Ancient Egyptians used it to improve skin complexions and treat burns. Elderberries have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine as well.
What is the Etymology of Elderberry?
The etymology of elderberry is fascinating. It is believed that the term ‘elder’ is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘aeld’, which means fire. This is because they have hollow stems that were used to blow air into a fire.
The botanical name for elderberry, Sambucus nigra, dates back to Greco-Roman times. The Latin term Sambucus is derived from the Greek word sambuca, which is an ancient stringed instrument used by the Romans. It is also called Sackbut and resembles a lyre, which is likened to the flowers of elderberry. The instrument is said to have been made from elderberry wood due to its hard characteristics. Meanwhile, the Latin word nigra simply means black. When the elderberries are ripe, they turn dark in color close to black.
Furthermore, the Elderberry tree is also known as the Pipe tree or the Bore tree because its soft pith gets pushed out easily creating tubes that can be used as pipes.
What is the Evolution of Elderberry?
The evolution of elderberry is enthralling as it is surrounded by folklore and superstition from the beginning. Early European settlers thought the berry had mystical properties and used it to ward off evil spirits. It was said that the tree was inhabited by a goddess of vegetation, life and death, Hylde Moer. Various chants and prayers were offered to the tree because of this, especially when one needed its wood for a specific purpose.
On biblical grounds, elderberry is believed to be the tree in which Judas hanged himself after betraying Jesus. Wood from the elderberry tree was also supposedly used for the cross where Jesus died.
While there were many traditions and beliefs surrounding elderberries, the medicinal properties were discovered alongside the legends. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, even referred to the herb as the medicine chest in around 400 B.C.E. for the numerous health benefits and uses it provides. Meanwhile, Pliny the Elder wrote more about elderberries, spreading knowledge of their medicinal uses around 77 C.E.
Over the ages, it has been used as a remedy for colds, burns, and flu. To date, countless studies on elderberries prove that their nutrients are powerful and beneficial for the body.
What are the Food Recipes that Include Elderberry?
An easy way for consumers to ensure they get all the nutrients they need is by incorporating elderberry directly into your diet. You can easily add this nutrient-rich fruit into your day-to-day meals since there are many different food recipes that include elderberry. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
- Elderberry Cake with Elder Plum Curd
- Elder Flower Fritters
- Elderberry Honeycomb Cream Pie
- Elderberry Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Elderberry & Einkorn Scones
- Cream Puffs with Elderberry Filling
- Elderberry Smoothie Bowl
- Elderberry Gummy Bears
- Elderberry Lollipops
- Elderberry Compote with Greek Yogurt
What is the Cultivation Process of Elderberry?
The cultivation process of elderberry is a relatively easy process that can be done by anyone with access to land and basic gardening tools. Here is a thorough overview of the steps involved in cultivating this valuable fruit-bearing tree.
- Select a site with great sunlight exposure, and fertile, moist soils.
- Check the soil pH levels, as elderberries require a pH range of 5.5-6.5.
- Incorporate manure or compost.
- Plant elderberries at a distance of 6-8 feet, and in rows 10 feet apart.
- Plant 2 inches deeper compared to the nursery.
- Thoroughly water the plant.
- Do not apply any fertilizer in the first year.
- Keep elderberries well watered the first season as they are shallow-rooted plants.
Elderberries are easy to grow and care for. It is a great choice for those looking for plants to use for their health and well-being. Especially since Elderberry is such a versatile plant with many benefits.
How is Elderberry Processed?
Processed elderberries are derived from elderberry fruits. The berries are harvested, cleaned, and then cooked or heated. It can come in a variety of forms, ranging from supplements to powders and juices that are strained and sweetened before bottling.
One of the benefits of processed elderberries is that they contain fewer harmful cyanogenic glycosides, a chemical compound that can cause poisoning. During a study conducted by Senica et al., it was determined that with higher temperatures, the significant levels of this harmful compound have been lowered by as much as 44% in elderberry juice, 80% in tea, and as much as 96% in elderberry liqueur and spread. While processed elderberries have not been documented to have any severe negative effects, some people have experienced nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
What are the Plants Similar to Elderberry?
There are various plants that resemble elderberries, and their similarity is often confusing. Take caution, as some of these plants have poisonous properties. It is crucial to distinguish which is which before consuming them. As a quick reference, here are a few plants similar to elderberry:
- Wild Chervil.
- Wild Carrot.
- Crape Myrtles.
- Giant Hogweed.
- Cow Parsnip.
What is the Best Elderberry Juice?
The best elderberry juice is organic and contains little to no sugar. Many commercial brands of elderberry juice add lots of sugar, which can counteract some benefits of the juice. Make sure to look for a brand that has minimal sugar added, or better yet, no sugar added at all. There are many brands that offer the best elderberry juice, including Garden of Life, Gaia Herbs, Flora, and Now Foods.
Since not all elderberry juices are created equal, it’s important to do your research before you buy. Take the time to look for an established company to purchase from, especially because there are a lot of fraudulent companies that sell bogus products out there. Be careful where you buy your juice from. The brands mentioned above are reputable and only sell high-quality products. With them, you’re guaranteed to get items that are safe and effective.
What is the Benefit of Elderberry Juice?
There are many benefits to drinking elderberry juice, especially since it is loaded with nutrients that are essential for the body. Here are a few of them:
- Improve blood cholesterol levels.
- Treatment for influenza and the common cold.
- A remedy for headache or dental pain.
- Used to induce bowel movements.
- Reduce damage from oxidative stress.
- Improve heart health.
What are the Best Elderberry Gummies?
The best elderberry gummies are those that are enjoyable and nutritious for the consumer. These products typically add extra vitamins and minerals, as well as flavoring. All ages, from kids to adults, can take advantage of the health benefits that elderberry provides through gummies.
One of the best elderberry gummies comes from the Garden of Life. This reputable brand is known for providing only organically cultivated products with no synthetic chemicals. Their Elderberry Immune Gummy is vegan and gluten-free. The gummies are made from real fruits and contain 355mg elderberry fruit extract per serving. It’s also packed with organic echinacea, zinc, and vitamin C. The Elderberry Immune Gummy contains 120 gummies, each dusted with organic rice powder and containing neither gelatin nor refined sugar.
On another note, when searching for elderberry gummies, look for ones that contain at least 300mg of elderberry extract per serving. The reason for this is because it has been shown in a controlled clinical trial conducted by Tiralongo et al. that three doses of 300mg decreased the duration and severity of the common cold. Make sure your products are produced in facilities following Good Manufacturing Practices and meet Food and Drug Administration regulations.
What are the Side-Effects of Elderberry Gummies?
There are no known side effects associated with elderberry gummies alone. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the actual elderberries have been associated with the following side effects:
- Abdominal pain.
In any case, it’s always best to consult with a physician before taking any supplement.
What is the Difference Between Elderberry and Ginseng?
Both elderberry and ginseng are herbal remedies that boast a wide range of benefits. However, there are some key differences between these two remedies that everyone should be aware of.
The differences between elderberry and ginseng begin with their health benefits and use. Elderberries are commonly used to treat common colds and influenza. There are studies that show it reduces upper respiratory symptoms, inhibits the entry of influenza viruses, and strengthens the immune system. Elderberries also assist with improving bowel function, protecting against cardiovascular diseases, and lowering blood pressure. Meanwhile, Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) is credited with many of its own health benefits. Ginseng is taken to improve energy, sharpen cognitive function, and lower stress levels. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation, treat diabetes, and treat erectile dysfunction.
Although these herbal remedies are generally considered safe. Like many supplements, some users may experience different side effects when taking them. Recent reports claim that elderberries can cause adverse reactions like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Ginseng, on the other hand, is associated with severe allergic reactions, such as skin rashes, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face and tongue. It can also cause headaches, insomnia, a rapid heartbeat, and breast tenderness.
Besides their differences in benefits, uses, and side effects, elderberry and ginseng also have various nutritional characteristics. In addition to having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties, elderberries are abundant in polyphenols. Ginseng, on the other hand, is full of ginsenosides.
The protective properties of polyphenols have been linked to the prevention of free radical damage, the slowing down of the development of cardiovascular diseases, the reduction of cancer, and the prevention of hypertension. The ginsenosides, alternatively, provide neuroprotection, which helps prevent and treat neurological damage and pathological diseases related to it, such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
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