Elderberries have been proven to be a great way to boost and balance your immune system from the flu, common colds, bacterial, and viral infections. The widely known antiviral herb is best known for its natural healing properties and abilities. With cold and flu season quickly approaching, adding elderberry to your supplement routine can be extremely helpful. Even if you’ve received a flu shot or generally have a great immune system, the beneficial properties that elderberries provide should not be overlooked.
Specifically, Elderberries contain a chemical compound called anthocyanidins. Anthocyanidins have immunostimulants which are substances that stimulate the immune system by increasing activity of any of its components. Elderberry has been shown to reduce influenza if used within the first two days of onset flu symptoms. If Elderberry is taken in a timely manner it can reduce the overall duration of the flu four days sooner than without. In addition to the antiviral effects, Elderberry also possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This greatly helps with sinus infections and aiding in the recovery of the respiratory system. Healing properties within Elderberries help break down mucous while calming congestion and coughing. These properties may also help reduce swelling in mucous membranes which relieves nasal congestion.
Elderberry has a long history of being used throughout the world, so it is no surprise that historically, this plant can be traced back to prehistoric times. Elderberries importance can be seen throughout ancient Egypt, but most historians associate this antiviral herb with the Greek Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, who first acknowledged the benefits as early as 400AD. This herb was also popular among Native Americans, Europe, Northern Africa, and Asia. The elder plant itself is often referred to as the “medicine chest of the country folk” since it’s versatility can be used to make teas, syrups, jams, and medicinal wines. In reference to more modern times, in 1995 the Panama government actually employed the use of elderberries during the flu epidemic and it is accredited to aiding in the help of ending the epidemic altogether.
The most commonly used parts of the plant are the berries and flowers. Botanically known as Sambucus nigra, the tree produces cream-white flowers and blue-black berries and can reach the height of 32 feet tall. If you’re harvesting the plant from the wild, you can usually find it among moist places like riverbanks or woodlands. If harvesting this berry isn’t accessible or it’s simply not your thing, you can easily stock up at your local store with capsules, syrups, and powders.